Snowdon Madness – Dave Wood

I’ve just got back from a great walk up Mount Snowdon, alongside 12 friends and the fantastic staff of Activate. Activate provides holistic, person-centred approaches, to improving physical and mental well-being to communities by making outdoor activities accessible for people of all ages. For people at TBRP, taking a holistic approach to our recovery is the foundation of how we get well and stay well, so from the outset, we were on the same page.

At first, when I was asked to do the walk, the usual questions came to the fore – What will I need to wear, can I do it in jeans, etc. Yet the next day, Activate sent us all an itinerary and inventory of what we would need and what we would be doing, so all the boxes were getting ticked. These people know their stuff and what is best for what terrain to keep you safe, warm and dry.

When the day came, we met at the YHA at Pen-y-pass. Activate gave us time to eat and rest up for a while before giving us a safety talk on our walk/climb, and which routes we would be taking up to and down from the peak.

The scenery was fantastic, from beginning to end – almost beyond words. Everyone was in good spirits, especially as we were blessed with the sun shining throughout the day, the sky was blue, and all of us were feeling the camaraderie. Secretly I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it up to the peak, as previously I had only done a couple of walks in the country and a couple of hills (Pendle and Whernside), nothing on the scale of this challenge. With the help of Activate, we all kept a good, connected pace, which helped me to manage my climb, and we stopped off regularly to keep the group together and have rest stops. As it was a hot day, we needed to keep up the snacks and fluid intake.

Many photos were also taken along the way, to show off the beautiful surroundings, and also the fun that all the guys were having. The pictures, especially on top of Snowdon, as the sun set were absolutely breath-taking. The Activate staff kept the stragglers of our group as near to the front runners by means of spacing themselves out amongst us – one in the lead, one in the middle, and two at the rear. Many people found the going tough in places – physically and mentally, some on the way up, some affected by heights, and some who struggled on the way back down, especially affecting folks’ knees and legs. Each time people ran out of steam, the Activate crew were there to encourage, along with the friends at TBRP who support each other, like a family.

This is my second activity with Activate, and I would recommend their service to anyone who wants to challenge themselves in outdoor pursuits. The guys are supportive, patient and experienced in their field. All of us reached the summit of Snowdon, happy and safe.

The trip was specifically to see the sun setting over Snowdonia, and then walk in the dark back to the hostel. We arrived at the top at c. 7.50pm, hot drinks, food and a few selfies and lots of smiles, then it was time for the descent in the dark. Head torches on, and off we went. Again, well supported by Activate, we descended back down the PYG route and along the miner’s trail and arrived back at the hostel by 10.45pm.

Left to our own devices, some folk would not have managed this activity, and whilst we were tired, we were also proud of what we had achieved. Thanks to good friends, the professionalism of Activate and I’m now just thinking about the next challenge – Ben Nevis – bring it on.