And so on to the final mountain – Snowdon. Wales’ highest peak. In the mist and rain.
We were climbing the “easy” Pyg trail with two hours left on the clock until the 24 hour deadline, Simon and I suddenly thought we had a chance. This path was really quick and we could possibly make it! After all, why not go down fighting?
However, as the path wound round the mountain, taking in a stream and coasting up and down, I allowed Rick to pass me and began to fall further and further behind. I just couldn’t keep pace. My legs and possibly my mind were stopping me from keeping up. The mist was drawing in and Simon and Rick kept waiting for me further ahead but as it clung in closer, the boys disappeared from my view as they proceeded up the mountain.
Having never done this path before, I had no idea how far it dragged on for. So much for it being easy! Maybe it is when you’ve not done two others and you’ve got all the time in the world. We, on the other hand, were not in that luxurious position!
Finally, I caught up to them and we began to walk together. The path was getting noticeably steeper with some clear scrambling to do and the sheer number of people meant waiting.
It ought to be pointed out here that compared to some of the characters who were doing this mountain, my attire on Ben Nevis was positively sensational!
Simon, whose relentless competitive edge was still driving him forward, had also recognised the scale of the 24 hour challenge. We couldn’t do it. He saw mine and Rick’s pain and slowed his pace. His care and concern didn’t last long though; within ten metres he’d taken us up a shortcut designed to cut a corner but it almost killed us with its ridiculous steepness.
Eventually, the three of us climbed to the top and without speaking, touched the viewing point. Not that there was much to view in the thick swathe of cloud which surrounded us. Much like Ben Nevis, only more tourists. We’d done it. And inside 24 hours too. We had a photograph… we look so soaked! Now, time for the descent.
Almost immediately, we bumped into the far more sensible Mike and Ilze whose restrained and moderate pace had kept them only just behind us. Now we were together, we needed to go back to the top with them. Ilze looked extremely cold wrapped up in her pink hoody but they were here now and determined to finish the job.
Back at the summit, Rick had a hilarious exchange with a Japanese tourist in jeans and trainers – good job he is so multi-cultural!
It was really nice actually, being together as a five. I got a little disorientated with the route, thinking we were closer to the minibus than we were. Darn long descents!
We’d missed the 24 hours but wanted to sneak inside 25. With fifteen minutes to go and the road now in sight, we began to run. We all made it across the line and finished the challenge in “24 hours and …” We had our obligatory final group shot and then left Snowdon behind. Three Peaks Challenge complete…until next time!