The bucket list phrase is bounced around a great deal these days and mostly folks say what they would like to do before their number is up but then do nothing about it having regrets when the end of days comes arrives.
Wifey and I on the other hand have been trying to get around to the things we talk about doing one at a time and my biggest “want” on that list is to see the Aurora Borealis before I leave this mortal coil.
We didn’t get quite that far north this week though but rather headed west into North Wales to cross off something a bit closer to home. We wanted to “Climb a Mountain”. Seeing as Mount Snowdon was closest we decided that we should start with that.
Now we thought we were walkers and that we were fit but last Sunday we met up with a couple of friends, who really are proper hikers, and went for a twelve mile stroll around the peak district mainly in the area by Ladybower reservoir. This had up hill sections along with down hill sections then mix into it boggy flat sections, one bit saw my friends wife up to her hips sunk into the wet ground!, all added up to weary feet and legs at the end of the day. They were accompanied by tired smiling faces, on our parts as we realised there was still the odd bit of kit to pick up here and there to make such things a more enjoyable and dryer experience.
All round though a great day that we thought gave us a better insight into what was to come on Tuesday when climbing Snowdon….we were very very wrong.
Our “Climb a Mountain” day started early with a 05:30 alarm call which had us jumping into the car quickly setting off on the three hour drive to get there. A coffee stop on route saw us parked up at sea level in Llanberis supposedly the easiest way up the mountain at about half past nine in the morning. I had checked the weather forecast over the last few days and today was supposed to be the best day with mostly sunshine all day with the odd cloud thrown into the mix for good measure. Even so we decided that in good scout fashion we should be prepared with wet weather gear etc in our packs “just in case”.
Now we are not stupid people and even though we thought we were reasonably fit there is a train that runs up and down the side of this mountain on a regular basis so sticking our heads into the ticket office “Just to check” if there was any availability for the downward ride seemed like a good idea. Nope, we were soon told they were fully booked and at £22 each for a one way ticket the price seemed a little steep so we decided in a positive nature that it did not matter because we would just walk back down the mountain to do it properly like you are supposed to.
The sun was climbing nicely in a bright blue sky now and the town itself was quite picturesque as we walked around past a rather large hotel turning into the road that marked the beginning of our climb up.
One piece of equipment our friends had the Sunday before that seemed like a must have was a walking stick each. Not the old person lean on it not to fall over wooden type but a carbon fibre sprung to help you not to fall over type one and this was something we had forgotten to buy before coming here. But as luck would have it there was a conveniently placed outdoor shop at the very beginning of the hike that sold just the type we were looking for and some gut instinct said to pay the extra “You forgot it so give me a bit more for it” price before we set off. I can honestly say that stick was the best thing I have ever bought in my entire life and we have become close lifelong companions since.
That done we stood outside of the shop looking up at what we had come to conquer, the weather was dry and warm and the tarmac roadway lay out in a straight line before us enticing us along, so with a quick look and a smile at each other we took the first step forwards…