Saturday 9th September 2017
Autumn 2017 seems to have arrived in Snowdonia National Park as I lead a small charity group up to the Summit of Snowdon on a rather wet and windy day. The group of 4 young people (aged 15/16 years) and accompanying 2 adults who are all part of YMCA meet me at Llanberis Youth Hostel on a very blustery Friday evening as they have travelled all the way from Cardiff. There was little time for a chat on the evening of arrival as everyone shuffles off for some well needed sleep arriving after 10pm.
I am informed that the 4 young people are excited about their summit up Snowdon the next day as they are all young carers many who are not only busy with school /college studies but balancing this with caring for family with varying different medical needs/disabilities. Their lives for sure are busy and demanding but through the YMCA is good to know they can take part in a range of other activities different to their everyday lives. The 4 young people had the idea themselves planned to challenge themselves to climb Snowdon and raise money for Children in Need at the same time after having previously climbed Pen y Fan in the Beacons the year before and wanting something more challenging.
After a hearty breakfast at the Youth Hostel we head up to Pen-y-pass in their minibus and Julie one of the staff members on minibus duties waves us all bye for the next few hours. I give them all a short briefing about the length of the day, route plans and how the walk will differ from their previous experiences. The cloud cover with drizzle is low and the wind is moderate so I make sure they all are in full waterproofs and inform them how changeable the weather will be throughout the day. We set of in high spirits with a few pictures being taken and it is not long after we ascend the PYG track we are greeted by a magnificent full rainbow.
We continue to climb the PYG track and all are coping well but very quiet and I can tell they are unsure of what lies ahead. As we cross into the next valley the mist lifts for a little but is clear summer has gone in Snowdonia and autumnal weather is arrived but is certainly a wet /changeable day. At this point I also wonder how the Snowdonia ultra-runners who were running 58 miles around the mountains the same day are getting on in these wet / blustery conditions.
The group are in group spirits as we continue with few breaks giving the windy and wet condition I keep people moving with occasional breaks for food /water. One of the group pipes up that they are enjoying the walk which was pleasing to hear given the conditions. The mountain is fairly busy for a typical Saturday summit but everyone is looking rather wet. As we approach the summit the usual question of ‘how far yet’ are raised but I push them on and we arrive at the summit in good time although the last ridge from Bwlch Glas was pretty blustery. The usual group photo is taken along with a reminder who that they are raising money for Children in Need. We have a short lunch in the warmth of the summit café before descending via the Llanberis path.
As we descend I can tell they are pleased to have made it and completed their challenge, they mention they were surprised by the rocky terrain and found some of this tricky but in general they were a determined bunch of young people on a mission. We descend fairly quick and chatter amongst the group emerges and they seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed their day out. There is also brief mention that they would like to do other mountains even Ben Nevis so despite the poor conditions their spirits hopefully I have gone someway to inspire some more young people to get out and enjoy the mountains.
A great effort and an enjoyable day out had by all, good to see lots of aims met on this summit. Well done all.
Claire Goodman-Jones (Mountain Leader)
10th September 2017