I’ve done some daft things in my life but this photo I took reminds me of what might have been the daftest and somewhat dangerous.
It is of Cader Idris in Snowdonia. I wanted to go to the top but never seemed to be with anyone that would go, and once tried but got the wrong place to start and ended up losing my specs and eventually gave up. So while staying alone in Wales I drove to the right base then set off up.
I know now there is an ‘easy’ route and a ‘harder’ route. Useful if you know about those but I didn’t so just took off. Turns out I didn’t take either of those routes and managed to find an almost impossible one but I was too far up the almost impossible before I got to a point of sitting down and crying. I was scared, going down can be a lot tougher than going up, and going up was getting more than difficult. I was in agony from a spinal problem and sitting on a tiny rock knowing that whatever I did, up or down, was beyond me.
I thought of the shame of being so stupid but even so I considered calling for mountain rescue help if my phone would work (old fashioned phone and also no guarantee of signal), I thought of the waste of resources for the rescue team, so I just sat there, exhausted. Then the little voice inside started to berate me telling me ‘you started so you finish blah blah blah’. I took painkillers with a drop of water and after a while I started up again.
Where I emerged through a crevice, two guys were on the path from the ‘easy’ path. They looked at me, then at each other then back at me and one said ‘F*****g hell you didn’t just come up that way??’ I said ‘yep I did’. Their reply ‘You must be mad!’ Yep, again.I didn’t let on what an ordeal it had been. I didn’t let on how relieved I was, or more to the point the sense of achievement I felt. Not in having actually done it, and alone, but in having overcome my fear and difficulties.
I went down the ‘easy’ way which as it happens should be easier now than then because the National Parks people were making the paths better, but in the process helicopters had dropped rocks at strategic points that blocked the path and left people to scramble over them!
I didn’t pass anyone on the way down and also ran out of water and was pretty thirsty by the time I got near the bottom. Then on the flat, managed to slip and fall on my rear end on some loose gravel and that brought me down to earth in a very physical way.
I know I shouldn’t have gone up alone, I know I should have checked the route blabby, blabby blah, but I didn’t and hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I know I will never go to the top of Cader Idris again (unless a helicopter takes me there, now that would be nice!).
However after the years of caring for my husband, Alberto, and now his death I have another mountain to climb so I’m reminding myself of Cader Idris.