Snowdon Pyg Track

Walking the Snowdon Pyg Track

As some of you may or may not know, in October I will be trekking the Great Wall of China to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund! I’m excited and terrified all at the same time but what better way to prepare than to hike up a mountain. So on Sunday, that’s exactly what I did! I hiked up Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

Now, I have done this trek a couple of times before and so I knew what to expect. Lots of steep steps, rugged terrain and bits of scrambling – perfect training for what I needed. I also made sure I had my back pack on my back the whole time which contained my layers, lunch, snacks and water. When I do my China trek I’ll be carrying my day pack on my back the whole time, so this is essential training. I need to know that my back can take it if anything!


Snowdon Pyg Track

We decided to hike up the Snowdon Pyg Track. The Pyg track is 5.5km, is one of the most popular/busier paths and is the track I had done twice before. The Pyg Track is relatively easy to follow and there are only a couple of scrambling parts. That being said, it’s also relatively steep, very rocky in parts and has lots of steps!

To walk the Snowdon Pyg track it’s best to arrive early, especially on weekends/sunny days! The car park gets full VERY quickly as it’s only small and the Pyg track is one of the most popular tracks. It takes two hours to drive to Snowdon from where I live, so with it being a bank holiday weekend, we left at 5am (!) and arrived just before 7am. The Pyg Track starts from Pen Y Pass car park, however even at 7am when we arrived it was already full!!

It was ok though because if the Pen Y Pass car park is full, you can just turn left out of the car park and drive for 5 minutes or so until you come to another car park which costs £5 to park and you can get the Sherpa bus back up to Pen Y Pass for £1.50 (or a taxi which is £6ish), which is what we did.

There are benefits to arriving early though, even on bank holiday weekend there weren’t that many people hiking up and it was pretty quiet and peaceful. Later on it gets busy and you literally have people right behind you at all times which can put pressure on you sometimes.

Anyway, so we were ready to go at about 7.30am at the start of the Pyg track on the Pen Y Pass car park…it’s obvious where it starts from as there is a sign marked “Pyg Track.”

 

Snowdon Pyg Track
At the start of the Snowdon Pyg Track

Snowdon Pyg Track: the walk up

The Pyg Track is fairly straightforward, it starts briefly on tarmac (as above) but this quickly turns into steep, rocky steps with a few sections where you need to scramble. This ascends gradually towards a peak (which is actually Crib Goch – another path only to be attempted by the very experienced/brave!!). If you are wondering why, Google it and you’ll see 🙂

Snowdon Pyg Track

 

When you get to the “top” of the first ascent, the path levels out a bit and there is a bit of relief from the uphill climb. The views here are amazing on a clear day (see below). I have been lucky in that the last two times I have done the Pyg track, the views have been amazing but there is often fog which obscures the view somewhat. Be sure to always check the weather forecast before attempting Snowdon. In my experience, clear fine days are best as wet days can make the rocks slippy and it can be more dangerous.

Snowdon Pyg Track - Views
Snowdon Pyg Track – Views

The next part is quite straightforward, just make sure to keep to the path marked Pyg Snowdon (as below) and not to head up to Crib Goch (which is marked on a sign to the right).

Snowdon Pyg Track

Follow this path as it ascends gradually to the summit. There are some steep parts and rocky bits that require scrambling. Eventually you come to some steep steps that zig zag up towards the top. When you reach this point you are almost there – but not quite! This is probably the most challenging part and most people have to stop several times for a rest as the steps are pretty steep. When you get to the top of these steps the view (on a clear day) is breathtaking!

Snowdon Pyg Track - Views from the top

It’s at this point you can see the summit – you are very close but still a short climb away. Follow the path to the left alongside the mountain railway and you’ll eventually reach the summit – hooray! Time to enjoy the views. We had a packed lunch at the top overlooking the amazing views. There is also a shop and a cafe at the top where you can buy hot drinks and food (and beer!) It’s usually cold at the top and so layers are definitely required.

Snowdon Pyg Track - Summit
Snowdon Summit – it’s windy up there!

