Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk
Paul’s Blog – Posted 12/07/17

This’ll be the last you here from me for a while but hopefully no longer than that.

A few thank you’s are due so here goes:-

Firstly to all our customers & in particular to anyone who visited us on Sunday 9th July when we were more or less full from the moment we opened until early evening, you all seemed to wait patiently understanding we were doing our best & working our socks off. We are not quite sure why this particular Sunday was easily our second busiest day ever but if the trend continues there is only one piece of advice I can give. If you are planning to visit us before you head for the hills get here early & with time to spare & use the time before the food comes out to prepare, chat & relax, the hills will wait for a good breakfast to be had.

Secondly to Dorina in particular as well as Gaby, Ady, Nick, Simona, Titi & Rebecca in advance for what they are about to experience in the 4 weeks of my forthcoming trip to Kyrgyzstan, this is extended in turn to John & Marion for their continued support during our busy weekends. I do feel an element of genuine guilt but life has to be lived & I am sure your time will come when you need it most.

Finally to my ex, it was her abuse of my mental state that led me to Cader Idris & so much more that has followed, like me I actually do hope you have found a better place too, life is simply too short not to. My lesson has been clear, it has been learned, I simply want to spread that word, if you are not happy never fear change, embrace it!

Whilst I’m away please don’t forget that we have our next Open MIC Night on 29th July & that throughout July & August we are open from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm (last hot food orders at 7:30 pm) 7 days a week.

Well that’s it, I’m nearly packed & looking forward to two days with Dorina before I go & get rid of some of this nervous energy that’s gurgling inside me, have a great summer, Paul.

Paul’s Blog – Posted 05/07/17

My hectic June has now come & gone, I have survived it in one piece feeling physically pretty good & mentally very pleased with how it went. July started with one more obstacle to overcome, the Moel Siabod Fell Race, before I could finally focus my mind on probably my toughest challenge for the year. I won’t go into the Siabod Race as you should soon be able to see both the results & race report on the WFRA web-site, for those who cannot wait any longer for the results feel free to e-mail me at paul.hodges@hotmail.co.uk & I will send you a copy.

Now to that challenge, PIK Lenin in Kyrgystan, can it really be less than two weeks away having seemingly only recently been accepted as an Expedition team member back in late January, where have the weeks & months gone?

PIK Lenin stands on the border with Kyrgystan & Tajikistan in the Trans Alai Mountain Range, it is a hulk of a mountain topping out at 7,134 metres, not a particularly technical climb by high mountain standards but still 2,000′ higher than I’ve been before. Add to that the fact that this is not an organised trek but a self-organised expedition containing 12 members who mostly didn’t know each other a few months ago & the fact that I’ll need to carry my own supplies from Advance Base Camp onwards it is clearly a climb which introduces several new challenges to me.

Lasting 27 days we hope to be making our summit bid (weather & other factors permitting) after some 20 days of acclimatisation on 4th August. The acclimatisation includes 3 peaks the highest of which is only 12 metres lower than Island Peak, indeed our Camp 4 will be at circa 6,400 metres close to the height of Mera Peak the highest I’ve been thus far. To sleep at this height could be very difficult & that is before you factor in the nervous energy that will be pulsing through my veins.

Of course nothing can be taken for granted, will we find the journey to the mountain to be safe or is it bandit country, will I acclimatise, will we avoid avalanche & crevasse risks, will the weather play ball & will I be up to the task physically & mentally if these other hazards do not step in my way? Questions that can only be answered once I am out there, as they say only time can tell.

I have at least paid quite a lot of detail to my preparation despite other events seemingly getting in my way. I have taken time to meet up & practice with some of the other Expedition members. I have been practising Crevasse rescue techniques with & thanks to Tim Harrop. I have been gradually sourcing the extra kit I need, much more than my initial first thoughts. I have maintained & arguably improved fitness despite a seemingly mad schedule in June & have been adding to my aerobic fitness by continuing a regime of core exercises.

There is still a lot to do, test stove, test high calorie expedition food, pack, re-pack & pack again until the kit fits into the Camp criteria’s but whereas on Sunday I was tense (partly caused by the realisation that my flights were 3 days earlier than I thought, me and Airports…..) I am now feeling focused & more in control of the final lead-in. This state will no doubt fluctuate in the coming days but what an adventure lies ahead.

