Oooohhhhh……. the grand ol’ Duke of York, he had ten thousand men (well, a few less).
He marched them up to the top of the hill (mountain), and marched them down again.
Yes, I climbed a mountain! My Uncle, Aunty, and cousins live in a great little village in Wales, and for some reason they choose to climb the local mountain every Boxing day… rain, hail, sleet, snow or shine, they’re up there with their flasks of sloe gin, coffee, and snacks to keep them going. They may freeze solid, but they’ll still climb up!
And yes, I joined them… what on earth was I thinking?
We left around 11am and drove to the starting point. Clear skies, cold morning, fingers crossed I’ll see snow.
Upon arrival we armed ourselves with flasks, gloves, scarves and hats. Off we went!
Very quickly our order was established, teens charging ahead wishing to be at home with their game consoles, then the men enjoying the scenery and looking forward to the pub, and finally the women at the rear happily chatting away (with me hoping and praying I wouldn’t face plant on the mountain!)
Up we trudged, taking very important pit stops to sip at our homemade (I helped!) Sloe Gin – bloody gorgeous stuff! As we climbed, the temperature rapidly dropped to “OMG I think my butt has frostbite”, the mist descended, and the rain followed (although it was a light shower). Soon it turned to sleet, and everyone in the group was getting excited as they knew I’d never seen snow fall. “Steph! I think I saw a snowflake!”
“No, don’t tease.” I say as I spin in circles looking for a snowflake.
I also noticed how the earth was scorched in parts, the explanation I was given? “That’s where the dragons fart” Or fight, I wasn’t really paying attention…
As we neared the peak of the mountain, my obvious lack of experience climbing a mountain was showing, I was well behind the group and clearly needing an oxygen tank. However the village mascot knew I was lagging behind and kept an eye on me. Scampy the dog. Absolutely the best dog you’ll ever meet! Definitely more human than dog. Anyhow, as I force one frozen foot in front of the other, he would stop and wait for me to catch up, then run off a little distance and again wait for me. My hero!
The view from the top of the mountain was absolutely glorious. We had 360 views of… well mist. And not much else. But I’d made it!! And the snow came down! I was catching snowflakes and studying them intently, it was just small snowflakes, but you could see they did actually resemble the pictures. I thought you could only see those shapes under magnification, but apparently not! And yes, I did eat the snowflakes. Very refreshing!
Now there was only one problem… We were only halfway through our walk! Still had to go down the other side. It was then I had my genius idea – A slide from the top of the mountain to the bottom! How fun would that be? And you’d launch out the bottom of the slide into a huge box of foam. Better than the likelihood of face planting, or arsing over. To my credit, I did neither! A first, let me assure you! I have been known to fall up stairs, trip over nothing, definitely require a hardhat in the kitchen, and slide down stairs, to name but a few examples of my superhuman clumsiness.
Brilliant thing is, once we had trudged off the mountain and into the local pub, they had piping hot stew ready for us, and a roaring fire with chestnuts roasting away. Brilliant! The steam that rose from our clothing soon fogged the windows, and I was requiring windscreen wipers for my glasses.
A tiring day, but a brilliant day! I’d do it again in a heartbeat!