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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mount Snowdon is conqured!

If you were wondering, yes, I have survived and conquered one of the highest mountains in Britain by climbing/walking/scrambling to the summit which is at 3,560ft (1085 metres). Due to being very busy where things were getting in the way, such as life! I have not had chance to blog about my experience of tackling Snowdon. After the 10km run this was going to be the second hardest challenge on the list of 30 things to do to celebrate being 30. I think this has now become joint first with the run! 

The Great Explorers: (from left to right) Sarah, Alan and Me

We started about a quarter of the way up Snowdon where all the walkers/ramblers started their ascend up the mountain. The weather was good through out the day and I went through two t-shirts and water proof jacket after doing the walk. 

Going up Snowdon we saw a number of men running up and down the Pyg Track, which I thought was mad considering the rough terrain around us. To me that is madness, but then looking up and you saw some people walking along the thin edge of the Mountain. I am not an adrenalin junkie but they are off their heads, maybe it was just the thought of living on the edge and quite literally!

At times the terrain was steep then it would be flat for a while and then have to scramble up some of the rocks and climb over some massive boulders. When we would stop each time we got even higher and the views got even more spectacular! By the time we got to the top it was amazing, we got up to the last quarter and it was a winding track; just like a spiral staircase and it was really tough as it was getting steeper with each step. During this time the clouds were slowly starting to lift as we were walking up we were not really able to see the top. It was perfect timing as we reached the top the clouds rolled away gently and the land started to reveal itself and then you looked out and saw in the distance the Isle of Man. Unfortunately I could not see Ireland as it was not a clear enough day across the Irish Sea.

Above: On the way up Mount Snowdon

On the Way Down

After my lunch of sandwiches and some Alan's army rations which were really nice. We started the walk down and followed the Snowdon Railway track all the way down. This was probably the most painful part of the journey as my knee was really hurting and it took four hours to walk down. I had gone to the Doctor's a couple of days before and told them about the my knee when I was running that it felt like someone was stabbing my right knee with two sharp knifes. This turned out to be I had torn my cruciate ligament and needed rest. So when I told them about I was climbing Snowdon in a couple of days they just laughed! So it was just a stupid idea to do after what I did and still not regretting the walk, but my knee is.

At one point we thought we were pretty much half way, yet around 20 minutes later we reached the Half way Cafe. Irony does not do it justice at this point and felt slightly despondent at the thought of more walking. It was good to stop there and when we entered the cafe, among the news clipping of the silly and deadly stories of what happened to people in the past there was a poster. This poster had the results of a the run up the mountain, the fastest person did it in one hour and 6 minutes (I did a 10k run in that - I was knackered but a mountain that person is off their rocker). We hit the trail again and carried on walking and eventually we lost the railway track and we ended up going through a farmers field and then onto some country lanes which led into the back of a housing estate and on to the main road. We got picked up in the middle village while having a well deserved ice cream (mine was honeycomb and vanilla which was delicious).

What a buzz getting up to the top and it was on par with the 10km Great Manchester Run I did back in May this year. With a smile as big as the Menai Strait and punching the air just like I did crossing the line at the Great Manchester 10k Run it was a great achievement and a wonderful feeling.

The Facts:

3 1/2 hour climb up to the summit
4 hour walk down
4 sandwiches (fuel)

2 bananas
2 used t-shirts (swapped over at the summit due to the amount of sweat)
1 Walking stick for the dodgy old knee
1 Rain coat
1 Digital camera (to show proof I made it up to the summit)
And not forgetting one Alan and one Sarah.

Peace, Love and Bananas xxx


Me at the top of Snowdon  


Monday, 12 July 2010

Preston Historical Tour

On a sun baked day in Preston. Me and Cheryl went along to the launch of the Industrial Revolution Exhibition and Walking tour (this is to give the official title). On the tour we got to find out about the what part Preston played in the Industrial Revolution (Cheryl's favourite part of history). This special tour included actors at strategic points to signify the landmarks that were pivotal to the history of the then Lancashire town.

The picture below takes you down a side pass next to one of the Church's along Church Street and there in waiting is a lady in a black dress with a white cardigan over here. She talked about the total abstinence (also known as teetotalism ) movement that begun in Preston.


Picture above: Walking down next to the Old Cock Yard (there use to be cock fighting back in the day)

The tour took us on to Richard Arkwright's house where a working lady of the house at the time explained to the group about the important role the inventor of the spinning jenny had on the town of Preston. We then ended up at Winckley Square a beautiful little Victorian park just off the town centre (it is also known as the business quarter) where there is a statue of Sir Robert Peel. The people of Preston felt a great gratitude to the man and the modern Police force he set up which help keep law and order in this Lancashire town.


 
Picture Above: A lady working at the Arkwright House.

It was a great tour in the end and it was good to know what happened in Preston and learn more about the the history of Preston. Another one ticked off the list and it was good learn about a place I have been living in for 6 years now and knew little about it.

Peace, Love and Banana's


The Preston gentleman guiding the group around the tour of what was Industrial Preston - next to the Sir Robert Peel statue.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Time flies...the photo album

The last ten years have been interesting and it has flown. It is so true when your parents say to appreciate the time now and not to wish your life away or wanting time to go faster, especially approaching your birthday or Christmas when you are a kid. I have found since I have hit about twenty one it has got faster and faster.

