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Mastering the Mountain...

So this will be the first blog I post on my website, so I decided that the content had better be pretty epic. And honestly, for me, yesterday was pretty epic.

So I'm going to share with you my experience of climbing Snowdon!! (the highest mountain in Wales). Considering that I am a proud Welsh Lady, I am ashamed to say that it took me 23 years to do!!

I completed the climb with my dad, my sister Mari and our mountain leader Mike Griffiths - a friend of my dad's who has completed all of his training to lead walks, which was a huge bonus! He was amazing, especially with my accesibility problems! I had also been training alongside this with my Personal Trainer Rob Massam who is also amazing and got me in good enough shape to nail this walk!

We had our team together and we were set to conquer Snowdon!

We stayed the night before the climb at a hostel called Plas Curig Hostel which was really nice, recently refurbished and a place I would highly reccomend if you want to walk in the Welsh hills! It meant that we could get a decent start on the mountain without getting up at silly o'clock to travel over! It also meant that a wine or two was consumed in the communal dining area, before a sensible bedtime!

The morning of the walk we fuelled up at Moel Siabod Cafe which was two minutes from the hostel. My whole life revolves around food, so this meal was great because I could eat as much as I wanted and call it 'fuel' ;)

We had chosen to walk the Llanberis path, which is the path that esentially follows the trainline up. It is also considered the easiest of the six paths (which was fine by me, seeing as it was my first time going up). The Other Paths vary in difficulty, and I'm sure I'll be exploring them all over the next few years!

So we parked up in Llanberis, and set off at about 10am, ready to face the challenge head on and full of enthusiasm.

I just want to touch on a few difficulties that I knew I'd encounter (and of course did!):

  1. Stamina - Although I have been working in the gym 3 times a week for the last 2 years, my lungs still don't like me. My lungs have 20% less capacity than a regular pair, after smoke inhalation and pulmonary embolisms. So stamina is a thing that has improved, but has, and will continue to take time! How to beat it? Slow and steady wins the race.

  2. Vision - i was diagnosed with Ischemic Optic Neuropathy which means that I am visually impaired. In short, I have no central vision,, meaning detail is very hard for me to see. This made me tripping over a big risk The Solution? Someone there to catch me!

  3. Balance - Due to my vision, and the fact that none of my toes touch the floor, my balance is shot! It makes walking in a straight line a bit of a challenge, nevermind up and down hills too! The answer? Walking Poles for extra stability.

  4. Pain - As you can probably imagine, my threshold for pain is very high. However, my feet are more susceptible to pain, especially the soles as I have no muscle or tissue to protect them. This means that every day, all the time it feels like I am walking on the rocks. So imagine actually adding rocks to that equation = A lot of pain!! The cure? Good boots & Grin and bear it!

  5. Temperature - After a burn injury, you end up being unable to regulate your body temperature. This makes physical activity difficult, as I overheated extremely quickly. It also works in reverse where I get extremely cold very quickly. The way around it? Lots of thi layers!!

So the obstacles were there, as well as a humungous mountain... But as anyone that knows me could probably tell you, they by no means stopped me. We reached the summit in 3 hours and it took 3 1/2 hours to descend (a much bigger challenge for my balance and pain).

I did moan.. Come on, I'm a girl, and I felt I was entitled to it half way up when it was hitting freezing and I couldn't feel my fingers. But my positive mindset outweighed the negative one!

Anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to.

Before I had my accident I don't think I unddrstood how true this statement was. I believe that in order to achieve things in life you don't just need to set goals, but you have to WANT to achieve the goal too. I would never, ever want to run a marathon, but find me a mountain to climb and I'm there!

I wanted to climb Snowdon, and I did.

Which mountain will be next for me to master??

Catrin x

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