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January 28, 2005

Hill and Mountain Walking–in search of the SUBLIME

Writing about web page http://www.warwickmountains.co.uk


To avoid confusing people from back home, I thought I'd briefly comment on the pics I put on "Galleries: Warwick – Hill and Mountain Walking".
No- I hadn't done any mountain walking or scrambling before I came here-just never occurred to me.
Yes- in a desperate attempt to get involved in the uni's social life I joined the Warwick University Hill and Mountain Walking Society (see webpage above- hint, hint!), amongst others. Probably the best decision so far! I have been to two trips to Wales and had a really really good time! Check out the pics and you'll know what I mean: beautiful scenery, fresh air, some exercise and lovely people! Not to mention the romantic and "spiritual" side to it ;-) -see poem below.
On the week 3 trip to Llanberis (pronounced "Kchlanberis") some time in October I went up Yr Wyddfa, better know as Mt.Snowdon, on the first day. On the way up, I was seriously contemplating spending the rest of my life in the Netherlands, but once I had arrived at the top (completely exhausted but happy) this plan somewhat dissolved and I started to truly appreciate the beauty of the place.
I know what you will be thinking now. It's probably something along the lines of "come one, what's the issue, Snowdon ist more of a hill than a mountain", and in fact, you're right, it is tiny by world standards and is of course particularly so for us continental Europeans. But Snowdon with a height of 3560 ft (should roughly equal 1100 m) is the highest peak in the British Isles outside Scotland. Consider that we climbed the peak starting from about sea level, and also consider my lack of exercise…I am sure you can picture the situation…
Anyway, I did enjoy the walk very much indeed and felt I had undergone a truly Wordsworthian experience. Check out the old boy, constantly looking out for the Sublime and beautiful:

William Wordsworth: The Climbing of Snowdon (1804)

In one of these excursion, travelling then,
Through Wales on foot and with a youthful friend,
I left Bethgelert's huts at couching-time
And westwards took my way to see the sun
Rise from the top of Snowdon. Having reached
The cottage at the mountain's foot, we there
Roused up the shepherd who by ancient right
Of Office is the stranger's usual guide,
And after short refreshment sallied forth.

It was a summer's night, a close warm night,
Wan, dull and glaring, with a dripping mist
Low-hung and thick that covered al the sky,
Half threatening storm and rain; but on we went
Unchecked, being full of heart and having faith
In our tried pilot. Little could we see,
Hemmed round on every side with fog and damp,
And, after ordinary travellers' chat
With our conductor, silently we sunk
Each into commerce with his private thoughts.
Thus did we breast the ascent, and by myself
Was nothing either seen or heard the while
Which took me from my musings, save that once
The shepherd's cur did to his own great joy
Unearth a hedgehog in the mountain crags
Round which he made a barking turbulent.
This small adventure (for even such it seemed
In that wild place and at the dead of night)
Being over and forgotten, on we wound
In silence as before.

With forhead bent
Earthward, as if in opposition set
Against an enemy, I panted up
With eager pace, and no less eager thoughts.
. . .

That's the first bit of the poem, could not be bothered to type all of it. I especially like that last sentence though.

Anyway, I did a more gentle walk on the second day up to Moel Eilio (2382 ft) and some other, smaller, peaks. A fun walk with excellent views including the attempt to squeeze 13 people into a (bright orange) survival shelter on the summit and Aston leading the group in doing the "Hokey Kokey" – basically a very silly but highly amusing children's dance.

Summing up, I enjoyd Wk3 trip so much that I went on th Wk 13 one last weekend as well-to Snowdonia again, this time to a place called Capel Curig. We stayed in the North London Mountaineering Club Hut, which was quite basic but alright for a weekend.

On the first day, I did the walk up to "Moel Siabod". On the Walk list, it said in the description something like "Picturesque hill with an excellent view from the top. Walk leaves and returns to the hut. Fairly easy walk, quite short, with a moderate amount of ascent. There is the possibility of including some scrambling – which would be perfect for beginners". Thought that would sound like my cup of tea-only that the walk turned out to be a bit different from what we expected.Indeed, scrambling could not be avoided everywhere and we ended up doing a good grade 1 scramble! Want a definition of scrambling? According to the walks list, "Scrambling is ascending routes which require you to use your hands-basically easy rock climbing without ropes"... Sounds a lot more scary than it actually is. And don't get me wrong, I really thought the walk was great and I am glad I had the opportunity of trying out scrambling, and have even started to like it. I have to admit though that I do get scared when it comes to ridges with a sheer drop on both sides-luckily,it wasn' that bad. And also, Mike was a great guide. We eventually made it to the top (which was covered in snow-beautiful) and started our way down again-or rather, slid down the snow-covered grass on our bottoms…A great walk!

The second day's walk was a nice ramble with guide Jimmy through some Carnedds in the sunshine completed by "Cream Tea" back down at the village, a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.

That's all for now, thanks everyone from the society, and I am very much looking forward to some more trips!


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