As ever the support of Dorina in particular allows me to follow my dreams & dessert a busy cafe, if you have to wait for your food during our busy summer periods be as patient as she is with me, it’s only a wait whilst you plan or reflect upon your enjoyment of Snowdonia, not that bad all in all is it.

Have a great summer whatever you’ve got planned.

Reach Out for Nepal Day 24th June 2017 – A full Round-up – Posted 28/06/17

So here we go and in no particular order here is a summary of what went on & what has been raised to date:-

Charlotte’s Wild Swims & Tim’s Mountain Bike Ride – £100
Sara Jackson’s in Cafe Yoga classes – £55
Trefoil Craft Sales (organized via Twiggy Price among others) – £291 (Includes Twiggy’s loose change pot)
Alexandra’s Balloons – £14
Siabod Rumdooddle Challenge Relay – £105
Quiz, Raffle, T. Shirt Sales & Games organized by Mike Lees – £245
Auction – £789 (Excludes two sales which go direct to CAN of £155) – thanks to everyone who donated an Auction item & to Mike Lees & his ‘glamorous assistant’ John.
Paul’s Siabod Everest Challenge – £1,479 (& rising)
Cylcing Sportif Sponsorship (organized by Ian Draisey) – £1,095 (& rising)
Fraser’s Sponsored Walk – £1,412 (& rising with several donations from around the world) – this total includes over £400 raised by Helen Doughty through her Just Giving page.
Gaby’s Dal Bhat Sales – £300 – it sold out, well there’s a surprise!

Monies raised prior to the Day – £2,200

This brings the current total raised for 2017 to an excellent £8,085. We are aiming for ROFN to raise £10,500 this year so please continue to reward all those who took part on Saturday (be they named above or not) by continuing to donate whatever you feel you can afford.

In addition we also raised through sales of CAN’s Nepalese memorabilia a further £438, this money will go into CAN’S general Charity Fund. Since Doug’s visit to the cafe last October we have sold a number of his signed prints totalling more than £2,000 (again these go into CAN’s general fund), this brings the combined total for ROFN & CAN to more than £10,500 for 2017.

It was a great day (in truth not always thoroughly enjoyable for me), I think everyone who was there & taking part can feel very proud at the effort we put in & the results that these efforts have achieved. If you weren’t there but have donated a big thank you from all of us for taking the time to do so, it is much appreciated.

Summer Opening Hours are almost here – Posted 27/06/17

We are pleased to confirm that this Sunday sees the start of our Summer Opening Hours from then until Sunday 27th August our evening closing times will be 8:00 pm 7 days a week with last orders for hot food by 7:30 pm, let’s hope the weather helps you make the most of Snowdonia before you call in for an early evening meal to re-fuel for the next day.

Moel Siabod Fell Race – Posted 27/06/17

Just a quick reminder that the race is this Saturday, for full details see our events, please park on the field opposite the café, there is a small charge of £2 for parking with proceeds going to the village funds.

Siabod Rumdoodle Challenge Report – Posted 27/06/17

This can be read in conjunction with my own blog on my Everest challenge but if you’d prefer to avoid that simply read below for the stats. on the Eryri Relay, I’ll add a few comments based on hearsay, my apologies if they do not fully represent the realities.

Firstly all times include any additional time lost in transition between runners whilst in the café so actual times are likely to be a bit lower than stated here. Anyone sub 1:12 beat my training pb so well done for emphasising my mediocrity!

