Bored with the lack of adventure of everyday life, Simon and I decided to climb the three peaks. We also decided that, given our love for food, beer and epic bleak photography, we didn’t want to rush up and down in 24 hours, as is traditional. Instead, we set out for a long weekend of conquering nature: Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.
So we painted some Murderbeers flags to leave at the top of each and set off.
The 214-mile drive from Bourne End to Wales was, at best, pretty awful…
In fact, we got so frustrated by the traffic that we vowed to climb Snowdon that very evening and – instead of sleeping, which is for the weak – spend our night driving to the next mountain, to avoid further delays the next day.
After a long and confusing drive through the Welsh countryside (nobody saw fit to signpost what is literally the biggest tourist attraction in the area), we eventually came across the path up Mount Snowdon. Along the way, a well-meaning old man scurried out of a shop, first to tell us he “knew what we were looking for” (he didn’t) and then to ensure we weren’t intending to climb the mountain that evening (we were).
After a few minutes of lies and pitiful excuses for why, if we weren’t intending to climb Snowdon that night, we were still driving intently towards the mountain, foaming at the mouth and roaring battle cries, we carried on our way. Neglecting the public car parks and bus routes, we abandoned the heavily laden Fiat Punto by the side of the road and set off to climb the highest mountain in Wales, the Mount Snowdon.
Half an hour later, we were at the top.
We scrambled up rocks and stormed walls. We chased sheep and leapt brooks. Our legs burned and our lungs ached but, by ignoring the path and striking out across the fields, we made it to the top of Mount Snowdon in recording-breaking time!
The only minor downside – some might call it insignificant – was that it wasn’t Mount Snowdon at all.
It was a tiny, grassy hillock somewhere around the base of the mountain…which reared, vast and cold, before us. I would have felt foolish, but I was too busy wearing a cape.
So, filled with renewed strength (and a growing awareness that night was about to start falling all over the place), we attacked the REAL Mount Snowdon as fast as possible. The scenery grew as we walked, surrounding us in grassy knolls and barren outcrops. We revelled in the sights, breathed in the clear mountain air and strode confidently towards the summit…
…then the sun went down…and the clouds closed in…and the winds picked up…
By the time we reached the top, visibility was down to a about fifteen feet and the temperate had dropped low enough that my fingers were almost too cold to Tweet our success. When we broke out the flag of Murderbeers and flew it triumphantly, even the camera refused to work, because it was too dark to focus on anything at all.
Then we descended, by the light of the moon. The SUPER-MOON, as it happened!
When we eventually reached the car, it was approaching midnight and we were more than ready for our dinner of processed chicken and ham, wrapped in bread. “Sandwich” it is known, to mortal men who have yet to conquer the highest point in all Wales.
Then we were off – driving overnight to the Lake District, to climb Scafell Pike!
The highest mountain in Wales was a challenge, but it s’now don(e).
Things We Learned on Snowdon
- Traffic makes us angry
- We have no problem lying to kindly old men, who only have our well-being at heart
- The mountain is never what you think it is
- Climbing in the dark is less fun than you might imagine
- You can completely ignore most advice you are given about climbing mountains: trainers are basically fine; you don’t need a compass to follow a path;