Tag Archive | Hike

Sunrise over Snowdon

Thoughts and Thanks.

It’s been nearly two weeks since my daughter, Zoe, and I stood on the summit of Snowdon. I’ve thought about that achievement a lot since we’ve been back and still can’t really believe that I did it.

Snowdon - SunriseZoe had been talking about watching the sunrise from the top of Snowdon for months, it was something she felt drawn to do, and it was something she was going to do on her own. For someone who usually feels anxious about travelling on trains, going to new places and meeting new people, none of these things seemed to worry her.

It sounded like a great experience, but it wasn’t until I was helping her sort out train times and book the trip, that somehow I ended up booking for both of us.

As I thought about it over the next few days, I wondered what the hell I’d done. I’m not fit and I’m overweight – I did lose three stone last year but had slowly managed to gain one back. I can walk for miles on flatish ground, and at my own pace, but there I was planning to climb a mountain within a set time!!

When we got the list from the organisers of all the things we’d need, we excitedly went out and purchased everything. Then we started training – walking for a few miles a couple of times each week. I found that I ran out of breath walking up hills and made the decision to stop smoking, which I did and my breathing improved slightly. Everything was going well until my mum went into hospital.

When I went to see her, I hardly recognised her. She looked old! She was down and didn’t say much at all, which for my mum was very unusual, normally you can’t get a word in edgewise! I visited a few times and on one visit the doctor told my dad and I that she had a 50/50 chance. My first reaction was to reach for a cigarette, but I only had couple before resuming my non-smoking regime.

Zoe and I wondered how this would affect our trip, but decided that come hell or high water we were going, even if it was to celebrate my mums life!

Our second set back came at the beginning of the week that we were due to leave. Zoe was traumatised by an event instigated by someone she had known for years, someone she thought was her friend. At the time, Snowdon was a long way from either mine or Zoe’s mind, (and yes I did start smoking again), but as we walked and talked later that day we realised that ‘same someone’¬†was supposed to be taking care of my grandchildren while we were away.

Although things had changed, and because the event could start Zoe on a downward spiral, I felt it was important that Zoe made the trip she had been wanting to do for a long time and was glad that when we managed to make alternate arrangments for the children.


Zoe and I spend a lot of time together, but more often than not we’re also with Brian, or the kids, or all three! When we do get time on our own it’s a few hours here and there before I have to get back for Brian, or Zoe needs to pick up the kids.

Spending over 24 hours together was wonderful. We chatted, laughed, sat silently in the sun and took in the wonderful views.

Climbing the mountain was one hell of a challenge, but it was awesome! If you’ve read the other parts of my Sunrise Over Snowdon posts, you already know that. ūüėČ

The effect it had on Zoe has been¬†amazing…

I know who I am now, Ive spent years trying to figure that out and usually, stupidly I looked for that in the opinions of others, those others were people that did not have my best interests at heart. I cant believe how much I had let people convince me of what a shitty person I was. I am NOT a shitty person, fuck you! Fuck every single human being on earth that thinks it is OK to abuse and bully and take advantage and manipulate anyone. YOU are the shitty person.

I have learned more than is even conceivable, I learned who Zoe is and that actually, shes alright.


(Read more of Zoe’s take on Snowdon on her blog – bear in mind it’s not finished yet)

For me, that alone would’ve made the struggle and pain of climbing that flippin’ mountain worthwhile, but I also discovered things about myself!

I spent 24 hours in a pair of leggings and a T-shirt, and at no time did I feel self-conscious or worry about what anyone else thought. My usual attire is baggy clothing to hide all my lumps and bumps, but I’ve found since then, that I can wear what I’m comfortable with and if I look big then… so what! Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to feel comfortable wearing a bikini on the beach, so that’s never going to happen, but I’m not going to be body shamed and hide away under layers of baggy clothing any more. No, I don’t have a thigh gap – that wasn’t a necessary thing when I was growing up. ūüôĄ¬†Yes, I’ve got bingo wings but that doesn’t mean I can’t wear a strappy top, or if I do, that I need to wear a cardigan over it. Yes, I do still want to lose weight, but I want to lose it for myself and for my health, not so I fit into society’s standards.