Leg 1 – Becki Law – 1:40 – ran at my pace to keep us safe & help mark the tricky nav. sections higher up. All dne before jumping on a plane to France!
Leg 2 – Steve Jones – 1:40 – ran slow again to keep me company, a minute or two lost locating markers in appalling visibility.
Leg 3 – Brian Robbins – 1:47 – taking a new non-racing line to explore new aspects of Siabod, aka got lost & took me & Peter with him.
Leg 4 – Alwyn Oliver – 1:45 – Lost a minute waiting for me to join him before we navigated our way over the summit ridge & back again, then left me for dead on the descent.
Leg 5 – Peter Durkin – 1:25 – Peter stood in for a missing Phil at no notice having already accompanied me on my 3rd Leg. By standing in he’d kept the challenge attempt alive.
Leg 6 – Tim Watson – 1:03 – Actual running time was 1:01:59 which apparently is counted as a 1:01, Tim was seen by me ascending quickly & descending like a demon.
Leg 7 – Emily Wood & her Dog – 1:28 – Fastest Ladies of the day.
Leg 8 – Phil Roberts – 1:01 – Making up for being AWOL, passed me still running & kept on running all the way, how? Got lost trying to follow a new ‘Tim’ line on the descent, just what time would he have done without this error?
Leg 9 – Gethin – 1:04 – also to be rumoured as a 1:01 actual running time.
Leg 10 – James – 1:13 – Only met James last Wednesday, really appreciated you joining in James.
Leg 11 – Gethin – 1:12 – Conditions worsening on top again, new descent route, aka got lost. Still good time despite this.
Leg 12 – James – 1:25 – Another casualty of the got lost brigade.
Leg 13 – Phil Roberts – 1:01 again – Having also escorted me on one of my legs this was now his third leg & was prior to his yogurt shopping trip for me, so AWOLism now fully forgiven.
Leg 14 – Judith Leslie & Sheree – 2:02 – Thought I might catch them but when I saw them running down my goose was cooked.
Leg 15 – Ali Thomas – 1:50 – another new descent route aka got lost but great to turn up after already running in the Hebog race.
Leg 16 – Megan Hughes – 2:12 – given route advice by Steve after which she had no chance, got lost but had views of Llyn Mymbyr from new angles on something approaching the ‘Jungle’ Robbins line. Another who’d run Hebog earlier so great effort again.
Leg 17 – Ellie Salisbury & Elsie (supported by Maggie & Alwyn) – 1:48 – the last of the runners again having already run Hebog so another great effort.

So that was the story, 16 runners taking 24 Hours & 5 Minutes to summit Siabod 17 times, but just as in Rumdoodle this amazing climbing team just missed out on the summit of Rumdoodle, did it matter, not a jot, the collective smiles for taking part in a unique run on Siabod made it for them & all those watching their progress very worthwhile. Thank you all for taking the time to do something with a bit of a difference, next year……..

Siabod Everest Challenge Report – Version 2, The Inside Story

My thoughts as to what I went through before, during & after last Saturday are many & confused but I am hoping that putting pen to paper here will help me understand what I have gone through. As I begin to write this I have almost finished reading Steve Burkinshaw’s book about his epic Wainwright run but as yet I have not read his ‘Aftermath’ chapter & I am glad of that as I can’t be influenced by any of his post run thoughts. Of course my achievement bears no resemblance to his other than perhaps I too have pushed myself similarly to my own limits.

My nerves were on edge for the entire two weeks leading into the day itself (from my return from Keswick Mountain Festival on Monday 12th June), should I be running a marathon one week before, the knee hurts more after Keswick than it’s done for a while, what will it be like in Clag at the top of Siabod on my own, how am I going to pull the relay team together, there’s Auction prizes to procure, I haven’t seen Mike Lees since the election was called, is he still coming………….. the list of to do’s & can I do was weighing pretty heavily upon me but of course it was all of my making.

By Friday 16th with just one week to go I still had only one of the relay legs actually confirmed, Becki Law had un-believably committed to Leg 1 despite the fact she was booked on a flight to France the next day, what a star (she was the only star visible when we set off together one week later into the gloom). That said several others had verbally assured me they’d be turning up but how to fill those nighttime & pre-Hebog race slots?

Ali who’d supported last year’s run arrived to stay with Dorina & I because she was running the Trail Half Marathon whilst I’d be in the Marathon, we enjoyed the re-union but talk inevitably turned to race tactics with preservation for the week after being the key priority. For once I was almost sensible I set off in the Marathon slowly & by mile 8 was thinking this feels good. Then Peter, a cafe regular pulled alongside, we exchanged a few words, he ran on, the red mist descended & my pace inevitably increased until I was soon at full race pace in the hot midday sun. By luck more than judgement I came through the race with the knee feeling better & was even able to lead Ali on a recovery run around Capel the next day.

From my earlier blog you will know that for my knee these reduced concerns were a false dawn so I won’t repeat subsequent problems here.

