Snowdon adventure

My family has conquered Snowdon! Did we enjoy it? Not that much. Will we be doing it again? Not necessarily. Do we feel proud? We most certainly do.

It was a long, tough day and I felt so proud of my kids and myself for different reasons.

We started the day parked at Pen-y-Pas at the foot of Snowdon. From there, there are two main tracks upwards – the Pyg Trail, which is steeper and more difficult, and the Miner’s Trail, which is supposedly easier. I’ll be honest, I’d been a bit nervous about Snowdon, but my husband had assured me it was no big deal and that I would love it because I love walking, exercise and beautiful scenery. My husband and son had done the more challenging Pyg Trail the day before, going up and down in just three and three quarter hours. We were doing the Miner’s Trail as a family and had warned my eldest that the pace was going to be a lot slower.

It was a beautiful sunny day, quite cold, but with no threat of rain. It was pretty much perfect for conquering the highest mountain in Wales.

The Miner’s Trail starts with a bit of a slope, then it goes round a bend and even downhill a bit and you come across a really beautiful blue lake. You go round the lake – this is amazing! You’re going up a mountain, but it’s like you’re not going up a mountain at all! It’s just flat! How good is that? The peak of Snowdon is visible in the distance and it’s getting nearer. It’s all going rather well.

PicMonkey snowdonadventureCollage

The boys and Daddy were walking ahead and I was walking at a slightly slower pace with my daughter. We came across some giant cobbles and we started to climb gradually. She informed me her legs were starting to hurt and I thought we still had a long way to go. But it was OK. Bitesize chunks. We just had to get up. We could do that. Then coming down would be easy.

We came across another lake and it was all very beautiful. But what were those people doing? Were they CLIMBING UP ROCKS?! It was very steep. It wasn’t a pleasant walk. They were properly climbing. And we had to properly climb too. And the peak wasn’t getting any nearer.

We started climbing and my husband took over looking after my daughter, holding her hand as she climbed the rocks. My eldest is like a mountain goat – he has endless stamina for climbing things and walking. My younger son started getting a bit wobbly and, to be honest, so did I. We were getting higher and higher, we were having to hang on with our hands, it was narrow and uneven and there was a flipping great drop below us. Then things would ease off a bit and we would come to some stone steps before it was back to proper climbing. Frankly, I was terrified. I would never describe myself as being someone who is afraid of heights, but I wasn’t looking down.

I was supposed to be loving this – enjoying the walking and the beautiful scenery – and all I could think of was that I was hating every minute and I just wanted it over.

I’m claustrophobic and my fear is not being able to escape from a situation, whether a locked toilet, an aeroplane, a lift – or the side of a mountain. I might have been out in the fresh air, but there was no escape.

I didn’t tell anyone I was feeling like this, but my eldest sensed it. He held my hand as we walked up some of the difficult bits. Anyone looking at us would have thought I was looking after him, but it was the other way round. I really appreciated it.

We were having frequent stops for drinks and snacks. We had three rucksacks and the drinks and snacks were divided between them. My husband was getting cross with me for ‘stressing’ about the whereabouts of the Mars Bars and who was carrying my daughter’s Lucozade or my son’s water. It wasn’t easy to keep track of it all with worrying so much about falling and the long walk. I must admit I shed a couple of tears behind my sunglasses because it all got too much.

And still my eldest walked on and so did my daughter. I was in awe of her. As soon as we started climbing, the adrenaline just kicked in. Her legs just kept on going and she was really enjoying the experience. And she LOVED looking down.

My younger son was getting more wobbly by the second. He couldn’t look down. But rather than not look down (as I was doing), he kept looking down. And still the summit didn’t seem to get any closer.

My husband kept telling us it wasn’t much further, but it still looked a long way. The Miner’s Track met up with the Pyg Track as we approached the summit. Apparently the Pyg Track is steeper and shorter, but doesn’t have the really horrible climbing bit towards the end, so we decided we would go down that way.

Then we got to the top and there was a nice wide bit to walk along to get to the summit. But my younger son was in bits. He was crying and saying he wanted to go back. It was too high. We were going to fall. The wind was going to blow him off.