I’ve been a homebody for many years. I like spending time at home being creative, or reading or on my computer, and spending time with Brian. I’ve found, over the last couple of months, that I also like being outdoors again and I’ve rediscovered a love of walking. I was always outside when I was growing up. I played out. We went on family walks. Brian and I spent a lot of time out and about when we first met, but that slowed down as his back got worse and he became ill. We don’t go out very often at all now and on the rare occasion that we do he can’t walk very far.
So I’m going to continue walking as and when I can. I want to get fitter and I’m going to stop smoking… again. This time for good, no matter what life throws at me.

I climbed Snowdon – I can do anything I set my mind to!

Zoe & I on the Summit (2)
I’m going to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who made our trip possible. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you to Zoe’s friend, Laura, for stepping in at the last minute
and having Shanice for a sleepover!


Thank you to Brian, for taking care of Dreydon while we were away.
Thank you to Dreydon, for taking care of Brian (and for being good). ūüėČ


Thank you to our team leader, Alex, for the friendly encouragement and occasional ‘kick up the arse’ needed to get me to the summit.
Thank you to the ladies of #TeamShit, for laughing, complaining and cursing your way up the mountain with me.

Last but definitely not least…

Thank you, Zoe, for letting me join you on the wonderful experience,
for helping to get me to the top,
for igniting a need for more adventures
most of all for being you!

Here’s to Ben Nevis, via many walks in the Lake District…
and a couple of repeat trips to Snowdonia. ūü§£

Part I: Lancaster to Llanberis
Part II: The Llanberis Path to The Summit
Part III: The Summit to Home

Sunrise over Snowdon

Part III: The Summit to Home

35989614_1672801936173048_4714609360578281472_nSo 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!

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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.

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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 ūüôā

Thankfully, when we reached the ‚Äėsquare‚Äô 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!



Part I: Lancaster to Llanberis
Part II: The Llanberis Path to The Summit
Thoughts and Thanks.

Sunrise over Snowdon

Part II: The Llanberis Path to The Summit

Midnight (3)We got together with the guides, Jonny, Keith, Alex and Ian, plus the 40+ other walkers in our group, we all had our head torches on,  a yellow glow stick attached to each backpack, and at 12:30am we set off!

Llanberis Path is the longest and most gradual of the six main paths to the summit of Snowdon and offers fantastic views. Originally, tourists were carried up this path on ponies and mules, and to this day it continues to be a pony path.

Distance: 9 miles (there and back)
Total Climb: 975m (3,199ft)
Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back)

The lead set a fairly quick pace as we headed along the road past the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station, along a side street and then over a cattle grid, at which point the road began to climb, getting steadily steeper.

We’d only been walking about 10 or 15 minutes and I was trying to keep up with the pace, but struggling to catch my breath. I was panicking, seeing stars and felt as though I was going to pass out. I knew, at that point, that I was completely unprepared and there was no way I was ever going to make it to the summit. Zoe kept me going by slowing our pace and talking to me until we reached a less steep part. The shallower incline gave me time to get my breathing under control and although I still didn’t think I’d reach the top, I made the decision to continue as far as I could.

That was just the beginning!

DSC00314The tarmac gave way to gravel and rocks, and the incline varied between ‘not too bad’ and horrendous.¬† Thankfully, we stopped for our first break and were split into smaller groups, with Zoe and I in the small final group. Our guide was missing at the time, as he’d had to take one of the walkers back down, so I was given the job of ‘backstop’ and told not to let anyone fall behind me. (I could easily walk slower than everyone else, so that was fine by me ūüėČ ) And then we were off again.



Our guide, Alex, caught up with us during the next leg of the journey, which consisted of more stony paths strewn with rocks. Even with our head torches, we couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us. At least now I could breathe… well most of the time! But by now my legs were aching, and once again I thought it was nearly time for me to call it a day.