Back to the relay things began to move forward, Brian committed to Leg 3, Steve to Leg 2, Alwyn to Leg 4, a combined age for the 3 legs off over 200 years, not bad guys, the old guard had stepped into the nighttime breach. They were followed by Tim committing to Leg 7, now I needed a Phil, no response to e-mail, called round, his van was there but he was not, another day gone by. Wednesday evening ‘Dorina can you dial Phil on your phone’, no answer, then he phones back, I throw myself on his mercy, ‘Legs 5 & 6 please, it means getting here by 3:00 am’ – ‘Yes O.K.’ my nerves abated, we could actually pull this off!

Then Gethin via Brian Robbins committed to two morning legs & the out of the Wood came Emily Wood to commit to Leg 8, suddenly from no where I had the first 10 legs covered, how did that happen, in truth quite a lot of hard work & some great responses to a man in need.

Sam at Bodhi needs a mention for returning confidence back into my mind regarding my own run, this came with quite a lot of pain as she probed & prodded to find pains all over my left leg (the right wasn’t much better), why didn’t I get this done one year ago, note to brain…..

Friday night came, ‘Dorina, John, Marion, do this, do that, do the bloody other’, then it came to pass, I could do no more, Becki arrived, the break in the weather didn’t, it was time to change, the challenge was upon us.

Collectively we then made a number of good decisions despite I am sure all of us being apprehensive, Becki & I agreed to stay together at my pace & let the later relay runners worry about picking up any lost time, this felt good we won’t be alone up there. We then marked the tricky bits on the way up, good call, it still took a lot of attention to get off the summit on the right line as the murk got worse. Steve & I again chose to stick together, Steve’s reassuring words near the summit that no one should be alone up here tonight summed things up perfectly, visibility was 20 feet at best. We found the 3rd marker but still circled it trying to be sure of the line, this wasn’t physical this was mental & we were concentrating hard. Peter joined me for Leg 3 so again I had company but Brian had set off alone, I was relieved to see his silhouette correcting course towards the trig point, we stuck together for the descent despite finding a new non-racing line & returned safely. Leg 4 I was alone but wanted to catch up with Alwyn if I could as Steve had said he’d had concerns (you were not alone Alwyn). Thankfully I saw his form just before the summit ridge ‘Alwyn’, he waited, we navigated together, the light (if it could be called that) began to emerge, finally I could relax.

From here on it all became increasingly surreal for me as my thoughts turned to both my physical state & just what still lay ahead of me. I had already fallen heavily near the end of Leg 1 taking a big impact to my right buttock, hand, elbow & shoulder, then on Leg 3 I fell 4 times the last of which was on the same rock as Leg 1 this time bruising my left buttock, what an idiot to even go near it. I could feel Peter thinking how the hell is he going to survive 13 of these but thankfully I survived these setbacks despite being rather embarrassed.

Descending Leg 4 I was surprised to see Peter setting off for relay Leg 5, this could mean only one thing, Phil was missing, back at the Cafe ‘Dorina, have you phoned Phil’ ‘yes there was no answer but Tim’s on his way’, leave it to them Paul they’ll sort it out. Phil would later show, run two quick relay legs, support me on a leg, nurse my feet, & procure yogurt from Betws, not a bad way to respond to an un-usual lapse.

I can’t remember many specifics of each climb & descent from here on but I do remember coming into the cafe after leg 5 & being encouraged by Emily’s beaming face before discussing 5 down but no matter how I look at it 8 to go looks bad. It was from here-on that I went into a metronome type of Zombie mode, I was in a stew, there was no way out, I went into myself & stayed there for most of the hours that followed.

Even today I have this new picture of Siabod entrenched into my mind, the mountain has taken a new form above the last style, it is always in gloom, it has grown, not into Everest but into a colossus that has to be tackled in parts, the last stream, the bottom of the variant path, the top of the variant path, the summit ridge, the traverse, the trig point, turn around, skirt the rocks, the 3 markers, the summit ridge, top of variant path, it went on & on & on, each time the distances seemed longer, my world had become surreal, the mountain was beating me physically but more importantly mentally.

