Stepping off the Llanberis path 12 months ago we knew the day had been a success, despite the weather throwing everything at us everyone was still in great spirits and It had been a great day. Fast forward to January and we’re back in planning for the 2018 challenge, this time there would be 160 of us.
Over the last year we had been so swept away by Mark and Jo’s passion and commitment and the wonderful work that the foundation undertakes, it was never in doubt that we would support the foundation on this event again.
Snowdon is a big old beast and many of the participants are tackling it for the first time and the task of getting up and over it shouldn’t be underestimated - it’s a fantastic achievement for anyone; you won’t find a bigger mountain in England and Wales.
From a planning perspective, we don’t pay much attention to weather reports until about 72 hours before an event as the conditions tend to shift and change too much, but watching the forecasts unfold, things just got better and better, and the morning didn’t disappoint.
We’d managed to talk Lee down from giving the opening battle speech from Gladiator so he restricted himself to a warm welcome, an introduction to the team, an outline of the route and some management details. We were off. Following up from the rear I’m sure I saw the mountain itself shake under the 320 boots that hit the miners track.
We started below the cloud and it was initially cold enough for coats but as we gained height the clouds parted and lifted, and the promised sunshine joined us for the trip up.
Every mountain is hard won, and the hike up was like every other; a battle against the height, gravity, heat and for some of us, age, all the way to the top. But up we went. We’ve taken countless people and groups onto the hill over the years but there’s one thing that really stands out when we’re with the Owen McVeigh Foundation, The people. People who were 3 hours ago complete strangers now willing each other on, sharing paracetamol and humour while helping to improve the lives of those most in need. Does it get any better? I was proud just to be watching.
Once at the summit we were treated to a stunning cloud inversion, the view above the clouds is spectacular, peaks of other mountains poking their heads above a sea of cloud like islands in the sky.
Just getting to the top is a spectacular personal achievement but to us it’s not just the summitting that counts, it’s the fact that every one of the walkers wanted to be there and gave it their all for such a great cause. It’s genuinely a privilege to walk with someone who is trying harder than they have ever done before and is completely out of their comfort zone but at the same time is absolutely determined to see it through. This is what it’s about for us – it’s all about the Experience.
We met so many inspirational people and really enjoyed the company of everyone we had the pleasure to share the mountain with. There’s no doubt that the money pledged, when collected, will make a major contribution to the fantastic work of the Foundation over the next 12 months. We won’t spend a day better this year.
As the team joined back together back in Llanberis, I turned to the others and repeated what I’ve said many a time before, “You meet the best people on the side of the hill”.
Well done all.