Two weeks in a row I left my apartment at about 12:30 in the morning so that I could join a group of like-minded, some might say mad, people to climb up a mountain in the hope that I would see a sunrise.
In both cases I was taking a chance because I booked to go on the walks some months in advance and as I have learnt you can’t predict what the weather is going to be like, especially when mountains are involved, but I am happy to say that amazingly on both walks it stayed dry and the sun did rise…..as it always does, although Mother Nature always takes a hand in what you will see!
The first was with The Mountain Coach to the summit of Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen. It was a fairly large group and there was a bit of scrambling involved in the ascent but we got to the summit in time for the sunrise and the views were amazing as we looked out across Llyn Idwal, Tryfan, Pen yr ole Wen and Llyn Ogwen. However, just as quickly as the sun rose so the cloud came in and at only 400 feet lower than Snowdon it soon gets cold so we didn’t stay for too long.
The next week I was off to Llanberis to walk up Snowdon with Breese Adventures. This time with just 5 fellow walkers and a mountain leader. As we stood at the Snowdon Mountain Railway it was a bit surreal seeing people making their way home at 1:30 in the morning while we were getting ready to walk up Snowdon. The weather was good, the sky was reasonably clear and for a while we walked under a full moon.
We were the only people walking up but earlier in the evening a large charity walk had set off and we encountered all 400+ of them on their way done. I guess the only way to avoid it would have been to have gone up in the week but when we got to the summit there was only the seven of plus a seagull and it was amazing just to have it to ourselves, as on every previous occasion it has seemed like Oxford Street at Christmas.
Sadly about 10 minutes from the summit Mother Nature intervened and by the time we got there it was shrouded in cloud but as we came down off the summit we saw some great views as the sun changed the colour of the landscape as it tried to burn through the cloud.
I have had people say they don’t see the point of walking at night but it is so different and in some respects it helps not seeing where you are going or how steep the ascent is and but then to see where you have been as dawn breaks is amazing.