With our Snowdon walk now just over a week away, I have been training hard to throw off my winter fitness levels by going up and down as many hills as I can, especially as I felt nowhere near ready for Snowdon after our first training walk up Holcombe Hill via The Rake!
So, making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend and the dry (if chilly) weather, I went on three very different walks in Lancashire, Staffordshire and Cumbria.
Parking in Barley village on Saturday, I walked past a stream through fields of hawthorn blossoms and lambs to an intriguing sign on a gate...
Undaunted, I was soon on the steep path (on the right as you look at the hill) up the side of the Pendle Hill, taking plenty of stops to, er, enjoy the view. This path is challengingly steep, taking you up to 1802 feet with a total ascent of 1150 feet in a very short distance. On such a sunny day, the views were glorious towards Yorkshire and up into Lancashire (see picture at top of page) and after making my way to the trig point, I walked down Ogden Clough past the Upper and Lower Ogden Reservoirs. This walk is great for training because of the steep ascent, while the gentler descent means you can appreciate the views you've worked so hard for as you head back to the village.
The following day I found myself admiring wild orchids, cowslips and what I think are Downy Yellow Violets in the gently winding Manifold Valley nature reserve; built along an old railway line and with only a little ascent up one of many Sugar Loafs across the UK!
On Bank Holiday Monday, in an effort to avoid the highway of the main track up The Old Man of Coniston (I am always amazed how many people there are on these mountains, when I find it so daunting every time I am standing at the foot of one), I headed up the grassy Jack Diamond Path that zig zags up to the summit, with views over Coniston Water and over to the coast. Despite a terrible forecast, I watched the rain showers pass me by all day, leaving me to enjoy freezing sunshine at the summit with clear views of all the nearby fells, some still covered in snow. This is an ascent of 2296 feet and I made my way back down via the col of Goat's Hawse, past Goat's Water and back to the Walna Scar Road, tired but happy.
So although I know I will stand at the bottom of Snowdon next week thinking "How will I do this?", at least my body is more prepared now for the 3000 feet of ascent, even if my mind is unconvinced!
We are climbing Snowdon on 18th May, both as a wellbeing goal and to raise funds for Buddy's for children with autism.
Please click to visit the charity's Go Fund Me page if you would like to donate.
You can read the other team blogs .