Day 1 – July 22, 2022
Hi guys…well as per tradition here we go with the first daily update from the POF22 adventure on it’s first day. The day started very early with the need to be at Reading station by 5:50am latest to catch a train to Chester passing through Wolverhampton and Crewe. I needed to be at Chester no later than10:30am.
As you can see it was really important to miss the crowds….and I did! The journey to Chester was actually truly uneventful and I arrived in good time just before 10am. First job done!
We met just outside the station entrance and before long a few new friends started to announce themselves as joining the same trip as myself. Names to follow as the weekend unfolds. We jumped into a minibus at around 11:30am for the journey to our first destination…Ben Nevis. We were driven by our dedicated driver Lewis and led by our fabulous guide Paul. Excluding those two, there were 14 other team members.
I don’t know why…but we all knew we were going to Scotland! The journey to Fort William took approximately 9 hours after stops were factored in for convenience and dinner at TJ’s restaurant just one hour or so before we got to our overnight accommodation.
Our digs were a really clean and well looked after hostel at the foot of Ben Nevis and we soon settled in to unpack, re-pack and get ready for an early wake up on Saturday at 5am.
You may notice from the next snap that all of my roommates are much younger than me…actually everyone on the trip was much younger than me! And so immediately I assumed my new name in the team of ‘Pops’! 😊
And so the next day, after to be honest, not the best night’s sleep, we were up and ready for the mountain.
I noticed very early on that I could climb along at my own pace and feel confident that I could get to the summit. However, this is when the reality hits you that actually you are in a team event. In order to keep the schedule to get to the other two mountains, namely Scafell Pike and Snowdon, you have to ascend Ben Nevis in about 3 hours. Alas, it was faster than I could maintain. I was a good 90 minutes behind the leading group. So I agreed with Paul, our head guide that I should make a reasonable attempt as best I could in the time, and then return down the mountain. I didn’t want to be an issue timewise for the team.
I got to 900 metres altitude and then turned to descend. Below are a couple of snaps at halfway and then at my turning point at 900 metres.
We all packed our gear once again into the van and trailer and took off for Scafell Pike arriving at around 7pm on Saturday evening. As much sleep as possible was taken in the van and we were also able to enjoy an excellent Harry Ramsden fish and chips in Gretna Green! The weather on our arrival was just awful. Overcast, driving rain and gusts of wind. I am in awe of the team members who took this in their stride and just strapped on their gear, grabbed their head torches and headed up the mountain with our local guide. Super impressive! I chose to climb around 280 metres to be able to say that I had been on the mountain, even if not to the summit. The next couple of snaps are on Scafell.
We departed Scafell at around 11pm on Saturday night for the 5-6 hour drive to Llanberis and the foot of Mount Snowdon. I am very happy to report that I did make it to the summit of Snowdon at 1,085 metres and was delighted to do so given it’s my ‘home’ mountain! Finally, I should say some words about my teammates of the weekend. They are an amazing bunch of people and not only because they put up with an array of Dad Jokes! They were fun to be with, great mountain athletes and carried a spirit with them that reflected the fact that all of them, without exception, were doing this challenge and other activities to contribute to a cause that they truly believe in and support. Hats off to you all. Helena, Rav, Hinesh, Ajay, Michael, Andrew, Matt, Emma, Elsa, Mel, Shane, Gavin, Jason…you are all amazing people! Thank you so much for being my companions this weekend. Paul, you have been an excellent guide and companion, clear in your guidance and great at listening and watching when someone may need help. Thank you. The team photo in Llanberis is below.
To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.
Dale & Alan.