Getting down: The Miners Track

Of course, you can go down the way you came but it’s good to try a different route 🙂 (Or you could always take the train!) We went down the Miners track. To get down the Miners track, you go down the same way you came up on the Pyg track, following the same path until you come to a stone marker which marks the descent down the Miners track. In all honesty, I find going down much harder than going up as you really have to be careful to avoid slipping and hurting yourself on the rocks. The Miners track is pretty steep and is more of a scramble down the rocks. I wouldn’t like to go up that way to be honest as it’s really steep!!

Once you get past the scrambling part though, it’s pretty much plain sailing and an easy walk past the lakes back to the Pen Y Pass car park. As it was a nice day, we spent half an hour or so sunbathing by the lake at the bottom of the steep descent. We figured we’d earnt it 🙂 It was very relaxing and felt like being at the beach. Some people even went in the lake but it was a bit cold for my liking.

Snowdon: Miners Track
Snowdon: Miners Track

Some tips for walking up Snowdon

  • Pick a good day weather wise, check the weather a day before you go. In bad weather it can be dangerous and is not worth the risk.
  • Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Take at least a litre of water (or more on a hot day).
  • Take some change for the car park/bus (Pen Y Pass costs £10 to park and the other car park I mentioned is £5. The Sherpa bus is £1.50 each way)
  • Take some snacks/packed lunch.
  • Wear good walking boots – you need decent walking boots with grip. Trainers are a no-go unless you want to slip on the rocks/hurt your feet or ankles.
  • Take lots of layers – whatever time of year it is the weather can be changeable up a mountain. You’ll need warm clothes like a fleece/hat/gloves etc for the summit.
  • Take/wear a waterproof coat and trousers.
  • Take suncream and wear a sunhat/sunglasses in the summer as the UV rays are high up there!

So there you have it. That was my experience walking up and down Snowdon for the third time. I must say I found it much easier than the first time I tried it (at 1 year 8 months post op). I am much stronger/fitter now and I think you need good strength to scramble and pull yourself up the rocks. Plus, the weather was much better and it’s much easier when it’s not freezing cold and raining or boiling hot. My back is aching a bit today but it mainly feels like muscle pain and hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

Hopefully this experience was good practice for my China Trek, although I’ll be doing hikes like this everyday for a week back to back! I may be crazy, but it’s for the best cause possible.

If you’d like to sponsor me for my China Trek and help those affected by scoliosis, you can sponsor me here:)

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU for reading! <3

I’m now off to rest my sore back.. 😉

Until next time,

Louise X


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Walking the Snowdon Pyg Track

Great Wall of China - Fundraising for Scoliosis

Fundraising for Scoliosis: Great Wall of China Trek!

I apologise for the lack of posts recently, I haven’t been able to post as much due to holidays and general life busyness. However, I thought I’d write a quick update about my next big adventure!

After the success of the British 10K, I’m continuing to fund raise for scoliosis by undertaking a MASSIVE personal challenge.

In October, I’ll be taking on a 9 day trek of the Great Wall of China in order to raise funds for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

If you are affected by scoliosis it would mean everything to me if you could sponsor me, as I’m trying to reach a target of £500. The Scoliosis Campaign Fund are only a small charity and so every penny really does make a huge difference.

All money raised goes towards helping to support people with the condition as well as funding research into the causes and treatment of scoliosis. By supporting me, you’re helping people with scoliosis now and in the future! 🙂

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so via the link below:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving


So what will I actually be doing?

I’m heading to China on 21st October to take on 9 days of trekking the famous Great Wall!

Beginning 4 hours north of Beijing, the challenge takes on a series of vigorous upwards climbs of over 10,000 relentless steps over the course of a week.

I’ll be…

-Trekking for around 4-7 hours per day, covering approximately 50kms over 5 days.
-Continually hiking up and down thousands of stairs.
-Battling the heat/cold on exposed sections of the wall.
-Trekking on un-renovated sections of the wall, with crumbling steps, shrubbery and rocks underfoot, and steep stair climbs.
-Taking on sections at height with drops at either side.
-Staying in basic lodges each night.


How do I feel?

I’m incredibly nervous, as although this is part of a group challenge, I’ll be doing this challenge by myself.

I have never travelled by myself before (without my friends/family) and so this makes me very anxious. I’m also by nature a fairly reserved person and find talking to new people difficult, so this will be scary and challenging for me on that front too.

By doing this challenge, I am totally putting myself outside of my comfort zone! But it’s something I have always wanted to do and I am sure that the experience will be good for me. Plus, I really want to do something amazing to raise awareness of scoliosis and much needed funds for the scoliosis campaign fund.