Leg 8 was a particularly bad one but some how I recovered until Leg 11 came & I knew I was in serious trouble. Despite still being ahead of schedule my ascent time was tailing off, descents had already become a living hell with quads & feet screaming for level ground. I called Steve to my aid, he & Kean & probably everyone else could feel my pain, Kean’s words of respect meant an awful lot as tears were trying to force any remaining fluid out of me.

Despite Steve’s effort & Ellie shouting after Leg 12, ‘go on Paul, only one to go’ I had already announced to Steve that the 13th would be a reduced version, I had admitted defeat but with a compromise which I was still totally not looking forward to as the lower slopes of Siabod called me forward once again for one last effort. Dorina & Rebecca were my carers but despite their care I was feeling very much alone & fed up with my lot.

Through all of this the encouragement & cheers at the cafe were heard & appreciated but they couldn’t help me, I was receiving tremendous support but I was very inside myself with self pity at the way I had simply gradually fallen apart as the day had dragged on.

To have come through this in the way I did should be extremely rewarding but I have yet to see it totally this way, I feel traumatised but in a positive way if that makes any sense, but that is the only negative. As soon as I finished I sensed what collectively everyone who took part in the day, be it on the mountain or in the Cafe, had been part of something that felt very special. A community of people, a coming together & I was a part of it.

Life has many twists & turns, when I turned away from my old life in 2010 & headed for Cader Idris it was my new beginning, sometimes we just get a very lucky twist indeed.

Let it not be lost that the reason this blog exists is the Melamchi School & our attempts to support it, in this troubled world small gestures like ours can help make a difference & will.

Siabod Everest Challenge Report – Version 1, the Facts – Posted 26/06/17

I have decided to look back on that 24 hour run separately in two ways, this is not to over-dramatise but simply as I think it needs separate reflection in order for me to comes to terms with what I have just gone through. These two reports will be added to by a third that will cover the separate Eryri relay runs which at times overlapped with mine more than initially intended. Then in due course a more detailed report on all of the events which took place in or around the cafe, so please be patient there is a lot to cover.

Version 2 will be shorter so feel free simply to wait for that.

Version 1 – Siabod Everest Challenge – the Facts:-

My lead-in really began a week before in of all places a book shop. I had called in to collect an ordered copy of Steve Burkinsaw’s book about his 214 Wainwright run in 2014. Duly collected what do I do now, carry on reading Steve Chilton’s book about Kenny Stuart & John Wild’s head to head dual for the 1983 Fell Running Championship which I’d only started the night before or get straight into Steve’s book for an insight of how to overcome both physical & mental barriers & reach achievement. I chose the former which meant that I only got into Steve’s book the day before the Everest Challenge & was only halfway through it by the time my run started, could this have been the lapse in my preparation?

Saturday 17th June saw me start a very hard Coed y Brenin Marathon with a dodgy knee but despite the fact that I failed to restrict myself to a jog my knee actually felt better after completing it. This being on the back of both the Borrowdale 25K Race & a hard (for me) Welsh 1,000’s over the previous two weekends. Plenty could be said about my experiences in these three excellent events but their time has passed I am afraid. With these three races successfully navigated without injury I was feeling more confident until a certain mountain called Siabod burst my spirits & had me seriously doubting myself.

On Tuesday 20th June I decided to calculate a contingency plan to see how high both I & the Relay team would have to go on our last climbs in order to break through our respective Everest & Rumdoodle challenge. Having done so on a glorious day my niece, Beth, & I set out for the lower slopes to check my map calculations on my GPS. Having found confirmation I uttered ‘Beth would you like to carry on to the summit’ ‘well yes if it’s all right with you Paul’. At the summit ‘Beth would you like to jog down’ ‘yes….’ you get the drift.

One descent later my troublesome knee had returned & my mind would now be dominated with ‘if one descent hurts how can I do 13?’