No amount of reassurance was going to move him and in the end my husband had to stop with him while I carried on right to the top with the other two. My eldest offered to take my daughter up the steps to the trig point to save me the stress, which was so kind of him. But when we got there it was so crowded with teenagers taking photos and hogging the space that we decided not to risk it. It looked too scary. So we ate half a Nature Valley bar and the kids ate a couple of Haribo (we had loads of snacks, but we didn’t actually have any LUNCH, having had no opportunity to actually buy any sandwiches) and we went back down. It had take us three hours and 10 minutes to reach the summit. As we walked down the steps from the summit, I realised I wasn’t the only one holding my daughter’s hand. With no Daddy around, my son had taken on a protective role and my heart nearly burst at the sight of him holding his sister’s hand.

We’d been gone 20 minutes and my son was still crying. He was in a real state, begging to go home. Not just to the hotel, but HOME. He was refusing to eat or drink which was no doubt part of the problem and nothing could calm him down – not even talking about Minecraft. I was worried he was going to have a full-blown panic attack right there on top of the mountain.

There was no way we could get him down the Pyg Track, so we just decided to follow the railway, which is the most gentle way down of all. But also very long and very slow. My son held my hand (very unusual) and ranted and cried until he saw some snow. Then he ran off to make a snowball and he was back to himself. He ate a Mars Bar and normality was restored.

PicMonkey snowdonCollage

Did you see Nativity 2 when they trekked through those mountains endlessly? Following the railway down was just like that. Bleak scenery going on FOREVER.

There was a cafe about halfway down. It had no electricity and no toilets, but some of us picked up some cold snacks from there. My younger son wouldn’t go inside – he said he wanted ‘some fresh air’ – like he’d had for the last five hours.

Suddenly my daughter announced that she was cold – despite wearing a hoodie, a thermal base layer and two Tshirts. Her skin was really cold to the touch and she looked pale. I put my own thermal base layer over all of her clothes and stuck her woolly hat on her head. And she didn’t complain! My daughter hates any clothes that don’t look perfect and wearing my clothes, especially over her own would be a complete no-no. So she obviously wasn’t herself. So she pretty much rode on Daddy’s shoulders the rest of the way. I have no idea how he did it.

The surface was very rocky and it was starting to hurt our feet. I walked with my younger son and he’d had enough. It felt like he’d been walking forever and everything hurt. And still my mountain goat kept walking. He has so much stamina and he absolutely loves climbing and hiking. My younger son is all about the quick wins – run fast, score a try, score a goal.. He doesn’t have the stamina or commitment for walking and climbing. My daughter is dedicated and committed and she won’t give up – whatever she’s doing and however much it hurts (or however cold she is).

My son got excited at the sight of ‘a real wall’, then a fence because it showed signs of civilisation and that we were nearly down. Then there was a house in the distance, a gate and, oh joy of joys! A tarmac road. We’d made it!

Author: Sarah Mummy

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52 Comments

    • Thanks very much πŸ™‚

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  1. Oh wow what a day! It sounds pretty scary and I’m not sure id get even halfway up but a huge well done to all of you for getting up there despite how tough it was. It can’t have been easy and I bet you slept really well after it!

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    • Thanks very much, it really was scary, but I’m so pleased we made it!

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    • Thank you, Nikki! I am proud. We really conquered a lot of fears and the strength my daughter showed was incredible!

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  2. That certainly sounds like the kind of thing that you’re really happy you’ve done when you’re safely back home on the sofa, but when you’re doing it it feels like you’re dying. Your eldest was an absolute hero! What a wonderful young man he is turning into, any grammar school should be proud to have him!!

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    • Thanks, Judith, he really was brilliant! His dedication to walking didn’t surprise me, but his kindness to his sister did. (He won’t be going to any grammar schools though as he already well-settled at his comprehensive.)

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  3. Well done to you and your family, what a fantastic bonding experience. Snowdon is a great place to climb, how I miss climbing nowadays.

    Glad to see you went prepared, so many don’t.

    Once you get over the shock of it you’ll only remember it as a fantastic achievement and how much you enjoyed it.

    xxxx

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    • Thanks, Dawn, that’s how I’m thinking about it already. Out of the total climb, the tears were only a small fraction. I’m even thinking I may do it again one day! (Although I’ll leave my younger son at home!) We are always prepared, I am one of those people who is obsessive about preparing for every eventuality!

