A delightful sense of achievement was felt by the team as we stood 1,085 meters above sea level at the peak of Mount Snowdon. Following on from a course which Tom Roach had attended, he decided to offer his staff a road trip to North Wales to climb Mount Snowdon. Fortunately, this was something on my bucket list, so I did not hesitate to sign up.
The trip was well-organised by Courtenay, informing us of the correct kit to prepare and arranging logistics for the weekend. We prepared for the worst, packing our waterproofs and thermals but ended up getting sunburnt (albeit still very cold)!
Due to annual leave budgeting, our car had decided to get into the office at 7am and set off on our travels around 11am to aim to get to our accommodation for dinner time, which we managed to achieve despite some city traffic around the Cardiff area. When we eventually arrived at our accommodation, which felt like an eternity driving through the windy roads up to Snowdonia, we were greeted with a fridge full of drinks and the delicious smell of dinner cooking. Courtenay and Jenna very kindly cooked a delicious spaghetti bolognese for everyone including a veggie option, which was followed by some of Alec’s famous (around Lowin House) rocky road. We spent the remainder of the evening playing games (and I insisted on watching the Liverpool game on Ben’s tablet) and got a decent night’s sleep before the climb in the morning.
The morning came and we all had breakfast together and prepared for the hike ahead of us. The weather was as good as we could’ve asked for and the drive from our accommodation through the mountains was very pleasant. We decided to take the Llanberis path as it was said to be the “most popular” from reviews online and most appropriate for a group of novices like us! Some of the team had planned to get the train up the mountain but were faced with a dilemma when we arrived. The trains were not running far up the mountain due to heavy snow earlier on in the week which resulted in the whole team deciding to climb up and down the mountain all together.
We began hiking around 9.45am and stopped for refreshments at the halfway house, but soon realised that it gets very cold quickly when you stop moving! From here our scenery took a 180, and our rolling green hills quickly turned to snow. We had heard from passers-by that the snow was knee-deep in some areas and Ben decided to find out for himself, losing his legs in the snow and taking a tumble, which I found incredibly amusing. At this point we could see why the trains were not running all the way up the mountain. The further up we got, the snowier and more slippery it was – I ended up slipping over, hoping nobody had noticed (but everyone did!). This wasn’t the first of my falls, so embraced my newfound imbalance from thereon. Having said that, I’ve never been any good at ice skating.
We finally made it to the peak at around 1.30pm where we took in the thrilling views, took plenty of photographs, sat down for our lunch and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was much busier than I expected, with long queues forming to get up to the very peak.
On the way down, we all saw a young boy slide down an icy slope on his backside. Tom thought it would be fun to do exactly that and also slid down the slope. This spurred almost everyone else to join in. Sam picked up great speed and looked as if he was never going to stop! For all those who want proof, don’t worry – we caught it on video!
We made it back down to the bottom at around 5.30pm and, naturally, searched for a pub to enjoy a finest local ‘Snowdon Craft’ lager or a glass of gin before heading back to freshen up for our evening meal. We spent the evening at the Oakeley Arms, just a short drive away from our accommodation. We had a lovely evening with lots of food and many newly-found “61 Deep” ales, gins and other alcoholic beverages. The food was great for most (although Tom was evidently dissatisfied with his half chicken, which he ordered to crack the classic “I’ll have the other half” joke) which concluded a fantastic trip. Many of us were saying how we’d like to do something like this again, which then lead onto Tom’s suggestion of attempting the three-peak challenge, so watch this space for our next adventure! Big thanks to Tom for paying for our accommodation and meal at the Oakeley Arms. Anyone thinking of doing this I would recommend; the hike was thoroughly enjoyable, and it was a great way of getting to know my peers better.