DAY 13, the challenge is done
May 6, 2009
|As I said, I've never felt so tired. It took my over an hour to eat all three courses of my dinner, every scrap, but I was so tired my digestive system was on go slow!
Hence, after hearing the howling wind and rain all night, I didn't wake until 8.00. That had blown my plan of early start, nip up snowdon and a few others and be making dust by 3.30. yeah right!
Armed with advice from the three men at the hostel, I headed confidentally off up the Pyg track leading onto the smaller track towards Crib Goch, except I didn't. Being so used to paths being much like sheep trails or nothing, I took what I assumed to be the trail (in fact it was a sheep trail) and missed the Snowdon special tarmaced trail (never again to find it). I wasted at least an hour, scramberling around (after sheep) but finally gave into the GPS direction and climbed up up until I met a trail and then a man who directed me, BACK, grrrrr.
As I said, an hour on, I was back on course, for a while. Well, this track up to Crib Goch, maybe fine in fine whether with full visibility and no rain, but for me, every step was a potential slip and with the rain blasting into my face and me continually eating stones or cliff face, it was extremely hazardous. Gone were the days of merry trecking and walking, this was constant climbing, three point contact (I'd have been happier with 4 but I would have been even slower than I was)stuff. It was scary and most of the time, I didn't know if I was on the right track as I was basically just climbing up cliff faces (much more difficult than climbing down dry waterfalls, it turned out!). I daren't look at my watch as I knew I'd be shocked and the warden said he'd be worried if my car wasn't gone by 5.00. To time worry would be to hurry, to hurry would be to slip, fall, and fail challenge....
I finally made it to the start of Crib Goch, well that's a relief, not. Steve had said, (on pointing out Crib Goch at a distance to me, on Saturday, when we could see it because for once the weather was clear), "whatever you do, DON'T ATTEMPT CRIB GOCH IF IT'S A) RAINING (AND SLIPPERY) OR B) WINDY. IT'S VERY DANGEROUS". Obviously I'd listened then.. well I did wear my sensible hat yesterday, I can't wear it everyday. Fortunately the bits of advice from the men at the hostel were firm in my mind. "It will be greasy (that means slippy) but just stay on the left side of the razor thin spiky ridge and hold onto the top of the ridge with your right hand, and you'll be fine. And you'll have a real rush of adrenalin". Well, I have to say, he was right on all parts, I did and I was, and I still have (the adrenalin rush, hence I drove home in 4 1/2 hours non stop and am writing this after midnight).
One saving grace about constant cloud cover, I was unable to see the drop on either side of the ridge that I was clutching to with my life, so I didn't worry. I just told myself, one step at a time Julie, keep holding on, and you will get there. DON'T PANIC!!!!
I then had to get around the Pinnacles (further clutching at mountain sides) and steam up to Snowdon. Back to civilisation. A few normal (they couldn't be that normal, the weather was horrendous) people had walked up the easy/paved trails and were leaning into the wind, desperately tryiing to get back down.
Yes, it was sooo windy, I couldn't even get out my peak no.s just got a photo of the direction thing at the summit, to prove I was there, and finally had my sandwiches (my deal to myself) at 2.30. Not good.
I really wasen't going to mind, if by chance I missed my (difficult) planned track down and by accident, found myself on the easy track, but alas, I got it right and continued on round the reknowned, Snowdon horseshoe. Reasonable progress was made, especially when I came across a collection of Pembrokehsire college backpackers. It was great, they were going so slowly, I nimbly jumped by them and wished them well. Ten minutes later I realised the going had been good for far too long and something simply wasen't right. Map inspection confirmed it, I'd followed them down the southerly easy Watkin Path and missed my easterly, difficult, horseshoe ridge path. I had to humbly turn round, head back up and deal with comments of 'weren't you just going in the other direction, tee hee'. Grrrrrrr. Another tricky patch to fund (what path) and cliff faces to negotiate and I'd made it to the top of 49, the West Peak 898m.
Is it possible to see wind? Well I think I did. I was in this gully thing and whoosh, the sheep was thrown aside, and this 'wind' I swear I saw it, whooshed through, it was eery. Fortunately I was in my usual position. slidinig down a slippery rock face with my hands clutching onto whatever I could grab. That saved me from being carried somewhere by the eery wind and let me live to tell the tale. I figured it couldn't happen again so immediately after the previous whoosh so I zoomed through the gully before I following one could arrive.
I'd finally done my fifty and was descending, out of perpetual cloud (today) and suddenly a view of the lakes and a 'normal' path, and the way home.
Cum peaks 50!!! (plus 4)
Distance 10.4miles (only, why did it take so long)??
Confession of the day - my clean sock bag is still full, I only wore one pair (after the first day) all week, my new waterproof socks (without washing them). They are soooo fantastic, if you've ever thought of them, go on, treat yourself, worth their weight in gold.
Thanks to everyone who have so generously sponsored me on this my challenge. I'm too tired to look now but believe I've raised over £1,500. Work will top another £750 onto that I think which means I will have funded at least another half a house in Brazil. I know Samuel and Sida will be absolutely thrilled and will want to convey their thanks to you all.
Well, it's not been the North Pole but it certainly has challenged me. Now I feel I can rest. ...well, we'll see.....