From being lost in the clouds to my first ultramarathon – the Welsh 3,000s and the V3K

It’s been about a year since my last post on here. Since then I’ve ridden 1,500 miles from Nottingham to Norway; ran a few ultramarathons; hiked in the Italian and French Alps; learned how to rock climb and been on a climbing trip to Mallorca; ridden to Brugges and back on a fixed gear bike (again); been to a golf dinner with my grandmother; slept out on Hadrian’s Wall and all sorts of things that I’m dying to share with you.

As much as I can’t wait to write about getting so hungry in Sweden that I squeezed a three day old tube of the saltiest fish paste imaginable straight into my mouth, there is something about my Welsh trips that embodies what I’m trying to achieve with the whole thingswhatihavedone thing. All the other places I’ve been to, even the most spectacular, have had only a fleeting hold on me, but Wales has me by the balls.

This post is the introduction to a collection of five shorter posts about my relationship with a particular feature of Wales. There is a list of mountains in Snowdonia, all of which are 3,000 feet above sea level. The number of mountains in this list is the golden part – there are 15. Enough for a challenge, but few enough to really get to know them as individuals. They are known collectively as the Welsh 3,000’s and I have a feeling that the majority of people reading this entry will have already ticked at least one off the list – Snowdon itself.

The articles are a a mixture of nostalgia, advice, kit lists and just general self indulgent tripe spanning over eleven years. Read from the beginning or just pick the part that could help you on your next adventure.

Part 1 – Snowdon 2005: The first mountain.
Part 2 – Welsh 3,000’s Aug 2011: The first time being lost and scared. 
Part 3 – Snowdonia in Winter Feb 2014: The first time I’d ever seen an ice axe.
Part 4 – Welsh 3,000’s: The first time it feels like I know what I’m doing.
Part 5 – V3k: The first ultramarathon

You can go alone but its a good idea to have someone with you to open the gates. Then, when they are about to get in, you can do that thing where you pretend to drive off.

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Part 2 – Welsh 3000’s in Two Days

It’s 2011. I’d completed a few of the classics by now, National 3 peaks, Yorkshire 3 peaks etc and so started to look for the next challenge. I wondered what other attention grabbing ticklists there were to complete in Wales.  After all, my very first mountain was in Snowdon and my curiosity about those other outlying summits had been growing ever since.

A quick google search revealed that those neglected peaks did indeed have names and not only was it was possible to climb to to the top of them but the highest 15 mountains in Wales were all in the same corner of Snowdonia, and that it was possible to visit all of them in just two days (it is actually possible to do them all in one go but more on that later). The Welsh 3,000’s (three thousand feet above sea level) sounded intimidating but just the sort of Continue reading “Part 2 – Welsh 3000’s in Two Days”

The ultimate motivation for a day in the White Peak- a new coat!

I never need much of an excuse to go away and get muddy for a couple of days. My delightful girlfriend can however be a little more reluctant, especially when the weather forecast makes out like the apocalypse is just about to strike during the only two free days we have. She’d been banging on about wanting a new coat for ages and with Christmas coming up I thought some technical outdoor clothing would be the perfect present. I thought there could be two great outcomes from me buying her such a gift. Firstly she would be tricked into believing that I was the normal type of boyfriend who bought thoughtful Christmas presents and secondly I would probably get to go on a two day backpacking trip even though it was my designated don’t-go-away-on-one-of-your-adventures-because-you-need-to-spend-more-time-with-me time. It was worth a try! Continue reading “The ultimate motivation for a day in the White Peak- a new coat!”

Head to the Peak District for a Friday Night Bivvy on Beeley Moor

Walking from my classroom towards the school gates on a warm Friday in July I found myself looking through my phone book for lads who might be free for a night out. Two positive responses and a short commute and I was in my garage stuffing my bivvy bag, sleeping bag, head torch and now battered map of the White Peak into a small backpack. I raided the kitchen and found Continue reading “Head to the Peak District for a Friday Night Bivvy on Beeley Moor”