A few days ago a number of the Go Ape tribe embarked on an adventure in Wales. They took on the peaks of Snowdon to raise money for our Charity of 2015, The Outward Bound Trust.
In the words of Sam Hardy, our Corporate Events Manager, find out all about the highs and lows of this amazing challenge.
“So… about a month ago, I signed up for a challenge to raise money for The Outward Bound Trust.
We had a chance to hear from the people at The Outward Bound Trust in a recent meeting, and a lot of our Go Ape tribe related to the work that they do. Most of us agreed we’d like to get involved, and, Area Manager Jo, organised 26 climbers (with 4 volunteers on the ground), to go to Wales.
It was advertised as a ‘3 peak challenge’ in Snowdonia over 3 days. It finished for me having completed 6 peaks in 2 days – and a brave few going on to do another climb!
Our charity guru Kim drove us the 5.5 hours to Wales, and we bonded well (to the car seats)!
Day 1 was Snowdon – 1085m
It was fine dry and very sunny. We chose the Pyg track (look it up for info) and took to the hillside like mountain goats. After two minutes, we were advised by our guides to go at a pace where we could walk and talk (in other words – slow down). Ten minutes later we all needed a break and decided to slow it down…
Rucksacks re-packed, sun cream on, water in hand and many scenic photos later, we reached the summit with a lot of other people who did not look half as sweaty. Turns out there is a train that takes you to the Summit!
So we had a coffee in the cafe, studied the goodies in the gift shop and started the trek down to the campsite.
No-one warned me that the descents were going to be harder than the ascents. I was looking forward to a ‘rest’ and ended up with old man knee issues.
Still, an hour and a half later we arrived at the camp site to see our amazing volunteer monkeys had prepared us a delicious sausage casserole with pasta.
Tents up, a quick debrief and it was time to hit the sleeping bags for 3-4 hours of sleep and 3-4 hours of fidgeting. Standard, apparently.
Day 2 – 07:30: 8 or 9 hours today, bring lots of water, we’re doing 5 peaks
What? Say again? 5? Murmurs of confusion, but general acceptance and an air of excitement.
For those of you that know your hilltops; We managed Elidir Fawr, Crib Goch, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan! 24k (walking) and about 2000m of ascent in total . . .
We left the first campsite at 9am and arrived at the new camp at 9pm. For those that have short memories, we were told 8-9 hours…
But it was the most amazing 12 hours – we all had personal missions, I got to find out about most others, but mine was to raise the individual £200 donation target and complete the challenge.
Day 1 did not prepare me for day 2. Snowden was hard work, but the sun was out and we were all fresh.
Day 2 was a lot cloudier, cooler, wetter and twice as long, with 5 separate summits!
We had 2 dogs with us and many experienced guides. Chief trackers were Rich Cooke, without whom, we could not have gone ahead, and Drew from our site at Dalby.
We also had Ben from GR (with Doug the dog), and Tess with 2 of her 3 sons Seb, and Simon who have been to Snowdonia many times before.
The Chief Gorilla (and his dog Rummy) was also on board to bring his usual blend of motivation and leadership.
Once I’d got over the wet feet at hour 1, and realised this was going to be tough, I became quite nervous, and quite introspective.
I had blisters forming from day 1 and the creaky knee was a concern. But morale did improve at the first summit. Then the weather turned – visibility, and temperature reduced – precipitation increased.
We came across a few lost souls, and Rich pointed them in the right direction. He also taught me a few map reading techniques, and that eased some fear of getting lost!
After the jitters on summit 2, I was thinking it couldn’t get worse, but at Summit 3, I was ready to get off the mountain. A bizarre dread of heights kicked in, a fear I wouldn’t make it. The trench foot (damp feet), plus dodgy knee and soggy gear were looking like insurmountable issues.
A quick look around, and a couple of chats revealed I wasn’t alone, but then a collective determination kicked in…
3 peaks down, 2 to go was actually half way. We were already ‘over the hill’. We were on the home straight. . .
Peak 4 was a proper rock climb, and quite soon after the 3rd so the power of positivity really kicked in. A few brave souls stood on The Cantilever (Attached Pic) and then there were people singing various hits from musicals and hits through the ages. Hakuna Matada was my personal favourite. (It means ‘no worries’)
Somehow, the steepest, rockiest, most slippery and worst downhill part of the day seemed a breeze. With fears receding, and knowledge that camp was a couple of hours away, we skipped up Tryfan and back. We then embarked on the long walk home.
It was on this walk, which was as tough as any of the descents, that the period of reflection kicked in.
I’ve done this once, but the people at The Outward Bound Trust (OBT) do this all the time, with groups of Young People less fortunate than ourselves.
I feared for my life, wished to be home, promised to be more grateful, realised what was important, and wanted to get back and put this positivity to good use.
This is why it is important to help support the OBT, to help all the participants return to civilisation with a renewed sense of purpose, and faith in fellow humans.
Ironically, if we all connected a little more with nature, animals, and each other – we may not need organisations like the OBT.
Until then, you can donate here, and help reconnect a few more young people that have had a poor start to life on Earth. . .”
Please add to our £40,000 fund raising target this year by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/GoApe2015 and help young people from all walks of life develop through outdoor activities.
For more on the amazing work they do please visit: www.outwardbound.org.uk