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  4. I am in awe. Totally. I spoke to my family about doing this as a sponsored event later in the year – summer – and they were all up for it. However, we were thinking of walking up and getting the train down! I think there are some easier paths but I’m sure they weren’t as beautiful as the one you took (as you discovered on the way down). An amazing achievement that you should definitely be very proud of!

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    • Thanks very much, Suzanne. Yep, my kids walked all the way! I’ve since heard the ‘Rangers’ path mentioned, so I would look into that one for future. The path coming down was too boring, but the one going up was too challenging!

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  5. I conquered mount snowdon too. I was a lot younger and the best thing was sitting in a cloud for the first time. It was amazing to look down at the world. The weather changes were crazy! Thanks for taking me back to my childhood via this post. Linking up Karis x

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    • What a lovely thing to say! We were very lucky with the weather, so we didn’t see the changes you talked about – it was sunny on the way up and cloudier on the way back, but nothing bad.

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    • Thanks very much πŸ™‚

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  6. What an amazing achievement; you will look back on it as such an experience as a family, even if you don’t want to do it again! Well done to all of you x

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    • Thanks, Sara. I’m already seeing it a lot more positively and maybe, just maybe, I might think about doing it again!

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  7. Glad to hear you all conquered Snowdon, sounds like you had good weather too. We went up and down the long track by the railway, I remember going to the cafe with no toilet too (aargh!)

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    • That track is SO long! And why have a cafe with no toilet? I must admit to a couple of ‘pit stops’ – one was completely out in the open, which was VERY strange!

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  8. What a great achievement for your family. I love that a bit of snow totally restored your sons mood. #PoCoLo

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    • It’s amazing what can cheer kids up, isn’t it? But thank goodness for that snow!

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  9. Oh wow Sarah, what an amazing accomplishment for the whole family! Ploughing on and not giving up is a great life lesson :o) #PoCoLo

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    • Thanks very much πŸ™‚ It wouldn’t have taken much for me to give up, I must admit!

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  10. Well done! The challenge really seems to have brought out the best in your eldest.

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    • It certainly does! He’s always at his happiest (and nicest) when he’s doing something like that.

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  11. What a fab achievement for you and your family, and a great bit of bonding too! Will be lovely to look back and remind them of how much they achieved! My sister did Kilimanjaro and I couldn’t believe the amount of prep she had to do both mentally and physically before she even went there!

    xx

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    • Wow! Kilimanjaro must have been scary! I now know for sure that mountaineering is definitely not my thing!

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    • Thank you, Leanne πŸ™‚

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  12. Such an accomplishment, well done! #PoCoLo

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    • Thank you πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you πŸ™‚ x

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  13. Was not breathing till I read the end of your story. It is a bit rocky, your hike but your eldest really rise up to the occassion. I know you are very proud. Congratulations. =) #pocolo

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    • Thanks very much, Merlinda. My eldest was brilliant!

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  14. Crikey – I got stressed reading about it. I do think an adventure needs a bit of peril to be real – but you had loads. Well done to all. You all excelled in different ways.

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    • It really was quite stressful, but I’m pleased that we can say we did it! My eldest and my daughter were brilliant.

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  15. He’s sucha a good boy! Thanks very much.

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  16. Well done to all of you! I climbed it with friends a few years ago and actually found it really tough going (and that was without kids!). Like you I was thinking “when is this going to end?!” and spurred myself on with thoughts of drinks around the campfire in the evening πŸ™‚

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    • Glad it’s not just me who found it tough, Marissa! It definitely felt harder because I was worrying about the kids!

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    • Thanks very much, Claire πŸ™‚

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  17. Well done with the summit of Snowdon! It’s hard enough getting yourself up and down let alone with kids too! Totally get the heights thing – I never used to be bothered by it but find myself going a bit giddy sometimes now on hairy passes or scrambles. Would love to try this with my daughter sometime – last time was in pre-married and kids years but still remember those staggering views!

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    • The views really were amazing! But I just felt so worried with the kids there, think I would enjoy it more without them! Hope you get to do it again soon.

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