Time to train!

On a physical level, although I am fairly fit I am also worried about the physical demands of the challenge and whether my back will cope with days and days of consecutive walking uphill whilst carrying my daypack! No doubt I will be in pain while doing it but I love a challenge and I am determined to do this and prove that I can.

I’m hoping I will be fit enough as I have ran 4 10K races this year, I run several times a week and also do strength training (Body Pump classes) at the gym weekly. I’m not really used to walking uphill though and so over the next couple of months, I’ll be adapting my training to incorporate long (and hilly) walks over the weekends to prepare.

This weekend, I am going to climb mount Snowdon in Wales, which I hope will emulate the wall of China fairly well in terms of the terrain and climbing uphill for several hours. I’ll be sharing my training diaries and progress on my blog so look out for this!


That’s all for now!

I’ll be checking in soon with some more updates on this challenge including my training diaries and what I’ll be taking etc.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading,

Louise X

 

British 10K London Fundraising for Scoliosis Race Recap

British 10K London: Fundraising for Scoliosis

So, yesterday I achieved one of my objectives for the year and ran the British 10K for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund. How was it? Much tougher than I expected!

Those of you who follow my blog may know that I have done several 10K races this year and ALOT of training to prepare for this event. I have been training since January, as back then I could barely run 5K!

But I was determined to build my distance and take part in this event to help raise money for a charity so close to my heart.


British 10K London: Race recap

I travelled down to London with my boyfriend on Saturday, a day before the race, as I’m based up north and the race started early Sunday morning. When we arrived in London the first thing I noticed was how hot it was compared to up north (!) and I was really hoping it would cool down for the race as I’m not great with running in the heat.

I did my very best to prepare for the race on the Saturday, I refrained from alcohol, drank lots of water and ate a lot of pasta! The refraining from alcohol bit was tough because everyone around me was drinking, as it was such a gorgeous sunny day!

We did some chilling on the Southbank, went for a meal and then had an early night (boring but I really wanted to do well!)


The day of the race

British 10K
British 10K

Even though we were staying in central London, we had to get up pretty early and get the tube across to the start (9.30am).

When we arrived at the bag drop area it was crazy busy (there were over 10,000 participants!) and I started to get nervous. I didn’t sleep well the night before as I was worrying about the race. This was my second race of this scale (I did the Great Manchester Run in May) so I’m still getting used to running these type of events.

We arrived in plenty of time though, so I had time to queue for the toilet and then head over to my start pen (E). I have to say at this point, that considering the scale of this event, I thought it was EXTREMELY well organised. I have taken part in smaller running events which have been utter chaos and so I was very impressed! There were plenty of signs telling us where to go which took a bit of my anxiety away.

To get to our start pens we had to walk down Pall Mall, which, lined with Union Jack flags set us up for the race nicely!

British 10K - walk to the start
British 10K – walk to the start

It was about a 10 minute walk to get to my start pen, which was a good warm up and a chance to take some pics. At this point it was already getting HOT, so I was starting to get concerned about running in it (I’m a northerner so I’m not used to the sun…!)

British 10K - Pall Mall
British 10K – Pall Mall

Once I reached my start pen, they did some warm ups and eventually we made our way to the start. Everyone was put in groups (A-H) depending on their speed, so the fast groups went first and we all gradually filtered round. I was in group E which was pretty much in the middle.

British 10K - at the start
British 10K – at the start

During the race

I have to say I really struggled with this race. I have done several 10K’s this year and I found this one the hardest by far. It was mainly to do with the heat, for me it was just too hot to comfortably run in. It was around 26/27 degrees and very humid and there were no clouds at all so the sun was burning down on us.

I have done a few training runs in hot weather but as we don’t get many really hot days up north I’m used to running in much cooler temperatures. As it was so hot, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I felt like I couldn’t really take in the amazing sights because I was struggling so much to keep myself going!

There were soooo many times where I was tempted to stop but I didn’t. I just keep thinking of the scoliosis charity and all those amazing people who had sponsored me and I didn’t want to let them, or myself down.

So I didn’t stop once, I kept going and all the way round I was just thinking – when will this end?! It was pure torture!! Most of the runners running near me were visibly struggling and there were so many who had to stop and walk.