What to do, firstly Wednesday, wear a knee strap all day to both support it & see if it would rub if I chose to run with it (I have never worn a strapping before). Secondly Wednesday again, e-mail Bodhi in Betws to see if they could slot me in for an ’emergency’ physio, Sam was good enough to slot me in for Friday PM (8 hours before the run was due to start). Thirdly, Wednesday again, clearing a picnic table late afternoon a man approached me & enquired about the strapping on my knee, after my quick explanation he responded I can take your pain away. Moments later he touched my knee for a few seconds then taking his hands away explained that he had said to himself ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I take away his pain’. Now I am not a believer but what are the chances of this happening to me, I cannot say the pain disappeared but there were many pains on Saturday but few had anything to do with the knee. Fourthly, Sam on Friday, great work on some really painful muscles & that gorgeous pink tape (She had no other colour & I was a beggar) left me feeling confident ‘the pain may return but long term damage is un-likely as long as you don’t go at race pace, that is one thing I had no intention of doing.

So to Friday night, as the sun set (theoretically as no one in Capel had seen the sun all day) Becki who was starting the relay & I set off at 9:44 pm with a changed plan to stay together on the way up & mark the most difficult parts of the route. This was to prove a very wise decision, by marking it on the way up we’d be sacrificing time for safety, just as well because even on our twilight descent the markers were very difficult to find.

Leg two saw Steve & I also stay together, I know Siabod summit like the back of my hand & Steve has done a Dragon’s back & much more besides but we were both thankful we’d made this wise call. We couldn’t see the summit with our headtorches until we were within 20 feet of it & on the 3rd descent marker we circled it trying to be confident of our line, the wind blew, the drizzle dazzled, this was no place to be alone.

Leg 3 saw my first ‘support’ runner, Peter, & I set off in pursuit of Brian who was doing the 3rd relay leg. We finally caught him just on the summit before I made the mistake of not saying, Brian I’ve descended this twice tonight we are going the wrong way. Best to stick together & all that led to an avoidable rock tussle & wrong descent line leading to a lengthy correction once we got out of the clag, there were several minutes of thinking is that Plas y Brenin’s lights or the Cafe’s, thankfully the former & we were soon back on course. Jungle Robbins has a ring to it.

Leg 4 was the first leg truly on my own before I was pleased to see Alwyn’s form ahead just below the summit ridgeline, he waited & a final tricky night nav. descent off the summit was over safely. Fears of Siabod’s summit in a nighttime clag had flittered in & out of my head for week’s before, we had been sensible, we had not been alone & by the skin of our teeth had got away unscathed unless you count the 5 tumbles I’d already taken including two on the same bloody rock. I was already a bit battered & bruised but trying to run it off. Alwyn left me on the descent I would now be running mostly alone. Shortly before I got back to the cafe I passed Peter who had stepped into an emergency request to do a relay leg following Phil’s failure to show. This was his second ascent & we were lucky he was there to keep the relay on track.

Leg 5, Again I passed Peter as I ascended & he descended, the weather was improving & on my return to the Cafe I passed Tim who was looking good at the start of Relay leg 6. Back in the cafe with 5 down my mind switched firmly to the 8 to go, no matter how I looked at it it was not a nice sight. My body was tiring & my mind was buckling, I refuelled long & hard, temporarily it paid off.

Leg 6 & 7 went comparatively well as I passed Tim again descending like a Demon, Emily & Gethin but Leg 8 caught me straight in the face, my quads felt like they had been punched by Tyson & my feet were even worse. During leg 8 I was passed by Phil twice (no longer AWOL & James a chap I’d only met in the cafe days before, it would be the first of two relay legs for him, well done James for tagging along, hope to see you again soon.

After leg 8 I was in the cafe for a serious pit-stop, Phil & Dorina nursed my feet whilst Hazel refuelled me, change to dry socks & dry shoes definitely helped (Kean’s wise words had hinted this after leg 7).

Leg 9 Phil came with me offering encouraging words & sincere belief that I was tough enough & had it in the bag, here at least time was agreeing with him, despite those necessary slow early legs I had always been roughly on track & was now moving several minutes ahead of schedule. Because of the serious pit-stop leg 9 went well as indeed did leg 10 where I was accompanied by Brian, we were pased by a flying fill twice as we descended (clearly making up for his lie-in before lower down we were passed by Judy & Sheree early on their relay leg. By now the weather had closed in once again & Siabod’s summit was not a nice place to be from here-on.

