Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Summiting again.

I had another tough day; lots of pain but I managed to drive and walk for a second day running although it was a bit gruelling.

For no obvious reason I remembered a holiday I had in North Wales when I was in my twenties. It rained on me a lot - I got wet through most days which is not unusual in Wales.

I decided to climb 'The Glyders', a couple of mountains that makes up part of a group that also includes mighty Tryfan.

I was staying in a Youth Hostel and I decided to park in a layby near the hostel I'd checked out of. After I'd climbed the mountains I was then going to come back down, pick up my car and drive around until I got to the next Youth Hostel where I'd booked a bed for that night.

I set off early in the morning, planning to conquer both the 'Glyders' and possibly Tryfan as well, if I had time.

As I was setting off I bumped into a squad of young soldiers there for a vigorous days training and I was given a lecture by their arrogant and very posh commanding officer who told me I was inadequately dressed for the mountain and should go back down.

I was not impressed and carried on.

It got misty and every so often it rained.

At the best of the times, the 'glyders' are a bit of a moonscape - there isn't such a clear summit as you get with lots of mountains, more like a plateau. As it was, I couldn't see a thing. Not the summit, not the drops down to the valleys....which was probably just as well as I'm quite scared of heights.

I remember getting to what was obviously the top of one of the 'glyders', spotted some spikey rocks which I recognised, then foolishly got out my map.

I was hit by a torrent of rain, got soaked and frozen through and then my map disintegrated into a ball of unreadable pulp.

I actually remember squeezing it into a ball, in an act of insanity.

So I made it up and 'imagined' the way back down. I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me as I descended.

I ended up at 'the bottom' but, unfortunately it wasn't the right one. I'd come down completely the wrong side of the mountain and found myself looking at the Hostel I was booked into for that night. Unfortunately my car (with all my belongings in it) was on the other side of the mountain.

And while it was only a few miles walking in a straight line, the road back to my car was a journey of about twenty miles.

While I was thinking this one over I saw the troupe of soldiers coming down the path. I didn't feel like sharing with them the mess I'd got into but in any event they probably weren't in any mood to talk things over.

One of their number had fallen down and cut his head open and was being carried on a stretcher by four of his comrades. There was a lot of blood and everyone, including the officer in charge, was looking rather crestfallen.

None of them was looking very happy, all of them were as wet and miserable as I was.

I said nothing, I did nothing but it's fair to say I may have had a bit of a superior 'look' about me.

As it was I was very lucky - I hitchhiked back to my car, given a lift by a lovely couple who took sympathy on me and went out of their way to help out. So I was able to pick up my car and drive all the way back to my hostel.

The sense of triumph was quite considerable. Almost as good as today when after a couple of hours resting I was able to go out again and do some very light pruning.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home; helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

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