Back in the hazy days of 2010, my dad had a dream. It was a simple dream, but one that threatened to never be realised. He wanted to climb Mount Snowden IN THE SUNSHINE.
You see, my dad had reached the summit of Snowden many times (six, to be precise), but each time he did so, he saw nothing at the top. This is because Snowden is in Wales, and Welsh weather runs to the wet and windy side of things. If you hike regularly, you will understand what a disappointment it is to reach the top of a climb and not be able to see how far you have come.
So, in 2010 my dad decided that this was the year he was going to achieve his dream. But he didn’t want to do it alone, so I ended up agreeing to make a mad dash to Wales whenever the time (and the weather) was ripe for such an adventure.
This was an exciting prospect for me, because climbing Snowden would actually be only the second hike I had ever done up a mountain. I’d done a bit of walking in the Lake District before, but that was all. At the time, long-distance running was my game, and while this gave me a good level of fitness, it didn’t exactly prepare me for powering up a mountain. But I was willing to give it a go.
June came along and we were suddenly blessed with gorgeous sunshine. It was time! We got up early and drove all the way to Wales so that we would arrive with plenty of the day ahead of us. I remember getting out of the car and looking up… This was not going to be a stroll in the park.
This thought was confirmed the moment we started heading up. My dad was like a mountain goat and left me for dust. But I eventually managed to keep up (or he slowed down, but I like to believe in the former).
The sky was completely clear above us and the sun was baking the ground dry. It was so, so hot. My dad and I were soon boiling and guzzling down as much water as we could manage. Possible dehydration is the price you pay for good weather it seems.
We may have been thirsty, and hot, but at least we could see the view! My dad was ecstatic, and so was I, because my walks in the Lake District had been dominated by rainclouds. For once, both of us could admire the view as we tramped our way up to the summit.
It was the best feeling getting to the top, and it was great to finally see the landscape that had eluded my dad for so long. A dream come true!
Once we had taken in all the sights, we began our descent and headed for home. After the excitement of the climb, I found the downhill route a little tricky. I was very grateful for the walking poles my dad lent me. For some reason I always feel more comfortable going up, even though it is much harder work.
The bodies of water we passed looked so tempting. It was still blazing hot and the water looked so cool and refreshing. Sadly we didn’t have time for me to dip my toes, so I had to walk past staring longingly at the clear water. Maybe another time.
We arrived at the bottom of the mountain just as evening was setting in, and then tucked in to a hearty dinner. Full, tired, and maybe a little bit sunburnt, I collapsed back in to the car and we headed for home. Not a bad end to a tiring, but perfect, day.
Find out more about the routes up Snowden.