On leg 11, again on my own I thought I might reel in Judy & Sheree but they passed me as they were coming down below the summit ridge, reaching the summit 10 minutes later I knew problems were arriving, 1:05 to the summit was easily my slowest so far, my descending legs had gone long ago but now I couldn’t even ascend properly. Shortly before reaching the haven of the Cafe Ali came running past me as she set out for Eryri’s next leg. Back at the cafe, I had the time, did I have the energy, I needed a pacer & so with Steve asking what I wanted I simply said Steve I need you to pace me for Leg 12, without a hesitation he changed on the spot & we were off some 10 legs after our first together. I gave Steve my pacing notes, he re-calculated & we were able to stay on schedule on the lower slopes. Despite Steve’s best efforts though I knew I was blown, I simply could not face a 13th summit, my mind switched to the contingency plan previously reccied with Beth & at the last style going up I broke the news to Steve. He responded positively didn’t try to dissuade me & wonderfully pointed out ‘O.K. then Paul so now understand the next bit is the last time you have to do it as next time you’ll be turning back here’. Siabod’s summit seemed to acknowledge the sense of this as it gave us another blasting in the wind & clag, Ali had clearly gone off line as we’d not seen her pass the other way, thankfully she had returned to the cafe un-scathed but a little late leaving Megan to take up the reigns whom we passed on our descent.

Returning to the cafe for the 12th time I received an enormous cheer which could not be left without a response ‘thank you everyone, but I feel a bit of a fraud as I’m not going to be doing the 13th but I am going back up to the last style with Dorina & Rebecca & that’ll get me past the height of Everest’, even that got a loud round of applause & was very warmly received!

Leg 13, making sure that Dorina & Rebecca had warm clothes on before we set off this lesser climb was still daunting in itself. Dorina & Rebecca were like un-leashed tigers whilst I gasped & grunted ‘don’t worry go on, I’ll follow’. At last we reached the style, the climb was over, one final very painful descent soon began. Here we passed Ellie doing her leg supported by Maggie & Alwyn (once again Siabod summit was no place to be alone). They were clearly concerned for their daughter Megan who we’d not seen descending. With Rebecca scooting ahead, Dorina held back to keep an eye on my hobbling gate we finally reached the safety of the forest track. Here at least I was able to run the final 1.5K back to the cafe in reasonable form albeit with a lot of pain.

The welcoming reception back at the cafe was wonderful, like the guy on Wednesday they took away my pain, it was now time to sit & reflect. Thankfully these reflections were interrupted by the safe return of Megan who seemed to have followed the new Jungle Robbins route & in due course Ellie, Maggie & Alwyn.

I’d reached the cafe for the last time at 9:20 pm on Saturday evening some 23 Hours & 36 minutes after I’d set off the evening before with Becki. I’d covered some 73 miles & ascended (& more importantly descended) over 29,300′ having achieved more than the height of Everest, not quite the 13 summits but good enough on reflection to say to everyone involved, I could not have had better support, you kept me going to a place that at times felt truly beyond me, thank you.

The final bonus, the next day looking at my own individual sponsor form & just how many customers & friends added their names to the list whilst I was on the hill.

I think that is the correct sequence of events but in reality Siabod is a Hill & I am Yet to get over It!

Reach Out for Nepal – Posted 26/06/17

You’ll have to bear with me here because there will be a lot of reports & updates coming at you over the next few days, this one in short simply says a massive thank you to everyone involved who helped make this year’s events such a success. There are too many of you to name but you do know who you are, I can only hope you feel as proud as I do at just being a part of such a great community. The nuts on the bolts are still being calculated by John & Marion & no doubt will be added to over the coming days & weeks but for now we are certainly past the £7,500 mark & more likely past £8,000, our target for this year is £10,500 so if you haven’t yet donated or wish to donate a little more please do so.

Thank you too to Dorina, Gaby, Ady, Titi & Simona for working their socks off & keeping the cafe open for business whilst Nick & I were out enjoying ourselves.

Well done to everyone whether you took part in an event, supported in the cafe & of course those who understood & donated so kindly.

Ride Moel Siabod Sportif

Ride Moel Siabod Sportif

Not sure how this works guys but please to above link to the Ride Moel Siabod Sportif, anyone wishing to get involved next year in this great event as part of our Reach Out for Nepal fund please don’t hesitate to contact Ian Draisey or Paul.

Great work on Saturday guys.