After much preparation and training (well, we bought suitable kit….) team Stripey Giraffe set off on an adventure last weekend with Bristol Zoo to climb Wales’ three iconic mountains, Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan all in a single day. The Challenge was set to raise money for a giraffe house at Bristol Zoological Society’s Wild Place to help save these beautiful animals from a drastic drop in numbers.
We started bright and early, or rather dark and early, beginning the walk up Snowdon at 5 am in pitch darkness, 27 head torches twinkling up the mountain. As the sun (but mainly the fog) rose around us, the countryside revealed itself in its rugged and imposing glory driving home the seriousness of the undertaking to team Stripe OLT – we had so much more mountain left to climb!
The top of Snowdon, completely enveloped in fog and rain with a constant and unforgiving wind, truly felt like a different world and as happy as we all were to have made it up, we snapped our pictures and completed our victory dances quite swiftly, the sooner to make it back to the shelter of the minibuses waiting for the group with tea and bacon sandwiches.
The second peak, Cadair, as our guide warned us the night before, was the big one, the true challenge of the three, therefore the bus ride over was a relatively quiet one, as everyone attempted to dry or at least air their drenched kit and scrounge up any dry clothes they had left – the latter was accomplished with varying degrees of success…
The sun, which peeked out at us for a few seconds on Snowdon, was shining much more generously as we started the second climb, making forest at the foot of the mountain akin to Rivendell and making the second climb a much more scenic and fun experience.
The last peak, Pen Y Fan greeted us in the dusk, and we were to finish the day as we started, by walking into the darkness – total time 17 hours and 56 minutes.
Despite being shattered, we were delighted to learn that the challenge has raised over £5,000 for the new Giraffe House at the Zoo and the total is still increasing.