My First Mountain!

Posted on
15 April 2019

I went up Snowdon for the first time ten years ago this year. 

I was terrified at the thought of it as I'd never been up a before, but I was trying to impress a boy, so I kept my fears to myself!  It was only March, and we had a very lazy breakfast before a late start heading off up the Watkin Path, stopping to enjoy our picnic by a pretty waterfall.  I was promised a drink at Hafod Eyri, the cafe at the summit, and as we had already drunk everything we had brought with us, the thought of an ice cold drink at the top became more and more attractive the higher up we went!


The track was beautiful, with twists and turns away from the stream, up through valleys of slate and we eventually climbed to the Bwlch y Saethau, a ridge wide enough for me to enjoy the views all around, with lakes and peaks every way I looked (I am not good with exposure, I like a decent space between me and the edge!). After a short break, it didn't seem very far to the top, but the path turned into scree and I don't think I would have made it without someone to pull me up the slippery slope.  And then we were at the summit...to find snow everywhere and the cafe closed.  


So after a gloat at what we could see of the view, it was a long and thirsty walk back down to the car, and we had left it so late that it was dark by the time we got there! But what a sense of achievement - and it turned out to be the first of many mountains I have climbed since. 

I haven't been back up Snowdon yet and I am really looking forward to our group trip on 18th May, to raise funds for Buddy's for children with autism. 

Click here to visit the charity's Go Fund Me page if you would like to donate.  

We are planning to take the Llanberis path, as we want everyone to enjoy the day, no matter what their walking experience.  It should take us about 6 hours to complete.


For any novices out there, here is what I learned on my underplanned, first mountaineering effort:

 

  • take more to drink than you think you need. No matter how cold it is, you will still be exerting yourself, so will need to replace your fluids.  (And ladies, don't worry overly about toilet stops - there are plenty of big rocks to hide behind for most of the walk!)
  • take enough food with you too - as I learnt, you can't rely on the cafe being open (or even on getting in when it's busy).  This is definitely not the time to think about calories; try to keep some high calorie emergency food on you, such as chocolate bars or cereal & nut bars; you will get tired on the way down and need an energy boost.  Bananas are good too, but you may want to eat them earlier before they get too bruised!
  • tough soled walking shoes are a must, preferably boots - the paths are so rocky that you need to protect your feet; a walking shoe sole will help to prevent your feet getting more tired than they need to be and boots will protect your ankles on uneven paths.
  • waterproofs are essential, at the very least a jacket, but trousers too if you have them.  With the temperature dropping as you get higher up, you really don't want to stay wet if the weather changes. An extra layer, plus gloves, a scarf and a warm hat are a good idea too.
  • sunscreen and a sunhat should be in your kit; you never know what the weather has in store.
  • pace yourself and take regular breaks for a drink and a snack - it's not a race, and why make all that effort to climb a  if you don't take the time to enjoy the views?
  • think about how much daylight you've got when you plan a trip and carry a torch - finishing a mountain track in the dark is no fun, and it's not safe.

 

Fiona

 

Many thanks to Gwyn Norrell for the beautiful photos of the Watkin Path used here.

You can read the other team blogs here.