“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”


Seriously, I did it.

It took 6 hours 20 minutes, (EDIT Rory’s fancy watch tells us we did it in just over 5 hours!) one almost panic attack, one cry, one toilet break, a banana, a cereal bar, water, chipped nail varnish, a lot of “sorry”, “shit” and “Whoaaaa ‘king hell” and one massive “SHIT ON IT”
But I did it.

Firstly, I would like to advise anyone planning a jaunt up Snowdon that 7am is NOT early enough to get a parking space.
Despite my best laid plans, that mountain was flipping busy at that time and the car park was full!
Climbing folk are a REALLY eager bunch.

I barely slept the night before, I was proper awake from 5am, clearly VERY excited to get my PE kit on (the most uncomfortable outfit I’ve ever worn).

I got up, put on my super glittery shoes and was ready to rock.

It was these laces that got me through.

We decided to follow the Miner’s track, I was sure I had read this was an easier route.
That wasn’t the case!
It started beautifully, a gradual incline, past a couple of lakes.
We could take in the views across the valley.
There was a pretty waterfall.

Then I noticed some people up there, WAAAAAAYYYYYY up there.
“Is that where we’re meant to go?”

‘Hmmmmm’ I wondered
‘How will we get up there? Maybe the path swoops round and up or something’.


There was no swooping.

The track stops at the bottom and it becomes “a hard climb over scree” (wish I’d read the Internet properly before)
I don’t know what scree is, I’m guessing it means ‘lots of rocks and difficult stuff’.

Now I knew it was going to be hard but I think I had convinced myself it would be a tough uphill walk on uneven terrain, I don’t think I’d realised I’d have to do actual climbing on actual rocks.
The worse thing is they just let anyone pootle on up and try.

I’m sure that’s a health and safety issue or something.

I’m not a big fan of heights, I couldn’t look up to where we were headed as it made me start to fall over backwards (no idea WHAT that’s about, it’s this weird thing that happens when I look up at high things) so I just had to focus and push on. All the while Rory was super patient and brilliant.

After a few hair raising moments I made it to the top and……

It was misty.
I couldn’t see a sodding thing.
I didn’t feel a sense of elation.

I don’t know what I expected, I think it was such a big deal to me that maybe I hoped the clouds would part, sunlight would stream down onto me and choirs of Angels would sing Alleluia.

I’ll be honest, I REALLY thought Rory would propose to me once I’d made it to the top. He’d be so proud of me he’d just have to marry me!

Instead it was grey, cold and wet and I was petrified as I didn’t know how I was going to get down. I have this thing where I can get into a loft or up a tree just fine but I can’t get back down once I realise how high up I am. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the scramble down if I could see how high up I was so I did what any self respecting, middle aged woman would do. I cried a minute then rang my mum (bizarrely the best mobile reception I had in Wales was atop that mountain) then I pulled myself together, or rather Rory presented me with a badge and spoke to me in his ‘serious’ voice.

The badge

I didn’t go to the actual summit (it’s like a stone staircase to a nubbin on top of the mountain) as it was very small and I was sure I’d fall off.
I was also really pissed off that the summit was full of people in white trousers, sun hats and Birkenstock’s who had taken the train to the top and were taking victorious pictures on the summit as if they’d actually climbed the sodding mountain.
I’d done blood, sweat and tears.
They’d got a train.
Theirs was a victory of LIES.

Me at the bottom of the summit whilst those who got the train took photos of fake glory. #notbitter

After some encouragement from Rory, I made it back down the mountain in one piece and even managed a chuckle to myself when I realised that on the way up I was all
“Ohh look at the lovely lake”
and on the way back I was all

But I was a bit sad because I didn’t feel proud of myself.
I felt cross with myself for being scared.
I felt cross with myself for crying.
I felt cross with myself for not thinking the (cloud obscured) view was worth it.
I felt cross with myself for not doing it faster.
But I didn’t feel pride.

It was done, the thing I had been fretting about and looking forward to and dreading was done and I felt nothing but tired.
On Sunday I told anyone who asked that I hated it, it was the worst thing I’d ever done and I’d never do it again.
I think I even declared it worse than the 31 hours labour with Aoife (and that was a pretty shitty time).

We went for a self congratulatory meal and well deserved beer, then continued our minibreak in the way that normal people do.

Celebration drink, I discovered Snowdon Craft Lager and fell in love.

A ride on a steam train, talking about the children, talking to the children and looking at pictures of the children.

As we came home today, Rory drove past Snowdon, we couldn’t see it for the mist but it happened.
I felt a twinge of pride.

It suddenly washed over me, I was proud of myself and I had the right to be proud of myself.
It wasn’t a cure for cancer.
It wasn’t a selfless act that helped thousands of other people.
It was something that many other people have done.
But it was my challenge and I overcame it and now I was proud.
I even caught myself saying to Rory
“Next time we do it I’ll…….”

I walked from the hill at the far right of the picture, Past the lake, Yes that is MILES.

Unfortunately, this pride seems to be manifesting itself in me pointing at ANY peak, within England and Wales, and saying

“You see that? I climbed higher than that”.

It’ll get boring quick.
For everyone else.
Not me

I climbed right up that. RIGHT UP IT



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