A day off in Snowdonia…

This weekend I experienced something rather unusual in our field – a day off!
A couple of friends and I made our way over to the far western end of the Glyderau ridge, on the very edge of the national park. This is an area that sees little foot traffic, particularly ‘out of season’, but offers the best views of the rest of Northern Snowdonia – particularly Snowdon and Tryfan.

I feel rather privileged to live in this corner of the world, with 1000m mountains, dense and ancient forests, rugged coastlines and remote moorland all within an hour’s drive from home – the only problem is deciding where to go on that rare day off. For me, a day spent wandering in the hills or forests with friends or solo is a different experience to working with a group in the same environment. When I am teaching or leading in the outdoors there is always a percentage of my brain given over to the rest of the group – is that person struggling slightly at this pace, should I find another way to explain the idea we’ve just spoken about?
I have the best job in the world, but I still get a lot of pleasure from being able to switch off a bit and just enjoy the landscape.

When I take somebody out in the mountains or the forest for the first time I am sometimes slightly anxious – have I chosen the best route/area/trip to introduce them to something so special, so important? I feel a lot of responsibility in that respect. I remember the first time I was introduced to sleeping in the forest, or to a canoe, or to the exacting solitude of leading a climb on the side of a mountain. I am grateful to every single person who has led me into places and environments that have led me to the career and lifestyle I now lead – and I feel honoured to give that opportunity to others.

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