Tag Archive | Journey

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.

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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. 😉

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.

~Zoe

(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. 🙄 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). 😉

  

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
and
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. 🤣

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

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.
http://www.llanberis.com

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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!

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To be continued…

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