Thursday, 8 July 2010

How I conquer my fear of climbing a mountain

Does climbing a mountain sound daunting? That’s what I thought before taking the plunge to climb Mt Snowdon. I decide not to give in to my fears about height, worries about whether my legs can carry me and I am glad I did that. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be and the views were simply breathtaking. Every corner and turns reveal a different scene and its picture perfect most of the time.

Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) which stands at 3,560 ft (1,085m) is the highest mountain in Wales and the second highest in Britain. The mountain is situated within Snowdonia National Park in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales.

There are many ways to explore Mt Snowdon. The easiest ways to get to the top is with the Snowdon Mountain Railway. It’s a single carriage hauled either by a diesel or steam locomotive on the narrow gauge rack and pinion railway. We did consider taking the train but the price of £25 for a return ticket changes our mind.

Armed with determination and spirit of challenge, we begin our route using the Llanberis path. The path runs parallel with the Snowdon Mountain Rail track and as I found out later, it is one of the easiest but longest paths to the summit. Its sounds quite misleading to call it a path, the initial road towards the gate are tarmac and it’s pretty steep. After which, the path are made up of rocks, sand and rock debris.

We decide to walk towards the grassland where the sheep were grazing. As we do not know where we were going, there was a feeling of adventure. As we trudge past the staring eyes of the sheep and their lambs, sounds of laughter and water came up in the distance. It was a low lying rocky stream and a family enjoying the sun on a big rock boulder. It was a pleasant and relaxing sight.

Our walk finally brought us in the view of an oncoming steam train and we were able to capture a few photo shots of the steam puffing train. The Llanberis path becomes clearer as we head uphill and much to our amazement, it have so far been easy and we congratulate ourselves on the distance and the height we have surmount.

The rest of the path was gradual, a little bit of a steep climb at times but nothing that I can’t handle. Stopping occasionally to catch my breath and the scenery makes the walk pleasant. There was no rush and we even have time to chat with fellows walkers about their adventure.

As we reach the halfway point, a quaint stone cottage appears before us. It is also a cafe, which is simply delightful. Dusk is upon us and after 3 hours of walking, we decide to head downhill as it was getting dark.
We may not have reach the summit this time but the experience of being able to climb half way up Mt Snowdon makes us determined to come back for the summit. It was an exhilarating time for me as a novice mountain climber. I would never thought that I can make it this far and the admiring look from people in the train as they pass is pretty satisfying.

I have learned that I should not allow my fears to control my life. When nothing is venture, nothing‘s gain and what I gained from this walking experience is it isn’t as bad as what I thought it would be.

Hillwalking in Snowdonia: Glyders, Carneddau and Outlying Areas (Cicerone British Mountains)
Walk Snowdonia and North Wales (Walks Guide)

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