I had decided before we went that I would walk up the tourist route not any route involving things with names like the horseshoe (with a narrow ridge and sheer drops) or similar. However, once I had walked up to the waterfalls the day before on the start of the innocuous sounding Watkins Path and seen that the climb looked steady on Pete’s map, I decided I would join everyone else going up the Watkins path and perhaps take the tourist route (or even the train) back. I also thought if I was finding it too hard I would turn back rather than feel like I needed to get to the top.
It all started off just fine – the path was wide and although steep in places it was fine. I didn’t even hold the group up – I wasn’t even at the back! I also found that my muscles weren’t aching and although I was getting out of breath I recovered quickly. The walking we have been doing regularly since our Cornwall trip must have paid off.
I started to believe I might actually get to the top – in fact I was starting to feel that coming down would be much worse, I don’t come downhill well and it was quite steep and a bit wet in places. I was loving my walking poles and also loving my walking boots.
Then we came to the scree – this was the point where I had initially thought I would go back – but I didn’t really fancy heading back the way we came and the scree was relatively short and I thought if I could just manage it then I could always take the train back. Besides I had started to feel like I had got this far I jolly well wanted to get to the bloomin’ top! I was really surprised by feeling like this because before we had started I really wasn’t bothered and I just wanted a nice walk, now I really wanted to get there (and beside I didn’t want to go back down).
I struggled up the scree, Martin helped me lots and my poles were now more of a help than a hindrance. At this point I was starting to hold people up. It took me a long time and I found the scrambling in the scree very hard but I did it, all the while telling Martin there was no way I was coming back this way! I was definitely slow on this bit and really admired my friend carrying her baby on her back. I was also interested to notice that Jonathan, who had been flagging on the steady walk up, did absolutely fine on this part but he also was not keen to come back over the scree.
The weather had been reasonably clear up to this point but now the visibility was really reduced and it was getting cold. We all regrouped outside the cafe and headed up the stairs to the very top in dribs and drabs, drank hot chocolate from the cafe and munched our sandwiches.
The general opinion was that going back down the scree field wasn’t a good ides so we’d go back by the southern ridge instead. I knew I was going to be much slower going down but decided to give this a try. The group decided to split in two with a faster group consisting of most of the teenagers and a couple of adults and the slower group with the smaller boys and most of the adults and the baby. Rebekah kindly stayed with us to keep an eye on the 10 year olds as she knew I wouldn’t be able to do that and that Martin would be helping me.
I needed a lot more help from Martin coming down and the poles seemed to be either absolutely essential or a complete pain. Most of it wasn’t too bad but there were quite a few places where I had to slither on my bum! It was worth it the views were amazing.
My knee started to hurt quite a lot on the way down but I managed it.
I managed it – I couldn’t believe the sense of satisfaction I had at the end – I was so proud of myself not only had I got up Snowdon but I had done it up one of the harder parts and I hadn’t felt completely unfit doing it either. Fantastic.
The teenagers hadn’t had enough with just climbing a mountain, they then went swimming in the pools at the bottom of the waterfalls – Ruth was particularly delighted to do this as she has wanted to do some wild swimming for ages. They also went for a little walk in the evening – youth is an amazing thing!
I went and did some hospital visiting in the evening and then came back to a lovely curry and a game of cards. My friend said she would give the day a 9 1/2 out of 10 and only not 10/10 because of the friend in hospital. I couldn’t agree with this more – it was one of the best days of my life even if my knee was hurting and my hips were aching. A great sense of achievement, the company of good friends, good food and playing cards – what a wonderful day.