Earlier this year I set myself a challenge, I wanted to start on walking Snowdon, Ben Nevis and then Kilimanjaro, over 3 or 4 years. The first walk would be Snowdon. I decided to try and raise some funds for SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity by getting sponsorship to walk it.
I’d set myself a target of £500, that got smashed and I ended up raising over £1300. We lost my dad while he was in service with the army, so SSAFA is a charity close to our hearts. For the Snowdon walk, I asked 3 mates to join me. We completed the walk on the 5th of August.
Obviously this was an opportunity to get some landscape shots with the camera but the weather wasn’t great on the day of the challenge so I didn’t get many photos. Those that I did get don’t do justice to Snowdon, it really does take your breath away when you see it in the flesh. You can view the gallery from Snowdon here.
Two of my mates went down to Snowdon the day before the walk and stopped at the YHA at Pen y Pass. My other mate and I left Doncaster at 3am on the day of the walk. It took us nearly 4 hours with a rest break to get there. We had a mess about getting parked but set off about 0815hrs. We ascended via the Pyg Track. I was pretty nervous about that route, for 2 reasons. First, I’m scared of height – to the point I’ve frozen on a ladder before. Second, my wife found a news report a couple of days before we left that a man had fallen 70m off the track. So it was fair to say I had my concerns. One of my mates has done Snowdon many times, he’s as fit as a fiddle, he was the walk leader and I trust him so that put my mind at ease a bit.
The first climb was good, we got to the junction where the Crib Goch route starts without any drama at all. The next section with the flatter walk was welcome though! Myself and one of my mates aren’t the fittest of lads so it was fairly hard going but manageable. When we started the 3rd section things started getting a bit tougher. There were parts of the ascent I didn’t like, where the drop off was grim (for me) and people were pushing or bumping into others. It was really busy by this time. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought though and we all enjoyed it!
Finally we made it up on to the summit. It was a great feeling and we were buzzing! The cloud was covering the summit so we couldn’t see much and it was freezing too! We’d come prepared with warm kit so that wasn’t a problem. We stopped to have something to eat and then discussed which route down we were going to take. Our leader wanted us to come down via the Pyg Track/ Miners Track but I wasn’t keen on that as some of the points we went up worried me with my fear of heights and I knew it would be worse coming down. So we decided to walk the Llanberis path.
I’d managed to break a toe the week before we done the walk and on the ascent it didn’t give me any problems at all. I had it strapped up and all was well. That was until we started on the descent, the toe was throbbing after about 20 minutes, by the time an hour had passed it was painful. I carried on though, it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t walk or where it was making me limp. It did slow me down a lot though. We stopped off at the cafe half way down the path, for a sandwich and drink and then cracked on again. I have to say, the Llanberis Path was starting to feel like it was never ending by that time!
We finally made it down and stopped for a beer at the pub at the end of the Llanberis Path, we got talking to a bloke from the Mountain Rescue team, they’d had a couple of call outs while we were on the mountain. We completed the walk in about 8 and a half hours, we were never going to break any records but that isn’t why we done it. We took our time and enjoyed it, even my mate who was struggling wants to go back, we all do! I’ve done many miles lowlands walks and hill walking in the Peak District but Snowdon was hard for me. Hard but bloody rewarding!
We stopped at the Snowdon Ranger YHA that night, had a few beers and a decent meal too. I have to say Snowdonia is absolutely stunning and I want to spend a lot more time there!!