When my husband decided it would be a good idea to take the kids to Snowdon over Easter, I must admit I was nervous. I’m always nervous about anything which involves taking our family out of its comfort zone. I worry about travelling and I worry more than I should about the kids getting ill or hurting themselves (although, in my defence, my kids do have a pretty good track record in hurting themselves – we’ve already had two trips to A&E this year).
But there was another issue. Could they do it?
I’m told lots of people do Snowdon, that it’s not really a big deal. We’re fit and healthy. We could do it, right?
I run regularly, including half marathons, as well as walking a lot in day-to-day life. I can do it!
My husband plays football and goes through phases of running and cycling. He has also done Snowdon before. He can do it!
My eldest is the least of my worries. Although he’s not a prize-winning high achiever like his siblings, he is quietly resilient. If he puts his mind to something and wants to do it, he will do it. He’s used to long hikes with Scouts and has done Snowdon before. He can do it!
My younger son is fit and energetic. He can run for hours up and down a football or rugby pitch. But he doesn’t actually like walking. And he can be pretty stubborn when forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. Will the excitement of walking in mountains be enough to get him motivated?
My daughter is fit and energetic too. She enjoys walking in the local hills (because she can run down them), but she does tend to get bored after a while. And she is only 8. Are her legs strong enough and does she have the stamina for a mountain?
So I wasn’t sure if we could manage it or not. I needed to stack the odds in our favour and get us walking.
First things first – walking boots. I am 40 years old. I have never had a pair of walking boots. My Doc Martens have always done the job perfectly well.
With the family kitted out in boots, we needed to break them in AND get fit and ready for Snowdon.
A week before Snowdon we went for our usual walk up the hills, which is only about 45 minutes. On the same day I also made the kids walk to the shops and back rather than drive – that’s only about three quarters of a mile each way.
My daughter wanted to go swimming as she’s determined to practice and pass her swimming course next time. The pool is about a mile and a half away. I decided to test the water (see what I did there) by mentioning that we walk to the swimming pool and back. I thought there would be moans and groans. But they were excited! My daughter woke up on the morning and told me she’d been thinking about the walk and had worked out who many times we would need to cross the road! The novelty of doing something different made it exciting and they liked the idea that they were getting fit and ready for Snowdon.
The next walk was tough. We did our usual 45 minute hill walk but we parked on the road at the bottom of the hill and walked all the way up – doubling the duration of the walk and adding in a ridiculously sleep hill into the bargain. My daughter struggled a bit – she kept stopping, she was thirsty and she had to strip all her layers off. I must admit, I was slightly nervous about her ability to manage Snowdon. The boys just kept going the whole time and were always ahead of us, which was a bit disappointing as I wanted us to walk Snowdon as a family, not with them (and Daddy) marching off and me shuffling behind with my daughter.
But we made it! Hopefully we’ve done enough to get ready for Snowdon.
Now I’ve got ’em walking, I need to keep it up. It’s great that they are getting even fitter, enjoying fresh air and nature and we’re avoiding wasting money on petrol and clogging up the environment with the fumes.