My goodness, that was hard! I have described it as a physical challenge, but this was more than just challenging; this was punishing.
It was clear from the weather forecast that Sunday was going to be a better day than Saturday, so Sunday was duly chosen for the assault on Snowdon Horseshoe. And the day was stunning! Beautiful sunshine from start to finish, and just enough breeze to keep it fresh. Perfect conditions really.
My guides and companions for the day, friends Nigel Clifford and Dave Williams, were awesome – inspiring, encouraging, but also humbling. They had the fleetness of foot of mountain goats and the fitness of the Brownlee brothers! There was me, stopping after every 30 metres of scrambling, lungs aching, breaths coming in thick, fast pants, my heart trying to punch a hole in my rib cage; and there were Nigel and David waiting patiently above me, fresh as daisies, as if they were taking a leisurely stroll along the Bridgewater bridle path. This was, in fact, not just an ascent of Snowdon; this took in several other peaks too, including Crib Goch, Bwlch Coch, Grib y Ddysgl, (Snowdon itself) and finally the East and West Peaks of Y Lliwedd.
Amazingly, I wasn’t the slowest on the mountains. Going over Crib Goch was a little like negotiating the M60 at rush hour. It was grid-locked, and one could only go as fast as the slowest person on the ridge, and – on this occasion – that wasn’t me. Notorious for being the most treacherous part of the trek, Crib Goch was my favourite part: the snail like progress gave me plenty of time to catch my breath and take in the view, whilst being careful not to think too much about the 500 foot sheer drop just a stumble to my right.
Take a look at the photo from the top of Snowdon and you can actually see the horseshoe shape as the peaks and ridges on either side of the lake lead up to the summit. At this point in the day’s exploits, I was doing fine, but it was tackling the next two peaks that took me to a point beyond exhaustion. At one stage I had cramp that simply would not go away. Trying to ease it in one part of my body just created another spasm elsewhere. This was not a fun day out – but, by God, it was awesome!
Thanks to all those who have already made their generous donations. If you haven’t done so yet, there is still time. Just a reminder that the trek was undertaken in order to raise funds for the two Christmas parties, hosted by our sixth formers, for pupils from Delamere Special School and for local Senior Citizens. Your donations, via ParentPay, for Mr Dickson’s Horseshoe Challenge will be warmly appreciated and make those punishing efforts of mine worthwhile. A £1.00 donation from all connected with the school would fill the coffers wonderfully.