35932313_1672799272839981_3823916611782311936_nOur next stop was at the Halfway House, which I found out later is a small cafe, but at that time of night was deserted. It was here that I took a complete, albeit unfair, dislike to one of the guides. Our slow group, or #Teamshit as we had aptly named ourselves, needed encouragement and hope. What we got from this particular guide was honesty…
“So far the climb has been gentle, but after the steps it’s going to get worse.” I can’t say those were his exact words, but that was the gist of it. I do remember telling him that his interpretation of gentle was hugely different to mine. We were the last to arrive and our break was much shorter than those who got there first, as we all set off again at the same time.


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We gradually fell further and further behind the lead groups. To start with we could see a line of white and yellow lights stretching away from us up the mountainside. I was much happier when they disappeared from view and could no longer see how steep the climb was going to be.

DSC00324Alex was a great guide, he was young and enthusiastic, and kept us all going with encouragement and advice. The other girls in our group were friendly and we had a good laugh with them… when we were capable of laughing!

Let me take a moment here to talk about those ‘steps’ the guide mentioned. They were NOT steps, they were large, uneven rocks, in a vaguely step-like formation. The steps varied from a few inches high to over a foot in height. We called these higher one cliff steps!

I struggled on up that bloody mountain on legs that felt like jelly, at a speed a tortoise would have been ashamed of.

Snowdon - going up (2)

Zoe and I got into a rhythm, we would walk for a while at a slightly quicker pace than the rest of the group, find a good sized rock to sit on and wait for the others to catch up, then do it all again. These mini-breaks gave my legs time to work in short bursts until my next rest stop. Watching me sit at each stop gave the rest of the group a laugh, as I could only lower myself down so far, after which I landed with a bump. I called it a controlled descent,¬†but in reality every time I went to sit down I fell on my butt!¬†I wouldn’t advise this method of sitting to thin people, but it worked for me ‘cos I have padding on my bum. There was one time when I missed the rock I was aiming for and ended up sitting on the grass between two rocks!


It was starting to get lighter as we passed under the railway bridge and as we took off our head torches, we were able to take in the spectacular views for the first time. By 4am, with sunrise only 40 minutes, it looked unlikely that we would reach the summit before sunrise. Alex certainly didn’t seem hopeful when Zoe asked him whether we would get there in time. By then I didn’t really care about the sunrise, I just wanted to make it to the top, but I knew Zoe would be disappointed if she didn’t make it, so I was determined to try my hardest.

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DSC00327It wasn’t long after, that we got our first glimpse of the summit, and I don’t know how, whether it was the awe-inspiring views or just sheer bloody-mindedness but we made it up that last part of the mountain to the steps leading up to the summit a lot quicker than I ever thought possible, and we were suddenly at the bottom of a stone built pillar with steps leading up each side of it. This for me was the scariest part of the climb… I really don’t like heights and these steps were exposed, no railings, nothing. I’m not ashamed to admit I went up those steps on my hands and knees, but I got to the top.

The climb up Snowdon (*Yr Wyddfa) has got to be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but…

We did it!! I did it!!

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To be continued…

Part I: Lancaster to Llanberis
Part III: The Summit to Home
Thoughts and Thanks.

Sunrise over Snowdon

Part I: Lancaster to Llanberis

Zoe & I on the trainAfter packing, checking and repacking our bags, probably more times than necessary, we were ready to go. We caught a busy West Coast train from Lancaster to Warrington, and then one to Llandudno Junction. This was also busy, and we were stood up for a good while, but eventually got a seat. The final, and shortest, leg of the train journey took us from Llandudno to Bangor!

We took a taxi (*tacsi) from Bangor to Llanberis, in Snowdonia National Park.

All in all our journey took just under 4 hours, and we arrived in Llanberis around 4pm, giving us 8 hours to fill before meeting our guides.

