Yes, I know it was a while ago now, but guess what? WE DID IT!!!
As most of you already know, I dedicated the climb for my friend Caroline who lost her 2 year old son Max to a brain tumour. (Read his story here). I had only met Caroline a month before, but had never met Max. However, her story touched me to the core. It was this that kept me going. I had to do it for her and for Max.
We set up early after a hearty breakfast of cereal(!) on a beautiful morning on Father’s Day. Yes, my Dad actually said to me (jokingly), ” You don’t love me do you?” as I was going to be away on his day.
There were four of us girls altogether – a darling friend of mine that I have known for over 20 years, and 2 others that I had never met before. Luckily, we had all had a chance to get to know each other on the train on the way up so it was great.
I was probably the most unfit and untrained one out of the whole lot! I always seemed to be trailing behind the others, although this probably had to do with the fact that I had a rickety right knee whose ligaments I completely ruptured the last time I was on a mountain! Also, I carried so much gear with me after reading various websites that I should really have been charged for carrying excess baggage on to the mountain! I was prepared for all sorts of weather so as well as my climbing clothes, I also took waterproofs, fleeces, first aid kit (which I did need!), torch, food, drinks, etc. No bloody wonder I kept on falling over!
In my defense though, I was told by previous climbers that the weather on Snowdon could turn without any warning so we had to be prepared for anything…
We took the Pyg trail up which is an intermediate level climb. The great thing about this trail was the beautiful scenery. It was just breathtaking. The weather was glorious. We had to keep on stopping just to take photos and admire the heart shaped lakes and luscious green valleys below.
We had the occasional shifty sheep cross our paths. This was Wales after all!
There were also winding waterfalls trickling across the rocks making them wet and slippery. However, this was the least of our worries. The biggest obstacle to face us was the numerous dogs! Yes, dogs walking, running, skipping along and climbing up, down, and all over Snowdon! This is fine if you like dogs, but if you have a phobia of dogs (which one of the girls does!) then you are to put it politely, up sh*t creek!
Forget trying to navigate the best route up so as not to fall over or twist your ankles, (or break your good knee in my case!), but also attempt to master the walking poles with all that heavy gear on your back, and at the same time keeping a watchful eye out for any crafty canines that might hurdle past slapping you with their wagging tails and smelling for any humans that feared them!
Wherever we looked, the dogs were there. As soon as one came anywhere near us, our dog fearing friend would freeze on the spot or just stop mid-sentence and walk off to the edge fast. This was our cue, and which ever one of us was near her would just circle her like a protective bodyguard, legs and walking poles akimbo whilst smiling nervously at the dog and its owner until they had passed! It certainly kept us on our toes…
Three falls (not just me!), several shaggy sheep, a few noisy seagulls, countless dodgy dogs and four hours later we were standing at the summit. It was surreal. It was cloudy. We couldn’t see the bottom, but we were surrounded by a swirl of mist and cloud. It was almost eerie, but calm. We had made it.
It was a bittersweet moment. Happy to have made it, but sad at the same time as you remember the reason for the climb and all those that had lost loved ones. The first person I texted was Caroline to tell her we were at the top.
We decided to take the Llanberis route down which is not as picturesque, but a little easier as it runs alongside the railway line. We meandered down the path strewn with loose stones and rocks and soon got into a rhythm chatting and singing along the way.
So engrossed was I talking to one of the girls that I didn’t notice a rock half sticking out of the ground and immediately went flying over it straight onto my knee! The good knee, you will be glad to know. Anyway, it was a deep cut which refused to stop bleeding. We tried to wipe the wound clean with sterile swabs and put a plaster on it to stop the blood. The sight of me crashing on to the floor gave the girls something to giggle about, and so we went on our merry way right to the bottom of the mountain.
On the train back to London we rested our weary feet and aching body parts, and celebrated with cold Dominos pizza and a warm bottle of Prosecco!
Two days later, large red spots appeared all over my face, neck and arms. My face was swollen, my eyes and my body felt heavy like I had just been given a shot of sleeping pills! I went straight to see my Dad (who is a doctor). I asked him if it was hives, an allergic reaction to something or insect bites? He looked at me and said, “I think you have got Septicemia. We need to start antibiotics straight away!”
What?! Why? How? Apparently, I had got blood poisoning from the cut to my knee. It just sounded incredulous. I had just climbed a mountain. My first one ever. It had all gone so well. Now I get this. It could only happen to me!
But, I can see the positive side. I was going to be fine. We all successfully climbed Snowdon on a beautiful, sunny day. My Dad was there just when I needed him. It all could have been so much worse. There was definitely somebody watching over us…
I managed to raise £1,360 for The Brain Tumour Charity. Any more donations are more than welcome on my JustGiving page.
Thank you to all those who have already donated and supported this amazingcause. God bless you. xxx