Warning! It’s not the longest article I have written but it’s close, but you will enjoy the read.
My first bit of advice, get some training! I am not talking about walking miles and miles on flat ground, but the one’s where you have to walk “up”. A week before, four of us walked five of the 7Sisters, from Seaford to the beloved lighthouse (pushed by our hiking expert). That was a good call from our Hiking Grand Master, just the right sort of preparation needed.
You can make a weekend of Mount Snowdon, but we travelled up, up and down, and down again to home all in a day.
There’s always a first time!
Our coaches were to leave 3am sharp Saturday 15th June, all meeting up at 2: 45am in front of Gravesend Gurdwara.
I am Mr punctual and therefore had the responsibility of picking up my brother and Hiking Master. My alarm went off at 1am and I proceeded with switching it off and resting my head back. Next thing I know a text at 2:25am wakes me up, holy crap I have overslept and the panic begins. I rush out of bed, phone in hand dialling Grand Master’s number, only to be met with a chuckle on the other end. Thankfully my lovely other half calms me down, helps me do final packing and I am off to do the pick up’s. Time recorded in getting ready….six minutes.
Coach of nutters!
I will probably get told off for this one…but we had the best “peeps” on our coach and this certainly helps on long journeys. For safety reasons I can’t use exact names, so here’s my attempt at describing them. You had….”Miss Trouble”, “Hiking Grand Master”, “Clubber Boy”, “Kenyan Connection”, “Baba Shades”, “The Organiser”, “Jaggers” “Mr & Mrs”, “Non-Asian Contingent”, “Team Storm”, “Gatka Crew”. Sleep came to all at different stages, I thought I had missed a pit stop but that was a joke. Our pit stop allowed everyone to meet and greet and have a coffee/munch/leak break. It was also the start of “momentous but silly quotes of the day”. The first one directed by the honourable me.
Day’s Quote: To me < Hello, didn’t recognise you, have you grown your beard?
Me with an amazed look > Just left it open!
Fast forward and we arrive in Wales and at the foot of Mount Snowdon, there is an expected buzz around the place, the sun is shining and everyone is ready to go. Quick *snap* *snap* of pictures, exchange a few smiles and wish everyone good luck, and we are off. The flat surface climb certainly sets the tone! I would have died right there and then had 7Sisters hadn’t been negotiated week before.
The path then gets rocky soon after, an additional challenge for those poor feet, but we were well equipped. Along the day we bumped into crazy members from our coach, overtaking and then being overtaken. You concentrate so much on your walking that you forget to take in the beautiful scenery around you, but we managed to grab some good shots. As we reach the archway before turning right, we notice climbers up above, moving slowly like cars in a traffic jam. No, this is not because there are too many, therefore causing an obstruction, it’s because they are walking up very slowly as the climb is frighteningly steep. I take a large in-take of oxygen, my legs telling me they will eventually crack under pressure. It’s now the beginning of a mental game.
Its all in the mind!
Yes that steep climb was tough, for me. To make matters worse a mysterious mist descended upon us, making it virtually difficult to see in-front of you. Then like a mate calls another mate to attend a party he just gate crashed, along comes the rough wind, blowing us from side to side. I forgot to mention both “clubber boy” (my bro) and myself suffer from heights, well I am not bad. He needs someone to walk alongside him and I am quite literally “bricking it”. But its all in the mind and we get ever closer to the summit. You know the best feeling… (if you discount having kids, watching your favourite footie team win the league, win the lottery), watching other climbers walking back down on a frequent basis as you know it’s not too far to the end.
There she is, a small podium with a dial on it. Small steps will take you there, question is do you have the balls to make that final climb in swirling wind? I climbed 4 steps and turned. Then Hiking Grand Master held me up and got me there, even if I was on all fours to begin with. I had touched it, I felt like the chick out of 5th element at the end, flipping liberated. I just wish the visibility was better as opposed to seeing a white sheet of cloud. Together with Miss Trouble, Clubber Boy, Hiking Grand Master and myself, we did it.
In true style I finished off with a Jakara (Traditional Sikh call), loud and clear, although others on the top may have thought I was about to let something off, no offence taken people.
The mountain strikes back!
So we did it, like sticking two fingers up at the mountain, “take that mate”, told you we get up there. Little did we know that the mountain was quietly laughing at us. If someone tells you it’s harder coming down, do them the decency by not laughing at them because they are spot on. You have no bloody control, I got so frustrated I started running, leaving the bad boy crew behind. When they finally caught up (because I had to rest), they said I looked like “gorilla’s in the mist”! Charming.
Curley fries and ice cream all round
All I can say is yum yum.
The ride home
I once went to a wedding in the midlands, it was crap, no really crap. The best moment was the coach ride home which made it the best “wedding experience“. Not only was our trip up and walk something I will never forget because it was a major achievement, the coach ride home was a laugh, we were all tired but that didn’t deter us. The gang leader of Team Storm challenged the front end hikers, the royal we, to a game of Antakshari ( a spoken parlor game played in India). In short we “Blast Radius” them, even when they were looking up songs on the internet.
This ticks more boxes in my small sized life, but it’s a great feeling to achieve this with friends and family. It challenges your emotions and brings you to tears, its the only time you can talk to yourself without anyone thinking you are going insane.
I would like to leave you with a further two silly quotes if the day, taking our total to three.
Day’s Quote: To Jaggers < Hello, what are you doing here, for a walk ?
Jaggers with an amazed look > No, just out here to see the scenery
Day’s Quote: To me < My legs are aching, I think I may need to do some stretching
Me > Considering you have just walked 8miles, I think you are a little past stretching!
Images from the Day
The Crazy Gang