What a week (the right week) away!
I know most of this is of little relevance to a football forum, and one about Portsmouth Football Club, but the following account does - to a degree - incorporate some Pompey thoughts during a week-long account of some time away...
Saturday 21st May
Chances are nothing would happen this week but it seemed typical of all the weeks to go away it 'could' have been the week that the takeover finally went through that I went away. Being away was a doubly bad thing as Jonathan (one of the Vital Football directors) was also away so I could not really fill in for him in his absence.
Hey ho, at least when I was away climbing up and trekking along the mountains of North Wales I would not have the mass 'rumours' and 'speculation' to deal with in the build up to, and then fall out of, any would be CSI takeover...
It must have been a little after 9am when Petula (Dave's (Trina's Dad) partner) arrived for us, Llanberis here we came. The plan was to arrive in the mid-late afternoon have a little look around the town perhaps, as it was my first visit, and then do a big shop for the week. The looking round part did not happen, due to heavy rain, but the shopping did with few plans made for the Sunday as the weather was not expected to be that good really.
Sunday 22nd May
At least the rain had stopped, on the whole, but it was windy as anything and quite overcast so the chances of anything happening today (the danger factor due to wind and rain) was limited. Fortunately I got quite a good reception on my phone so I could check t'internet frequently and it was on this that I noticed Chixy's interesting kit debate article, most enjoyable. No other news of any note was around quite early on Sunday though.
'Policing comments' is what we call checking through the comments made on front page articles to ensure that they are suitable, I was also able to do a little of this through my phone too, not just on Vital Pompey but throughout the network.
As the rain had pretty much gone by mid-late morning we (Trina, Petula, Dave and I) went into town to checkout the inaugural Llanberis triathlon, this was fascinating. Around midday, with the boys (Petula's two David and Stephen and their friend Ben) now up and a live we set out for our first trek of the week, a nearby walk and 'easy' one by all accounts...
(One of the first views from the Moel Eilio ascent.)
Moel Eilio was pretty close to us so off we set - it was quite a slog, and relentless slog, up the hill but it was worth it and this was a good way to kick things off, most enjoyable. Bar one brief downpour we had pretty good weather and saw some beautiful scenery. Tuna Lasagne was cooked by myself, with the help of my aide Trina, for the troop that night and this went down well.
(Another of the fine views from on-high.)
Pompey news for the remainder of this day was thin on the ground, we at least found out who would join us in the no power championship next season as a dramatic looking final day of the season was witnessed by us all on MOTD that evening when Blackpool and Birmingham slipped out of 'the big time'...
Monday 23rd May
The torrential rain and gail force winds forecast arrived. 'If' it cleared up in the afternoon we had a short walk planned but this was looking unlikely though and anything too exuberant was out of the question as it was far too dangerous!
Thankfully the conditions did improve so Petula, Dave, Trina and I drove up to Peny-y-pass in mid afternoon and took the Miners Track, I think I would be right in saying, basically we then went along the South East Ridge, Y Gribin, Glaslyn kind of area (technically a little bit up the ascent to Snowdon) before heading back to the car along the Pyg Track. So, a short walk turned into something a little more but it was well worth it.
This was awesome, climbing around rocks and jumping around saw me in my element, fantastic stuff!
A cracking sausage casserole with pasta and rice went down a treat and would really boost the energy levels, as we would need them as our first monster - the first of the 3000 ft mountain climbs was planned! - the next day, all being well... The evening was spent talking football with David. Exeter (his team) and Pompey were discussed a lot.
Speaking of Pompey and football I confess that I took little notice of any news today as I switched off almost entirely, although I had noticed - and also got a text through about this - that a trio of loanees from last season were being chased and that the released Marlon Pack had signed for Cheltenham, good luck to the guy.
Tuesday 24th May
The 'big one' today, well one of them anyway. The 3002 ft ascent up Tryfan was taken on. I cannot lie I felt the nerves as we started the climb up the North Ridge. These nerves turned into fear early on as I made the mistake of looking back when not really having a very solid stance, and that was a mistake! Alas I pushed on and overcame that to really enjoy. In their words I was 'a natural' and I made some of the difficult looking climbs 'easy'. The Cannon was reached and but for a group, which contained a load of people, I would have gone on this with Trina as Ben and Stephen had. I genuinely was going up!
Onwards and upwards to the summit, the Adam and Eve rocks, Tryfan's summit rocks, were reached. A milestone for Dave as he had been trying to reach this for some 12-years or so but each time was being denied by this, that or the other. A couple had just got engaged so we congratulated them. Ben and Stephen again climbed up onto the top of these and both leapt from one to the other. They are only around a metre apart but when you are 3000 ft up, you have a bit of wind around you and a mistimed jump 'could', in fact probably would, see you plummet to your death you need strong nerves to attempt this. I was NEVER going to jump across the gap but did want to go up but Dave and Trina would not let me...
(Ben, myself and Stephen at the Adam and Eve rocks, Tryfan's summit.)
Down the other side and then it was the route via Bristly Ridge or the 'Alternative Route' up the scree slopes and a decent ascending climb. Ben and Stephen took Bristly Ridge the rest of us the alternative route - next time I would definitely do Bristly, although I loved the climb we took do not get me wrong.