Despite this though, the route itself was a great route, past all the main sights and there were lots of cheering crowds to keep us going! The highlight was probably running over Westminster bridge, as not only were the views awesome, I knew we were near the end!!

I definitely ran slower than I could have done in parts due to the heat. When I approached the finish line I had literally no energy to sprint like I usually do and just kept at my steady pace.


After the race

I collapsed in a heap!

Not quite… I found a place to sit down and catch my breath and wipe myself down (yuk!) After I recovered, I checked my Strava and it appeared my average pace was similar to that of the Manchester run, so despite the heat I wasn’t going as slowly as I thought!

British 10K at the end
British 10K – with my medal

In the end, I managed to complete it in exactly 1 hour, which is slightly slower than my previous 10K races (PB is 57.27) but not bad considering how I felt.

I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to get a new PB given all the training I’ve done but I guess the elements were against me.

At the end of the day, I know I can do 10K faster but it’s not about speed. I’m just proud that I finished it, I didn’t stop and that I raised money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, which is what I set out to do. When it comes to it, this is all that matters.

I even managed to meet up briefly with some of the other scoliosis runners who are all amazing and inspirational! It was great to meet others with scoliosis as I had actually never met anyone else in “real life” with scoliosis before.

British 10K - Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund
British 10K – Team Scoliosis Campaign Fund

Overall, I had a great day even though the run was tough. Plus, the medal and finishers pack is awesome (yes, that is a tin of baked beans..!)

British 10K - Finishers Pack
British 10K – Finishers Pack

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, it means so much to me!

My sponsor page will be accepting donations until November, as my next challenge for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund will be trekking the Great Wall of China in October (post coming soon).

If you have scoliosis or know someone with scoliosis please consider sponsoring me to help the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. They are only a small charity so every penny really does mean everything.
Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Thanks for reading 🙂

Louise X

British London 10K Run - Westminster

British 10k London Run

I’m so excited!

This week it was confirmed that I have a place in the British 10K London run on 9th July and I’ll be running to raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The British 10K London run takes runners through some of  London’s most iconic sites, such as Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, Big Ben and more.

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients. There is more information on the great work the Scoliosis Campaign Fund do in this useful information sheet.

Raising money for scoliosis…

I’ve been wanting to do something to raise awareness of scoliosis and raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund for absolutely ages, I just wasn’t sure what to do. When I saw an article in BackBone magazine about the British 10K London run last year, it inspired me to get involved and I knew that 2017 had to be the year.

It would be my ultimate dream to run the London Marathon for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, but I am nowhere near ready in terms of fitness and honestly, I don’t think my back could take it.

At the moment, I can just about run 5K and will need to train over the coming weeks in order to work myself up to 10K, so I’m ready for the event.

Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt
Scoliosis Campaign Fund T Shirt

10K Training

As part of my training, I plan to follow a 10K training plan online, whilst also attending any Park Run I can and doing my usual spin classes and Body Pump classes at the gym. Over the past few weeks, I have been running (or jogging!) about 20-30minutes several times a week, as I am also doing the Great Manchester Run in May.

I do find running difficult at times with my back but I am determined to do this in order to raise money and awareness of scoliosis, especially as I never thought I’d ever be able to do anything like this following my scoliosis surgery.

A personal achievement

After my scoliosis surgery, I had to learn to walk all over again. I couldn’t bathe or dress myself and had to have help just getting out of bed. Running a 10K race for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund shows how far I’ve come and I will continue to keep pushing and challenging myself further to achieve my goals.

The British 10k London Run is a major fundraising event for the Scoliosis Campaign Fun and I’m really excited to be involved! I plan on posting regular updates on here with my progress and how I’m getting on with my training.

If you’d like to sponsor me and help to support the fantastic work of the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, you can do so by clicking the button below 🙂

Sponsor me on Virgin Money Giving

Thank you!

Louise X

P.s. if you’d also like to get involved in raising money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, there are loads of great fundraising ideas, resources and events you could get involved with available here – Scoliosis Campaign Fund – Fundraising Ideas.

Pin it and help me spread the word!

British 10k London Run - Support the Scoliosis Campaign Fund

Pretty Muddy

Pretty Muddy!