The village of Llanberis, sits on the southern shore of Llyn Padarn and at the foot of Snowdon. Llyn Padarn is one of the twin lakes that cut through the mountain range creating the Llanberis Pass, the other lake is Llyn Peris.

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We sat for a while by the side of Llyn Padarn, eating our packed lunch in the tranquil surroundings, and taking in the stunning views.

Dolbadarn Castle

View across Llyn PadarnAfter lunch we took a stroll along the side of the lake, made sure we knew where we needed to meet the guides for the climb and then followed a footpath through some lovely countryside, with only sheep for company!

The tower in the photo on the right may be Dolbadarn Castle, but I can’t say for certain, as it was situated on a hill and we didn’t want to be climbing hills before starting up Snowdon!

Outside Snowdon Mountain RailwayOutside Snowdon Mountain Railway (2)

We returned to the road via Padarn Country Park (*Parc Gwledig Padarn) carpark and walked back towards the main road.

We sat in the ‘square’ at the side of the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station, soaking up the atmosphere and watching groups of walkers returning from their trip to the summit of Snowdon while others were about to set off on their climb.


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We took a gentle stroll up through the village, looking at the sights and spending time trying to work out how to pronounce many of the Welsh words that were on signposts, shops and hotels, as most were written in both Welsh and English.

View from outside Padarn Hotel

from Padarn hotelWe spent a delightful evening outside the Padarn Hotel with a soft drink, moving inside for coffee when the temperature started dropping. As the hotel bar closed at 10pm we moved a little further down the road and settled into a corner of the Y Gwynedd Inn to wait for midnight.

Listening to people passing by and spending time in both establishments, it was obvious that Welsh is the main language spoken in Llanberis.

As midnight approached, we set off to the meeting point, outside the Electric Mountain Visitors Centre.

We were the first to arrive, but as others arrived, things got confusing fairly quickly as it became obvious there was more than one group meeting up at the same place, and we panicked a bit as we struggled to find our group. However, we finally managed to get together with the guides, and the rest of the climbers, for our walk to the summit!

To be continued…

Part II: The Llanberis Path to The Summit
Part III: The Summit to Home
Thoughts and Thanks.

Sunrise over Snowdon

DSC00345We did it!!

I will write about our adventure, and post more pictures in a day or so.

All I can say at the moment is OW… but well worth the pain. lol


Sunrise over Snowdon


Snowdon Summer Sunrise Guided Walk Information

Not only is climbing Snowdon a great challenge, but tackling it in the dark is even more impressive. It will be a fantastic morning and watching the sunrise from the summit is a breath-taking sight (as long as the weather is good, we’re keeping everything crossed!).

The walk will start at 1.00am and we ask you to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure (12.45am). The sunrise is at 4.48am allowing a 3 hour window to get to the summit. The expected finish time will be around 8am, but this will obviously depend on the speed of your group and weather conditions.

What you need to bring:

The weather in Snowdonia can rapidly change. You can be basking in the sun, dripping wet in torrential rain and freezing cold in strong winds, all within a few hours. Below is what you should wear and bring with you.

  • Head torch.

This is extremely important. Please also bring spare batteries and I would also recommend a small hand torch. There are many types and brands of head torch, and prices vary dramatically, but you can get a good one for around £30.

  • Walking boots

Good quality that are comfortable and previously broken in. Attempting a long mountain walk with brand new boots will lead to very painful feet and ankles. Ensure you’ve had a few long walks in your boots so that they are broken into adequately.

  • Walking socks

Comfortable walking socks. Thicker isn’t always better. Try socks out with your boots and get the perfect fit. If you are buying new boots from an outdoors retailer, ask for advice on socks too.

  • Waterproofs

It rains a lot in Wales!

  • Rucksack/daysack

Large enough to carry your supplies. 10-25 litres are generally a good size.
Again, with all kit, try and test it prior to the walk to ensure it’s comfortable

Other clothing:

Comfort and warmth is key. You will get colder the higher you go so plan for this.

