Part III: The Summit to Home
So we made it to the top, all we had to do now was walk back down and get home. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Only one problem, my legs were made from jelly and refused to follow the instructions my brain was sending to them!
The lead groups had been at the summit for around an hour by the time we arrived, so we slowcoaches only had time for a brief stop at the top, before we were headed back down the mountain.
I could say I walked down the mountain, but in reality, I shuffled, stumbled, and tripped, my way down. It was, however, more enjoyable than the climb. The path was still rocky and uneven, the steps were still ‘cliff steps’ and I had to use my controlled descent more than once, but it was much easier than going up!
Another bonus was that I could see for miles around and take in the magnificent views that we’d missed in the darkness of the ascent. The set groups and guides that were necessary on the way up were no longer needed and we mingled on the way down, at a more relaxed pace and with a carefree attitude.
We couldn’t help but chuckle as we passed others who were climbing, knowing how they must be feeling. We wished them luck and they congratulated us. It was a great feeling, to know, that despite the pain and struggles, and almost giving up 3 or 4 times, I had actually achieved my goal!
As the village came into view, I could see tarmac in the distance and figured it couldn’t be far now. I made the mistake of mentioning it to Zoe, you can hear her reaction, a bit further down when she spotted how far away it was, in the following clip. You also get a look at one of the steps.
As we drew closer to the end of the gravel path, I decided to joke that I wasn’t going any further, to which Zoe laughingly replied that the only other way off the mountain was for me to break my leg and call Mountain Rescue for an air ambulance.
I answered that challenge in a spectacular way… lol
My foot caught on a rock that was partially buried in the ground and…. yep, down I went! Obviously I didn’t see it, but from what I’ve been told, I believe the gif to the left is a fair representation of my fall.
Once I’d recovered from the shock, and started laughing, I was helped up by a couple of other walkers, one of whom told Zoe not to mention Mountain Rescue or air ambulance again!
My knees were painful, my forehead was a bit sore, my glasses and camera were scratched, and I was covered from head to toe in dust.
I hobbled down the rest of the path until we reached the tarmac where the ‘honest’ guide was waiting for me. News travels fast, even on a mountain. He checked that I was ok and didn’t need a ride to either a hospital, or the village, then chatted to us as we walked down the steep hill to the main road.
And no, I didn’t dislike him anymore, he was ok 🙂
Thankfully, when we reached the ‘square’ at the side of the Mountain Railway Station, there were only the guides waiting, all the other walkers had headed off. It was nice to be able to thank Alex, and the others, properly and to say goodbye.
Zoe and I headed back into the village, and breakfast (*brecwast) at the Padarn Hotel. Given the state I was in, I considered myself lucky they allowed us through the door. We sat in the garden at the back of the hotel and enjoyed a well-deserved coffee and bacon butty!
A trip to the souvenir shop by the Mountain Railway, for a welsh dragon or two, was followed by a taxi ride back to Bognor and the first of three trains back to Lancaster. The journey home was uneventful, apart from limping stiffly on and off the trains. We tried not to fall asleep and therefore miss our stops, but I think both of us caught 40 winks from time to time. We finally arrived home sometime in the afternoon… tired and dishevelled but still buzzing from our achievement!