Over the last few days I’ve started preparing a for Snowdon. Although it’s still a way off I’d rather not be completely crippled by the downhill element of the experience. In the absence of hills on my doorstep this has until now taken the shape of floor exercises such as lunges (which are really good for quadriceps).
However – lunges are boring.
Hills and views are not.
So today I’ve been clambering over a small portion of the Ilmington Downs. They’re in Ilmington.
I’ve never been here before – and I had absolutely zero idea that such a peaceful and beautiful village was just (relatively speaking) around the corner from me. It’s about as ‘chocolate box’ as it gets – and the whole place has a uniform, well built, heavy orange sandstone appearance that runs through all of the cottages, the local pub and the lovely 12th century (St Mary the Virgin) parish church.
As we passed the (12th century) church on the way to the uppy and downy puffy panty exercise I couldn’t help but pop inside and have a look at the stained glass.
Sadly there wasn’t all that much to speak of – but it was pleasing to see that this is clearly a VERY well kept building inside that has a surprising sense of scale – particularly given the teeny size of the local population. It was apparently (according to the plaque above the door inside) ‘enlarged, repaired and renewed’ in 1846 and I think this is why it’s much bigger than one would normally expect for a building of it’s age and number of parishioners.
It’s fair to say though that it’s still a little unusual to see such a humungous organ in a building of this size – but there it was, trying to hide from view, tucking itself nonchalantly into the corner and hoping no-one would spot it.
It was only with my acutely keen eyesight that I picked it out from between the pews either side.
I almost missed it.
If the dimensions of such an instrument are enough to gauge its acoustic capability I think we can safely say that this particular church is capable of catering for the auditory needs of the hard of hearing, completely deaf and recently deceased – all of whom should have no difficulty humming along with the hymns while their eardrums begin to rupture.
However – the church was a pit stop on the way to beautiful views, which initially at least were on some quite modest gradients. Before we knew it (after about 10-15 minutes) we were already in a pretty good position to check out the sprawling views of the local countryside.
For the last two days however it’s been raining a little – so although we had a pretty nice vista to keep us interested it’s fair to say that we both found (to differing degrees) that wet legs and feet were just going to be a feature of our day.
I was definitely glad that (for no particular reason other than chance) the other day I’d applied a waterproof spray to the outside of my (suede) walking boots.
It’s proven something to me though (although I didn’t need convincing really – it’s just the associated cost) that for Snowdon I need a non-cotton pair of walking trousers that will breathe well and quickly dry, along with a pair of waterproof over trousers.
Today the legs of our jeans (and therefore socks) were soaked.
I’ve resisted buying these so far mostly because of continued weight loss but also (it being summer) they won’t get much use before they’re too big for me. So far I’ve not managed to find any pairs of either one that crosses the cost/comfort/utility divides in a way that makes me want to open my wallet.
My current thinking is that I’m going to buy them closer to the time, and then I may get more use out of them as autumn and winter arrive.
Thankfully the entirety of our route today wasn’t through sodden fields and long grass. After a while we emerged onto some pretty deserted and tranquil country lanes, that seemed at one point to just go up, and up and up. However – my peak heart rate didn’t seem to go much over 105 bpm the whole time – which I think is a pretty good level of fitness.
I’m not really all that bothered by uphill gradients these days – which is sometimes more than a little weird because I remember my heart pounding like a drum in my chest a year ago purely because I went upstairs to go to the toilet. Quite often back then I saw spots in front of my eyes and heard the the distant beating of a heart shaped drum in my ears as I sat on the loo…
Things have definitely changed for the better. The worst that happened today was I had to take my jacket off because I was getting a little warm.
In total our walk was around 5.15 (relatively leisurely) miles and it’s safe to say that both myself and my companion today felt like we’d had some exercise. However – I was looking at my exercise app after we’d finished and the elevation made me stop and think for a moment.
Today represented 673 ft (205m) of climbing – which made me check again what this is in comparison to my upcoming objective.
It’s around one sixth – as Snowdon is 3,568 ft (1,088 m) above sea level.
However – the Miner’s track (our chosen route to the top) starts at 1,150 ft (350m) and the route down (via the easier gradient of the Llanberis path following the mountain railway) terminates at 344 ft (105m).
This means that our ascent will be around five times what I did today and the descent slightly longer – but crucially also less likely to grind my knees into dust.
My preparation continues internet. Hopefully I can also keep losing a good amount of weight at the same time. If I can that will definitely help make it a more pleasant experience!
I can’t believe its already Wednesday! Only two more days till my next weigh in…
More news as it comes!