I have now completed my photograph's I have had printed over the last decade and I have put them in an album at last. That is another one to tick of the shrinking list. It was one of those jobs that you think about and never end up doing, you know a bored Sunday wet and miserable English afternoon. Well I have now done it and made a little more room on the shelf so Cheryl can carry building her own personal library. For me, personally, it was not a therapy session over a couple of days while watching the World Cup in South Africa. It brought a really sense of achievement and also bringing back memories that have been locked away in the dust bowl of mind. There were some photo's that Cheryl had never seen before such as the ones taken when I was at Farnborough College (1999-2001) and my holiday to Canada (2002) to see Ben (my best man at my wedding, a massive big thank you to him coming over from Canada - 2009). I have got now two photo albums worth of pictures from the last decade telling my story of 2000 to 2010. The University years will be a separate project me and Cheryl will probably end up taking on as there are hundreds of weird, wacky and what the hell?! photographs to put into an album.

It got me thinking about the next ten years and what will happen and who I will meet. Their will be people who will come into my life briefly for a moment who may leave a lasting imprint on me, then there will be the people who will never leave and celebrate the good times and commiserate the bad times. When I was 20 I did not even think I would be living in Preston, married (I always wanted to get married, but never put a time frame on it), gone to Glastonbury, holidayed in Mexico, run a 10km race, gone to Wembley to watch Bristol City play, worked for Bristol City as a steward and to Twickenham to watch England play Rugby. Also I never thought I would of gone to the University of Central Lancashire to do my degree and have such an amazing time meeting so many wonderful, cool, quirky, brilliant and beauitful people.

What about the hear and now, well since finishing University back in 2006 life and the world has sped up even more faster in a lot of ways. I have met a few more interesting and funny people (all in a good way) and the next chapter of my life who knows where it will take. I am currently hoping England win the next Rugby Union and Football World Cup 2011 and 2014, personally hope to be a stable job with some decent money is the short term aim. I kind of had a plan at twenty and for being thirty years old on this very old planet we live on (me being thirty is not even a mere speck compared to this planet and how old it is) I have a cunning plan, some bloke once said in an average comedy programme back in the eighties. That cunning plan is...well, ha!....it was some where...I think it was down the back of the sofa with the hidden treasure from Lord Lucan.



Peace, love and bananas xxx


P.S Ben I owe you big time bloke! As well as two trips to come over and see you.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Training for Snowdon - Pendle Hill, May Bank Holiday & Beacon Fell

After the 10km run I did in Manchester the training for walking up Mount Snowdon in North Wales was going to be a doodle compared to the months of training it took me to complete the Great Manchester Run. Proved slightly wrong about that prediction. On the last Bank Holiday of May I decided to take a trip up to Pendle Hill in the Ribble Valley of Lancashire. A beautiful wave of hills and country side on a very hot sunny day (I can not believe I said that about a Bank Holiday in England!). The walk was a gentle start through a tiny village and meandering through people's backyards to get to the actual ascent up a great big massive hill.


(Above: Going past people's backyards up to Pendle Hill)


(Above: Pendle Hill approaching with Joe leading the way.)

When we got through to the start of the steps which were back of a farmer's field I looked up to find what looked like not a very steep steps. The steps up to the summit proved to be like the steps from Cirith Ungol from Lord of the Rings. They were so steep that I had to stop several times to catch some air in my lungs and start again. With Joe being an amateur rambler, he seemed to shoot up the hill like a Roberto Carlos free kick. Once we got up to the summit it was a great site to see how far we came up and also the distance we could see across the land. I imagine the Pendle Hill Witches on Halloween having a lot of fun up here and scarring the locals half to death.

(The worst stairs I have ever walked up - so long, winding and twisting with the summit seeming never yet near enough but so far away)

From the summit we walked along the top for a little while and the ground seemed to look a lot like what Mars seems to be from the pictures you see from the satellites NASA send over that way. In the end we kind of went down and around Pendle Hill and ended up following a stream that turned into a dried up river via a big reservoir with a cool looking tower in the middle of it. Also the natives (the sheep and rams) seemed to be quite disinterested in the people walking down if not a little nosily in protest from spoiling their Bank Holiday.Overall a real good introduction into what to expect at Snowdon and a good day out.

(The Lancashire version of Mars)


(Me at the summit of Pendle Hill - soon to conquer a small mound of rock called Mount Snowdon)

Beacon Fell was a good stomp around the Preston countryside with my brother-in-law Alan the other week, as this was the final walk before tackling Mount Snowdon. It was a good training walk and despite getting lost a few times or was it more taking accidental short cuts, definitely the latter. It was a fairly easy walk compared to Pendle Hill with it mostly being flat until right at the end. A sudden sharp incline came into play coming into the forest with a scary looking forest entrance it was (see below). It felt like you could be swooped away by an evil flying monkey from the Wizard of Oz or being chased by the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. It was good to reach the summit and to see the pillar on top saying how far places were depending where we were standing.


A warm greeting from one of the rejected Easter Island heads. A strange sight to see when you are about to go off a walk around the stunning and beauitful country side of Preston. Maybe this is just ward off any of the local natives.


More blog entries still to come as I have been on a Historical walk around Preston and the second biggest challenge on the list - Walking up and back down Mount Snowdon.

Peace, Love and Banana's X