back to archiveA lack of focus
"I was talking to a guy in a local pub, who happened to be a fireman and he mentioned that a team of his colleagues were doing a sponsored walk over the 15 peaks in 24 hours. It seemed an impossible challenge to me but I like impossible challenges and googled it with the intention of having a shot at it in the near future. Not being a walker or rambler I considered paying for a guide to show me the way round and possibly go with a group. I emailed a few inquiries out and got feedback that a local mountaineering club the cmc based in Snowdonia were doing it, so without further to do I joined the club and was looking forward to the challenge. I got in some serious training and met up with the cmc where we walked all 3 sections of the route over some bank holidays to reassure everyone the gravity of the challenge and whether we would be up for doing the whole route in one day.
Challenge day. We hiked up to the summit of Snowdon on the Friday night and bivvied alongside the derelict café which was slooowwwwly being renovated and suffered a cold and windy night. Our leader “Frenchy ” woke us at 3am to say were going in 15 mins ,so all 16 of our group were up sharpish and had the traditional pre walk photo standing in front of the summit boulders. everyone was up for it and off we trecked.the first peak was conquered pretty quick and everyone carried on along the perilous slippery ridge which was crib coch,no slip-ups and soon we were all going down the steep north ridge and arrived at our first base camp at nant Perris. The group were starting to split now into fast medium and slow walkers. I was in the latter and Colin Donnelly has no worries on this day ! his record was safe. after 30 minutes or so we split into small teams and I was walking at a steady pace along si de my 3 colleagues frenchy ,john and the beautiful Debbie! ,Elidr Fawr was the 4th peak , a long never ending slog which seemed to take for ever ,that was bagged and pretty soon Y Garn followed and then onward to the dreaded scree slope of glider fach.Half way up the slope I was saying to myself “ what the hell am I doing here”. I'm not enjoying this and my knees were beginning to ache badly and I was at the point of saying enough is enough and bailing out down to the tea shop at Ogwen, but my pride kicked in and thought carry on and try and make it to Tryfan at least. Tryfan was at last conquered but the walk down to camp to Ogwen was a nightmare and my knees were in agony and for me this would probably be the last peak.
Camp 2 Ogwen…The sun came out and it was a boiling hot day and strangely enough my knee pain had subsided to a degree and thought maybe I could do this after all, and was thinking if I can climb Pen yr Ole Wen it was all flat from then on wasn’t it …sure it was!. Our support team Ron, Chris and Sarah were there with our change of clothes and food etc .unfortunately for me all my gear which I had packed for the final leg had been forgotten. It was not in the support vehicle. This included food, spare socks ,clean dry clothing and most importantly my waterproofs which I had took out of my rucksack to walk across the Glyders as the weather was fantastic and would probably not need them till the final leg thus saving weight.
My fellow walker Debs shared her food with me and I made the decision that I would not need my wet weather gear and would be ok and pretty soon we were on our way up Pen y Ole in a respectable hour and 20 minutes. We carried on trekking ticking off Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewellyn. It was at that point the weather turned dramatically and we were experiencing gusts of 50 mph and the rain was coming at us sideways. My fellow walkers quickly changed into their foul weather gear. I was dressed in shorts and a base layer . I went into my rucksack and realised that not only did I have no coat but very little else apart from a mid layer and quickly put that on and carried on for a bit . Not long after and with the weather worsening and still the walk to yr ellen to conquer I needed to address the situation and make a decision on carrying on or going back to Ogwen.The 4 of us had an impromptu boulder meeting and I checked my bag to see if there was anything in there to utilise to keep me a little warmer as I was getting seriously cold and wet and a bad situation was imminent .I pulled out my orange survival bag which I always carry and fashioned what I can only describe as a versacchi styled designer frock. I cut out a hole for my neck and 2 holes for my arms and put my new dress on much to the amusement of my fellow walkers (picture supplied)..top tip here although I was soaked not only with the rain and sweat that was inside my unbreathable bag the water was actually working like a diver's wet suit and was actually keeping my body temperature very warm and cosy, So don’t forget folks pack your survival bag!. The last few peaks were ticked off and it was a proud moment when we all reached the pillar at Foel Fras in a respectable 20 and a half hours peak to peak.
The walk down to the car in Aber took a long 2 hours and then the drive back to our lodgings at Plas y Brenin was tiring but the beer sure tasted good. Would I do it again? Probably not - but who knows?"