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Medway u3a member's new adventure

28 July 2023

Medway u3a member Danny celebrated his 72nd birthday by undertaking a big challenge - climbing Snowdon.

I recently enjoyed my 72nd birthday and after the usual (but important) family celebrations decided to celebrate it in a rather unusual way. Two years earlier I celebrated my 70th by climbing the mighty Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Despite saying “never again” two years on, the bug had bitten once again. It became a bit of a bucket list item to climb the highest mountain in Wales - so I decided to attempt to scale the mighty Snowdon.

Snowdon is the highest mountain in England & Wales and is 351 feet taller than the previously scaled Scafell Pike. However, with my friend, Steve, we set out to attempt the climb going up via the scenic but challenging Miners Track and to come down via the Llanberis trail (tourist route) which would allow us to enjoy both sides of the mountain.

The Miners Track lived up to its expectations with some stunning scenery and fantastic views of three lakes, including a large reservoir high up in the bowels of the mountain. However after about two hours we came across the most difficult element of the climb, which earlier had deterred a number of climbers.

It involved going up a very steep side of the mountain with no discernible path and was a matter of clambering up between large rocks and boulders which often became hazardous. There were also several mini waterfalls throughout the section which meant many of the rocks were wet and slippery making them even more treacherous. This section had been marked red on the map which meant it was classified as hard and strenuous and also at one point indicated an accident black spot – it certainly lived up to its classification!!

A birds eye view of rolling hills and a river going through the landscape

We continued our climb slowly and gradually and after about 75 minutes made it to the top of the arduous section onto an upper ridge where it met with several other paths. Utterly exhausted we enjoyed a break with some lunch allowing us to re-energise our batteries. It had been notable that as we were climbing the fantastic views which we had enjoyed earlier were becoming more difficult as the whole area became shrouded in cloud. Although tired, we knew we had “broken the back” of the climb and were relatively close to the summit which was only about a further thirty minutes away and which we finally made.

Two men at the top of a mountain, they're clutching each other's fists. The man on the left is wearing a waterproof and the man on the right is wearing a fleece and cap. The sky behind them is misty and grey, blocking the view behind them.After a brief stay at the summit we commenced our descent via the Llanberis trail which was a steady downhill gradient and much safer than the Miners track on which we came up. However the gradient was quite significant in some parts and my walking poles proved invaluable in allowing me to keep my stride in check and avoid losing control whilst going downhill. Both of us were cramping up at this stage so it was a case of slowly does it but after just over nine hours we successfully concluded our descent.

On the way back to the hotel we enjoyed a celebratory pint and toasted each other’s success. Although tired and weary, there was an inevitable sense of achievement at what two “old codgers” had succeeded in doing.

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