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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 21:09 GMT
Briton's six day mountain ordeal
Paul Beck spent six days waiting to be rescued

A British charity worker has been describing how a simple slip in Spain's Asturias mountains left him trapped for six days on a snowy ledge.

Paul Beck, 33, from Denmark Hill, south London, was hiking when he fell on ice and fractured his hip on 6 February.

He tried to slide down the mountain to a nearby hamlet but kept tumbling and stopped when he reached a steep drop.

Mr Beck said he survived by drinking melted ice and urine, but was in constant pain and was disorientated.

The 33-year-old, who was walking in the north of the Spain, said he had intended to visit his mother, when he slipped on ice.

I thought: 'If I tumble, that's it'
Paul Beck

"I dislocated my hip, and got a tiny fracture and I was a bit messed up," he said.

"I had intended to get down to safety to a tiny little hamlet by going on my bum, but I made a few tumbles on the way.

"I came to a part where it was so steep and there were rocks below, and I thought: 'If I tumble, that's it'.

"I had to find a refuge in the snow to make myself comfortable."

'Very strange'

He used a small cooker to melt ice to drink, but the ledge was so small he feared setting his clothes alight.

"It was dreadful, it was very strange, I guess I was traumatised by it all," he said.

Map showing north Spain's Asturias mountains
Mr Beck's mother raised the alarm when he did not turn up at her house and he was found six days later, on Sunday, by the Civil Guard Mountain Rescue team.

His rescuers were able to track him down because he had told his girlfriend where he would be walking each day.

Mr Beck said that while he had not been put off mountain walking, he would be more cautious in future.

At London homeless charity Thames Reach Bondway, where Mr Beck works, staff were relieved to hear from him.

"He's in good spirits and we're all relieved he has shown the grit and determination to survive his ordeal," said spokesman Mike Nicholas.

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