Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Climbing Mount Snowdon

At the weekend my family and I climbed up and down Snowdon in North Wales. Some of us were more enthusiastic (and better prepared) than others! None the less, 7 of us set off together glad that it wasn't raining. We didn't always stay together as each had a different walking speed but we did keep meeting together and were glad there is a cafe halfway up as well as at the top. The train was always a fallback option in the back of my mind although it did feel like a bit of a cheat!
We took one of the more gentle routes up the mountain (Llanberis path) and came down a more exciting and steep way initially but with a long, flatter exit (Miners' path).
Here are my reflections on both the ascent and the descent, and some photos to accompany the words.

Ascent to the summit of Snowdon

The others have gone ahead
as I cannot match their pace.
So it is just me,
me and a stick
me and my breath and
the breath of life
gusting strongly around me,
purely elemental.

Just before the top it is steepest,
hardest and
those coming down share
encouraging words to keep going.

As I round the ridge
I am amidst a pilgrimage
long lines of bodies going up and down
to record their achievement of the summit,
long lines of ants
following a sugar trail.
We are part of a pilgrimage
celebrating the beauty and wildness
of nature
celebrating human resilience and endeavour
to keep going despite protesting muscles.

The reward is a biting, buffeting wind
trying to remove us from the summit and
the safety and warmth of the café
where, at last, we can rest and eat and
each mark our own personal achievements
before the descent.
© 17 May 15

Descending from the summit

Our way down is rocky
uneven and hard to find.
we are grateful to be
going down instead of up.
The descent is sharply steep
but its reward is a
beautiful clear green lake
nestling among a collection of mountains.

We can rest here and drink in
its serenity amidst
bare rock, slate and grass
organic monuments to centuries of
slow growth and climate change and
human feats of rearranging boulders
rocks and gravel to forge paths.

Wind and sunlight play with the
surface of the water
creating dancing diamonds,
jewels that sparkle and move
in an ever-changing interplay
of water, air and light.
A magical interplay that cares not
whether we are there to
receive, to record it or not.

The green lake will still be
creating unending patterns of
shifting beauty tomorrow
as we journey home
and tomorrow
and tomorrow
and maybe still when there are
no more human eyes to drink in the
magical interplay of
water, air and light.
© 17 May 15

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