The guy in the car park looked at us like we were mad and to be fair to him there was a little bit of crazy that had brought us to this point. The clocks had changed over the previous weekend so wanting to make the most of the now limited daylight hours we had arrived at an empty Pen y pass car park at first light on a chill but sunny late October morning. Up the PYG and down the Miners, a well trod route offering enough interest without being too taxing. Probably four hours up and three down all being well. Just as I tightened my backpack straps and prepared to set off I was reminded of the “crazy” element of our little band of summit seekers.
“Dad, Mum said can you do my laces?”
Was it crazy to bring the kids along? Part of me was sure it was but we were ready with extra snacks, plenty of additional breaks factored in and naturally a preparedness to do some carrying. We were also, and this was important to us, happy to bail at any stage if it got too much for them, after all it was supposed to be fun, so a day IN the mountains was favorable to half an hour on top of one.
I checked my watch as we set off and it was 7.45 am. We chatted to countless people passing us as they charged by and again a couple of hours later on their way down while we were still stubbornly heading upwards. The kids were in great spirits and they pretty much ran and skipped up although our youngest, Isaac who had just turned 4 in September was determined to find the hardest route to the top. If the track went around a rock he had to scramble over it. Evan (8) plodded on in his own little world with a quiet determination and Lil (6) chatted all the way. With plenty of stops we reached the rather busy summit by just after 2 pm.
We headed back down after another snack break, and had a little paddle in the lake alongside the Miners Track. No one complained about sore feet or legs but I’m surprised the children’s hands weren’t sore from all the high fives and fist bumps they received from fellow hikers. Even when the rain set in about 4.30 there were no complaints. We got back to the car park about 5.45 pm, a full ten hours on the hill, in the dark and with only our car left parked up. Within 5 minutes, two out of three were asleep in the back while we made our way back to our lodge.
I think back on that day now, more than a year and several other hill days and summits later, to the guy who thought we were mad to take three young kids up Snowdon and to how proud I was with their efforts, I mean WE DID IT, no one cried, no one complained, no one carried anyone else and EVERYONE wanted to do it again the next day.