Where ever I travel, the experience isn’t complete without a hike to a nearby hill. It makes me twice as happy.
During my recent visit to UK, I was glad that Chinmai and Rashmi opened up an invite to hike the highest peak in Wales. It was a long weekend in May and I wasn’t saying a NO for a million dollars.
With Rashmi around no stone is left unturned, planning for a trek. She gives everything a thought…and till now I was of the opinion that I was finicky about specifics.
The fine Friday evening we waded our way through the motorway to reach Wales late into the night. We managed to get an acco at Jesse James Bunk House. A darling of a host who manages a nice little acco for hikers.
This was my first ever hike outside the Indian soil. We were still undecided which route we would trek up Snowdonia. Rashmi and I were particular that we trekked through Crib Goch route – the difficult of the alternatives. Just looking at the blogs n pics gave us a scare. But, we were confident we could.
The hike started the wrong way. Thanks to following the crowd. We ended up walking through the miners route and realized our blunder one hour into the walk. The path was to the right of the parking lot which we conveniently missed. Ughhhhh!!
ow it was time for us to take the path less taken to join the crib goch route. It definitely involved some stunts and lost tempers. Some sweat and some panting later we managed to get onto the path. This is where we decided to split. Ashwin, Lipika and Neal decided not to take the crib goch route. The others did.
We looked up the 90 degree climb and it look insurmountable. If it wasn’t for the people far ahead, we would have let it go. Others can, so we must. Our real hike started and so did frequent breaks every few minutes. Once we start via this route, there is no looking back. Literally!!
Me being me, I moved ahead and reached the start of the sword. The next 500 metres was a walk on the swords edge with a steep fall on either sides. This is definitely not for the weak hearted. It was scary. I was scared. At the middle of the sword I saw a traffic jam. Hikers stuck. Someone wasn’t ready to proceed further. It was piling up. After some cooled nerves the hikers started walking precariously using their 4 limbs.
As the gentle breeze from the far away lands hits us, I realize I am standing on one of the most beautiful places on earth. Far away I saw smaller hills which cradled water bodies. Clouds constantly flowing by a plane a few feet above our heads. Gave a feeling of being high on life. What added to the experience were the exchange of smiles and pleasantries with passing hikers.
Far away I could see the sword’s edge leading to the peak on the left. I started walking along the ridge placing my feet at the right holds. I was getting more confident. My experiences trekking in Western Ghats n Himalayas surely helps. It started to get tad bit easier. Just then nature threw some additional challenges. Multiple vertical climbs n declines came ahead of us. I was cautious as ever. It was exhilarating. Technical climbs are done here during winters when there is plenty of snow.
The sounds of a motor engulfed the lands. A rescue helicopter approached the ridge. Was it a rescue mission in progress? Our fear was put to rest once we realized it was a general scan of the area. Managed to hear many stories of rescue missions that have happened here.
Back to walking the trail, it took more time than planned. I couldn’t see Chinmai or Rashmi in my line of sight. I proceeded through the multiple hurdles each one making sure that you gave it the complete focus and respect that it deserved. We were getting closer to the peak.
But I wasn’t too excited about heading there. This is one trek where the journey was awesome and not the destination. Just before the peak, all the various paths joined. Including the people who come to the peak through the train. The place was filled with people. I wanted to take a turn and head back the same route that I came. I craved for what that place lacked.
But in all the hustle and bustle I still noticed many a released faces. Faces that were happy for their accomplishment. An accomplishment that meant climbing the highest peak in Wales – Snowdonia.
Snowdonia made every one happy. The adventurous and the less adventurous. Snowdonia opened its arms to every one. Snowdonia – the highest peak in Wales.