Updated: Jan 26
The year is 1998, I’m 21 years of age. I’d recently met my then boyfriend (David) who was mad about the mountains, most of his childhood spent in Snowdonia and the Lake District. Oh, and climbing in Chamonix with his best mate. Me, I'm a newly-qualified nurse, living the magic of a new relationship. Incidentally, I am a ‘townie’, my biggest expeditions to date involved walking around the shopping precincts of Chester and Liverpool. As a consequence, I had developed a ‘contented’ figure, a result of eating out and shift work.
Since meeting David, on my weekends off, we'd drive to Snowdonia, his aim, I think, was to broaden my horizons and engender me with his passion for the outdoors. We would drive to various viewpoints where he would point and put a name to each mountain. I acknowledged him politely (it was still early days!), trying to conceal the yawns. Did he want this relationship to last? The day it all changed was when he suggested we have an early start, drive to Snowdonia and "go for a walk". Ok, great idea, it was a lovely August day and I'd just joined a well-known slimming group! We arrived a couple of hours later, parking at the foot of a looming Tryfan.
You have probably grasped by now that I was not an outdoorsy person. Rather inappropriately, I wore a t-shirt, white jeans and trainers, carrying a rucksack from my school days containing a litre bottle of Tizer (yes, slightly impractical!) and various snacks (sun tan cream not included). And so it began...the scramble up the north ridge. I had never felt so exhilarated. Several picnics (I was determined to drink the Tizer) and hours later, we reached Adam and Eve. The sense of achievement and the exhilaration I felt will live with me forever. The evening was spent in the pub, reliving the highlights, thoughts and feelings whilst the next day, even my involuntary muscles ached!
Twenty odd (really???) years later, here I am, fitter and more confident than ever. I climbed all 214 Wainwrights within a year and am now a Mountain Leader (Summer), some achievement for a townie! Whilst David and I parted long ago (sadly, he is no longer with us), I will be forever grateful to him for opening up the outdoors to me. I have been up Tryfan many times since and always think of this first ascent.
I think it's fair to say that a mountain certainly changed my life! Could the outdoors change yours? Have a look at what SUP & Summit have to offer by visiting www.supandsummit.com
Photo: Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen in the near distance - taken from Pen yr Ole Wen