I love a good challenge and continue to push myself following my scoliosis surgery. So, earlier this year, despite injuring my shoulder running last August, I decided to sign up to Pretty Muddy – a 5K muddy obstacle course – to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

I was a bit nervous and worried that I wouldn’t be flexible enough to do all of the obstacles, especially as I knew that some involved crawling under nets through the mud. However, I was determined to give it a good go and religiously followed the training plan on the Race for Life website for 12 weeks before the event.

It was a few weeks ago now, but I successfully completed the race AND, best of all, I managed to do ALL of the obstacles.

Yes, it was a fun run and most people weren’t taking it seriously (there were women of all abilities and fitness levels taking part) but I was extremely proud of myself, as I never thought I’d be able to do ANYTHING like this post scoliosis surgery.

These type of events have previously filled me with fear and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it just a few years ago!

Thankfully, I have noticed in the last couple of years that my flexibility has improved immensely, whether this is down to all the gym work I do or whether it’s because my surgery was 6 years ago now I’m not sure but I think it’s this improvement in flexibility that enabled me to complete this obstacle course.

It continues to amaze me what I can do with my fused spine and it just goes to show my scoliosis shouldn’t stop me from trying new things and pushing my limits. Not only did I raise hundreds of pounds for Cancer Research, I also achieved a new personal goal.

I’m not going to lie, my lower back was sore for a day or two afterwards, which was likely because of all the bending and stretching to get over and under obstacles, but luckily this was temporary and overall it was great fun!

I definitely would do it (or another mud run type event) again 🙂

Louise X

  • Pretty Muddy!
Race for Life Medal

Race for Life!

This weekend I did something I thought would never be possible following my scoliosis surgery. I ran 10K (!) through Delamere Forest for Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research UK. 

I’m not going to lie, the training was hard for me. Especially as I only signed up 5 weeks before the event and so had limited time to train (plus I had never really ‘done’ running before!).

I always thought running and scoliosis didn’t really go together and have always found running difficult. But in 5 weeks I managed to build myself up to complete the race in 1 hr 17 minutes, which I’m so proud of. Now I feel fitter and stronger than ever and hope to improve my running and fitness in time and build up to a quicker time.

After surgery I had to learn how to walk again, so after all I’ve been through with my back I’m really not bothered about being the fastest. I’m just grateful that I can be IN a race at all.

It just goes to show that even after scoliosis surgery I can do anything I put my mind to and I’m so proud of myself.

Now I’m more determined than ever, if you tell me I can’t, I’ll prove to you I CAN 😉

IMG_0171


Louise xx

Shine Night Walk

#ShineWalk for Cancer Research

On Saturday 27th September, I walked a full marathon (over night) along with 17,000 others to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Overall it was 26.2 miles and I walked for 10 hours straight from 9pm – 7am!

It was the first time I’d ever done the Shine Walk and it was tough. To be honest I didn’t realise how hard it would be, I had been following a training plan and doing lots of long walks for the past 6 weeks and I consider myself relatively fit and active. However, I think as it was at night when my body is used to being asleep, which made it feel much harder and it was a bit of a shock to the system!

Walking for 10 hours straight takes it’s toll on your body and after a while the pain started to set in, my legs felt heavy and painful and my feet started to burn with pain.

Shine Walk Foot Rash
Shine Walk – Foot Rash 🙁

I also nearly collapsed after the event whilst waiting for a taxi due to sheer exhaustion and low blood sugar. The funny thing was though, through it all, my back didn’t hurt once!

The cheering, clapping volunteers and passers-by kept us going throughout and without them I’m not sure I could have carried on, not to mention the copious amounts of chocolate, snacks and refreshments en-route!

Shine Walk

The pain we went through that night though is nothing compared to those battling cancer and this is what I had to remember as I continued on through the pain, as well as over the next couple of days when I could barely walk!

The whole event raised 5 million pounds for Cancer Research and I’m so proud that I was part of it and proud of myself that I managed to walk for that distance, considering 4 years ago I could barely walk following my scoliosis surgery.

It shows how far I have come, and what is possible.



I hope to work myself up to actually running a marathon one day to support the Scoliosis Association and of course I’ll always continue to support Cancer Research UK and all their amazing work.

If you fancy sponsoring me for the Shine Walk event you can still do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/LouiseLaurie/ 🙂

Bye for now!

Louise x