Something’s not right…

I’ll get the negative one out of the way first and look at what went wrong… there is much to say thats positive about this incredible event/experience but i’ll post that separately.

It was early on that i started getting indications that something was up. I’d teamed up with Lou at the start as we had done Joe’s nav training together recently and had a similar pace. Except that wasn’t to be the case today.

Going up one of the first major (!) climbs of Conwy mountain (not major, its a lump)  i couldnt get my breathing together. In my head, this should have been a warm up, get into a rhythm and then start to enjoy myself. But i couldn’t keep up with Lou as my legs wouldnt move. Joe Faulkner and Mark Rawlinson went past us and Lou was keen to keep up with them but i couldn’t and she slowly started to drift away from me. As did everyone else. Over time and into the clag, i settled in to being on my own.

As i climbed i still couldn’t get moving so i got my poles out and settled into walking. I couldn’t get any rhythm going uphill and kept having to pause to breathe and sort myself out. The flatter stuff was ok though and i could move marginally quicker. The higher i got, the more the wind picked up and the murkier it became. Then the hail and rain came in and i started shivering. Out with the hat, buff, waterproof trousers and merino gloves. Still cold. On with the Montane Prism mitts. Still cold. Get the food down – 9-bar, 2 babybel, 4 Shotbloks. Still cold. Try and move a bit quicker. Where’s the path gone. Check the bearing. There’s a steep drop off to the left so keep it there! Casting around for checkpoints felt like i was walking around in circles in the murk. And every now and then the sky got darker which didn’t help my mood. Then the icing on the cake – i look back at my compass and there’s a huge air bubble in it and the needle is spinning (or so i thought at the time).

I’ll leave the moaning there but all of the above added up for me and then i saw the re-supply point in the valley below me. And the climb up Tryfan on the other side. I think that’s when it was over for me (if it wasn’t before!)

I was asked a number of times what was wrong and i think i repeated the same thing over and over ‘something’s not right’. I do recall being confused a fair bit between checkpoints 6 and 9. And my recollection is hazy.

Liz has shown me my gps track which looks like i was doing pretty well on the nav. But this wasn’t the case in my head or on the ground.

I’ve learnt much from the experience. And my confidence in navigation has improved dramatically now, or it will once i get a new compass.

Next blog will be about the amazing experience that i had, as despite the above, and my disappointment, it has been an amazing few days in Wales.