It has been a long long time since I have pushed my body way past it's comfort zone. I walk a great deal and like to ride my mountain bike a bit and these things are all good and well for raising the heart rate a touch but I only just get to break a sweat.
With the last quarter now ahead of us I will readily admit that my knees were screaming at me in a way that I have never felt them like before. The back of my thighs were threatening to cramp up and I was just generally shattered. The grimy sweat was drying in just about every crevice and my feet were aching in a bone deep sort of way.
Still there was no other choice but to keep putting one foot on front of the other pushing onwards back down to sea level. Wifey was walking a fair bit slower than me which gave me a few cheeky opportunities to rest up a little waiting for her to catch up. No I didn't go too far ahead I just seemed to be making a little quicker progress down a few of the larger steps when we came across them than she did.
As we passed around each now familiar bend the realisation that the end was getting closer spurred our weary legs on another few steps. I would like to say that at this point the job got a little easier but it didn't!
Soon enough though we were back at the gate that had marked the start of our true climb up the mountainside and there was a bit of a memory that the walk up the tarmac road was a bit of a pig but hell that was on the way up and now we were nearly at the finish line.
That tarmac road was steep indeed, in fact we ended up walking backwards down large parts of it much to the delight of a young family that were heading back as well who were happily doing the same. The sound of those young children's laughter brought grins to our faces because if they could still be giggling after going up and down that bloody big hill, well, so could we!
Now we could see the train station from which we had started out from in the morning and even joked at least we had done it properly and not cheated by hopping on a train to come back down again. With the finally level ground under foot we seemed to be literally skipping along back to the car where the pleasure of taking off that back pack letting the fresh air start to dry out my now sweaty back was one of the most simplistically enjoyable things I have ever felt.
Apart from the shower when we got to the bed and breakfast. That was just divine! Feeling the days grime just washing away down the plughole did not take away the aches of the but I would not of wanted it to. They were like badges of honour that proved I had done what I had set out to do.
As we sat down to a very pleasant evening meal we realised very happily that we had achieved a big tick off of our bucket list.
We had climbed a mountain...us, we could barely believe it!
You may when you were reading all of this think that is was a bit on the moaning side of things. That was not my intention. What I did want to do was portray it as it was and that is one of the most physically demanding things I have ever done. I don't think I have pushed myself that hard in a great many years and no doubt I would of skipped up Snowdon in my twenties or thirties but now these sorts of challenges are, well they are more challenging.
I tell you what though I am more up for them now than I have ever been before and I swore I would never climb another mountain again when we had finished Snowdon, right up until my Dad asked me if I would climb Scafell Pike with him...