I was very clear that this challenge involved transport other than my legs. Yet as I write this I am aching and exhausted! Oh, and giggling a little… But that’s for number 21…
This challenge was facilitated by Alison Godwin, a friend who lives in North Wales. Early bird tickets were purchased as my 50th birthday present, and after one aborted attempt (Mayday Bank Holiday, and who would have thought the train would be cancelled due to snow!) the weekend of June 11th was looking good.
The first train to the summit leaves at 9 a.m. from Llanberis, so we were on the road from Denbigh by 7.15. The weather forecast was for cloud and light rain early on, clearing by
around midday. Approaching Llanberis, the cloud was sitting very low, and from the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station, there was no sign at all of a mountain. Just cloud.
Undeterred, we boarded the train and made the hour’s journey to the top. The scenery was stunning, until just past halfway, when we entered the cloud. No matter. We arrived at the top and headed straight up some steep (or so I thought at that point) steps, to the summit marker for photos. Actually, we could have been anywhere, as all around was cloud, cloud and more cloud… so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Next, it was time for coffee and a Welshcake in Hafan Eryri, the cafe. Our tickets were returns, but that would only give us half an hour at the top, so after a relatively brief discussion, we agreed that we would walk down. This had always been in the back of my mind… right up to the point that I realised how high and how steep it was. Nevertheless, in for a penny in for a pound.
A brief reccie of the gift shop; a postcard home from the summit; some cereal bars pocketed; all that remained was to decide which route to take down. The choices were to follow the railway line, or to go a more ‘scenic’ (but also more challenging) route down either Pyg or Miner’s Track. Under the influence of a friendly couple from South Wales who we were sharing a table with, and a hint of a giggle to come (again, I refer you to #21…), we chose Miner’s. I was advised that the initial climb down may be ‘steep’ and require me to ‘clamber’ at times, but that we then walked a relatively flat and winding path past some lakes to the bottom.
It was probably just as well that the cloud remained low, as had I been able to SEE the path we were about to embark on, I would probably have turned tail right then! But off we set. Step, step, step, step (need I go on), followed by clamber, slither, clamber some more. This type of descent continued for about an hour. People behind us, people on their way up.. it was busy, and my knees were beginning to complain already. But since the only alternative to continuing was to turn around and go UP… we continued our descent.
Until, cloud clearing slightly, the beautiful lake at the bottom came into view. We had a ‘pitstop’ goal in view. And about 15 minutes later, with legs like jelly and a face like a beetroot, we found a place to pause beside the lake for a drink, and a snack… and…