  • Loose fitting trousers or stretchy leggings/hiking tights.
  • Loose t-shirt that will wick away sweat.
  • Mid-layer such as a fleece jacket/jumper or a softshell jacket. Also, carry an extra warm top in¬†your bag.
  • Shell jacket and trousers (waterproofs) ideally windproof.
  • Hat and gloves (in a waterproof bag). Even in the summer the temperature can rapidly drop.

Training and fitness:

This route is not technically difficult, but the amount of walking in terms of distance and time will certainly be challenging, not to mention the hundreds of metres of ascent. Getting out in your boots a few weeks before the event is essential. You don’t need to be tackling big mountains but walking for as long as you can help condition your body. If you can add a few hills to your walks, then that’s even better. Long country walks, minimum 2-3 hours, is a good way to prepare.

Go for long weekend walks, starting off with short distances, and gradually building up the distances. Starts with 2-3 miles walks and aim to be increasing this weekly.

Also, try to focus on ‚Äėtime on your feet‚Äô. This is similar to marathon training where you don‚Äôt have¬†to focus on distance but focus on time. Get accustomed to walking for 4-5 hours.

Hills! If you can factor in some hills, then you will quickly improve your leg strength and stamina. The more hills the better. Even if you find just one, try and walk up and down it several times. If you are a member of a gym try increasing the incline on the treadmill and walking at a brisk pace.

Two weeks before the event find a day to have a trial run in your gear. Find some hills if you can, wear all your gear, carry your pack and get comfortable walking with everything you will take with you.

My Checklist:

  • Head torch (& hand torch)¬†¬†¬†check
  • Walking boots¬†¬†¬†check
  • Walking socks¬†¬†¬†check
  • Waterproofs¬†¬†¬†check
  • Daysack¬†¬†¬†check
  • Stretchy leggings¬†¬†¬†check
  • Loose t-shirt¬†¬†¬†check
  • Fleece jacket & fleece jumper¬†¬†¬†check
  • Waterproof & windproof jacket and trousers¬†¬†¬†check
  • Hat & gloves¬†¬†¬†check

My training and fitness:

I try to get out twice a week for long walks. I do one on my own, with headphones and music, and one with my daughter, Zoe.

I always wear my walking boots (with my walking socks) to ‘break them in’, although they have been comfortable from the start. I haven’t worn the waterproofs as there hasn’t been the need, also, because I’m not tall, the trousers need taking up and I haven’t got round to it yet!

It’s not difficult to add in some hills, it would be harder to avoid them round here… I live on one. lol ¬†Having said that, some of my longer walks have been along the canal, which is flat.

When I go out with Zoe, we always walk up to Williamson Park, which is at the top of a long hill. We add a climb up the stairs (one of these days I’ll remember to count how many stairs there are) of the Ashton Memorial, before having a rest and then making the return journey. Zoe also lives on a hill!!

Oh! Nearly forgot to say…
I stopped smoking on Monday, so hopefully, I’ll be able to walk up all these hills, at a decent pace, without gasping for breath!!



Sunrise over Snowdon

Wordless Wednesday


Sunrise over Snowdon


Sunrise over Snowdon

I woke up this morning feeling excited, anxious, and wondering if I’d lost my mind! Why?


Yesterday, while looking for directions and train times to Wales, for my youngest daughter, I impulsively decided to join her on her trip!


On the evening of 22nd June, Zoe and I will be traveling to Llanberis, Wales.
We will meet our guide and the rest of the group just after midnight and then walk up to the top of Snowdon to watch the sunrise.

I’m looking forward to the experience, but worried that I’m not going to make it.

I can walk for miles (at my own pace), but have never done anything like this before.

I have 8 weeks to get everything I need and to get myself fit enough to make it to the top and back!

I will try to keep you updated on my progress over the next few weeks, and will post here after June 23rd (when I’ve recovered) and, hopefully, let you know we made it!