Non-Musical Scales

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Date: 27 Sep 2017

Earlier this month, two of my good friends and musical collaborators decided to join me to climb Snowdon in an act of strict non-musicality. James, Rob and I booked a camping pod at the Llanberis YHA for two nights, sandwiching an attempted climb on Sunday 10 September.

We decided to get a taxi to Llan Cwellyn and ascend via the Snowdon Ranger Path, which would allow a descent on the Llanberis Path back to the hostel.

As we climbed the first few hundred metres, the foreboding low clouds began to emit a steady drizzle. This was fine - we had waterproofs, walking boots and trekking poles, and were fully prepared for rain.

What we were not fully prepared for (and I'm not sure anyone could have been) were the gale-force winds and incessant sideways rain that greeted us half-way up. Rob said they were 'relentless', which was almost accurate save for the fact that when you thought the weather was at its worst, it worsened further.

Soon, we had bootfuls of water, sore exposed skin and frozen fingers as we fought our way up the mountain with visibility down to 50 metres, pathways transformed into streams and enjoyment levels dispersed.

We finally managed to get to the top and spent a hairy minute at the summit, trying ever-so-hard not to be blown off its sheer eastern flank. Unfortunately, the centre at the top was closed and the Snowdon Railway was not running (which ruined an embryonic plan to take the 'easy' way down).

We took a few hours to descend, fighting further against the high winds and heavier rain, and trying not to slip on the waterfalls that now covered the main path down. The weather improved slightly as we neared the mountain's base and we were greeted with the rather annoying sight of the mountain train starting its first journey upwards.

All-in-all, a rather enervating social event that lost all enjoyment about one hour in. Perhaps we should have booked that camping pod and brought out musical instruments after all, forgetting any concept of conquering Snowdon.

If anything, I think it conquered us.


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