This weekend we decided to do something a little different for our hiking expedition – only I didn’t fully appreciate quite how different this weekend was going to be at the time.
We fancied going a little further afield so we booked ourselves into a hotel at the foot of Mount Snowdon in Wales ready for a day’s hike on Sunday. We decided Snowdon itself was a little over-populated and not really challenging enough for our liking – as you’ll know by now if you follow our exploits, ‘we’ err towards at least a little peril at some point during the day. So we opted for Pen Yr Ole Wen in the Ogwen Valley a short drive away. But before all that…
There we were on Saturday evening, having a quiet drink together in the garden outside the hotel watching the sunset behind Snowdon when Kieran asked me to marry him…
Now some of you will know how long K and I have been together and marriage has never been on the cards – despite some of your best efforts I hasten to add. So as you can imagine this came as a complete surprise to me (and in fact to both of our families) – the best kind of surprise in the world though. I haven’t stopped smiling yet and I hope I’m going to be this happy for the rest of my life. I cannot wait.
So bombshell dropped, let’s get back to the walk report. Having had a sadly mediocre breakfast, not helped one iota by their espresso machine being broken, we set off for a short drive to Pen Yr Ole Wen. We parked on the road at the foot of several HUGE mountains (including Tryfan) and Kieran showed me the horseshoe we were going to take (not including Tryfan on this occasion – apparently that’s to come). Steep is the word that sprung to mind.
We started off with a 20min walk up a fairly steep incline – but still easily on two feet at this point – burning quads and breathlessness soon followed though – Kieran can get quite a pace going with those legs of his. I knew at this point it was going to be a long day – leg’s were already tired from an intense set of workouts this week. You know it’s bad when you have to stop for food after 45 mins!
A bit of a scramble next, nothing too taxing – these are getting fairly run-of-the-mill now. And besides, it was dry and we could see… made a most pleasant change.
Then a bit of ridge climbing – now whilst K has done quite a few of these kinds of scrambles, this is my first and I’m way out of my comfort zone. I have no head for heights and this was scary. K traversed the ridge, perfectly balanced and totally upright whereas I looked like I’d regressed back through evolution several thousand years scrabbling about on my hands and knees.
…But what I can only describe as a 20mins slog followed next. Just mindless walking up a steep hill on shaley ground. Not fun. Endurance is definitely not my thing but K decided to liven things up a bit by cracking out a full set of pull-ups from a handy rock outcrop… as you do.
Finally we reached the top and the views were amazing… We could even see the sea on one side.
A quick pit-stop to re-fuel and we jointly agreed to go down the ‘quicker’ although according to the guidebook quite treacherous way down – neither of us could face a two hour walk along the top of the hill and down another bank back to the car. How wonderful hindsight is. My god, if we thought the ascent was a slog in places, it had nothing on the decent. Two hours of non-stop rock-hooping, bog-dodging and sliding on bum down shale banks. Both of us had shaky legs and no-balance skills left by the time we got to the bottom. Brutal, but we were warned!
A quick change of clothes and back in the car, we stopped at the nearest Tesco and stocked up on nuts and chocolate for the journey home to try and get some calories back in our bodies. And we planned a wedding!