Well, we are here at the turning of the year a day of equal length to the night….the autumnal equinox.
I squeezed in a short holiday to Wales last week. This was something in particular I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Here in Cornwall, we don’t have great mountains, but Wales… it has plenty. A beautiful and awe inspiring mountain called Cadair Idris sits within the southern end of Snowdonia. A close rival to Snowdon for height, but in my opinion far more rewarding. With the help and assistance of a local sports therapist Jody Dennett, I’ve been trying to get myself fitter and more capable for a steep ascent of approximately 895 metres (just over 2900ft).
But adventure is unpredictable, and you have to be flexible and swing with the punches, or you’ll get beaten – it’s quite simple. If you’re on an exciting adventure, you can bet you’ll get hit by the occasional punch in the face. Preparing for the unexpected was a must, and as they say forewarned is forearmed. Being caught out often makes people freeze – it’s a natural human reaction to shock. Anticipate the unexpected. When it happens you can smile gladly to yourself, and treat is as an assurance that you are doing something right on your road to the summit.
If nothing goes wrong though…..you probably haven’t been ambitious enough! But it’s when things do go wrong, life can feel like a battle. It’s during these times though that we see what sort of people we have around us. Without any struggle in life, there can be no growth.
I don’t think much could of prepared me for the climb up though, yes I trained but nothing can really prepare you for the sheer hard graft of the natural world. The initial shock of having intense leg work to climb up through an ancient oak woodland was quickly overtaken by the majesty of the views before me.
Further and further, even steeper climbs appeared. Great climbers know that great summits don’t come easy – they require huge concerted effort. But mountains reward real effort, and so does life and business. Anything worthwhile requires risk and/or effort. Let’s just say if it was easy, then everyone would succeed.
By this time some extra layers were required, as the cloud base had become close and the temperature dropped noticeably. Some incredible geology rewarded us en-route but it was the sheer hard work of yet another very steep scramble up that presented a sharp drop followed by the long walk to the summit over difficult terrain. But it’s how willing you are to go through the pain that separates the many from the few. How able are you to hold on and to keep going when it’s tough?
There was no promise of an amazing view from the top, but the achievement of it was worth every moment. In fact, the clouds did move and from time to time the entire landscape opened up with views across the land. For me, the effort and the journey to the summit was unforgettable. Thinking that the ascent would never end, only to be faced with yet more aching muscles and tiredness. But these don’t last forever, whereas the pride in achieving the summit will be with me for the rest of my days. Better rewards come with great effort so learn to embrace the hard work because without them comes no meaningful achievement.
And if ever there was a time to paddle in a lake then this was it. On the descent back, this beautiful lake about half way down provided my aching feet with what can only be described as the best foot soak of my life. My legs were pretty much done in by the final stretch down, with my knees and ankles complaining continually. I couldn’t walk properly for the next day but my reward was worth every single pain and ache.