(Trina and I at the Cantilever Stone.)
Reaching the Cantilever Stone was brilliant, getting a few group photos on top of this fantastic. The wind was amazingly strong and it was bitterly cold on top of this but it was amazing, as were views from (and on the way up) Tryfan and going across The Glyders before making our way down the Twll Du (Devils Kitchen) path. Some of the views and sights were magical, I cannot put into words.
The whole thing was awesome, I was well and truly hooked - nerves, which turned into fear soon turned into jubilation, I loved it the experience was awesome, one of the best things ever and I could not wait until the next one, which would be the monster of all monsters the following day! To top off the near perfect day it was curry, does it get much better...
Wednesday 25th May
Snowdon was on the menu, and what a feast!
Rather than drive up we took one of the Sherpa buses from Llanberis town centre to Peny-y-pass and then it was along the Pyg Track, so in many ways kind of the reverse of the route we came back along from a bit of the walk we did the other day. David had to turn back due to a bad knee, when climbing Snowdon you do not want a dodgy knee, as Ben and Stephen took the Crib Goch approach. I, whilst really enjoying things and feeling confident thought it best not to push my luck, stayed the route we were and slogged on to the summit, some 3560 ft of it!
(A cold Trina at the Snowdon summit.)
The views were unbelievable and when you reached the top to be able to look around and see what you could it was something else, unbelievable...
(Another example of the glorious views.)
Next was the decent, the scree slopes were not liked by all but I really enjoyed these as I did some of the ridges, a few pretty narrow and with little room for error. I thought Dave had fallen at one point and went back looking for him, long story short he had not and went an easier route. Y Lliwedd had also been conquered, the views from the top here were as good as anything - it might not be as 'glam' as some of its bigger brothers and sisters but my word was the scenery fantastic!
(View of the Y Lliwedd ridges where I thought we lost Dave!)
After descending more scree slopes it was the Miners Track back to Peny-y-pass to catch our bus.
It was along this walk, when Petula had motored on ahead and Trina edged some way ahead also, that I had 'that conversation' with Dave to see what his views would be on me asking Trina to marry me. This is something I had thought long and hard about for some time and he was more than happy for me to do this when I felt the time was right, so I at least knew I had overcome that, I just wanted to find my right time now...
Thursday 26th May
Not a good day weather wise so little was planned. Having done back-to-back 3000 ft mountains having a bit of a 'rest day' might not have been the worst thing anyway, although I was getting itchy feet as I wanted to do more as I had caught the bug!
Between showers Triny and I went into town to have a bit of a look around and get some gifts for people then suddenly, out of nowhere, at the spar shop of all places she announced 'I heard something you told Dad yesterday!' My heart sank as I did not think it possible she could have overheard us as she was way ahead, the girl must have ears like a bloody bat or something.
It was in no way the way I had it planned or thought I wanted it, coming back from the spar shop in Llanberis, but it was there that I uttered the words 'will you marry me?'
She freaked out, I got a 'erm, no, I mean yes, I don't know, maybe, I am not saying no' reaction, so I just said forget about it for now...
As the afternoon cleared up Dave, Petula, Trina and I decided to go out for a bit so jumped into the car and drove to a small nearby village and did a walk along the river at Beddgelert. There is a story surrounding this area and a grave that marks the events, one that is well worth researching.
We simply did the walk along the river, and then back along and it was on the way back when talking about the River Erme in Ivybridge, where I used to live, and how I would like us to do this when we next went back to see me folks, that Trina turned round to me and said 'did you mean what you said earlier about wanting to marry me?' I of course said I did and it was then that she officially accepted my proposal, we had got engaged!
(River through Beddgelert where Trina said 'yes!')
As for the Pompey world, again nothing really was going on. Steve Cotterill again said that he expected Dave Nugent to leave and Chixy was planning his 'Chew the fat with Chix' debate, which I suspected would be good as always, bit little was going on...
Friday 27th May
So, the final day was here - the boys were going home that night as they had to work on the Saturday but we still had one more monster planned, another 3000 ft plus ascent. Carnedd Llewelyn, all 3484 ft of it, was being tackled to finish off and I could not wait. Injury again ruled out David and a groin problem picked up by Ben saw him drop out in the morning too but Stephen still came along, which was good.
This was quite a slog at first, a few bits of climbing that I really liked before it evened itself out for a large period before one final uphill slog to find the summit. It was here that we were surprised by Dave and Petula producing a bottle of bubbly to celebrate mine and Trina's engagement, quite a pleasant surprise although this went right to Tu's head, which was hilarious.
It was pretty foggy for large periods of this walk so the views were not as spectacular as they could have been but it was good to again learn a little about the location, in relation to each other, of some of the mountains. Tryfan, the Glyders, Y Garn and Elidir Fawr (Electric Mountain) all pinpointed now.
(One of the final descents from the Carnedd Llewelyn walk.)
The descent was pleasant enough with a nice down hill climb needed at one point and another scree slope encountered, the climbing up and down ranks up with my favourite areas of the hiking scene. Boggy field were trekked across to finish off before the long slog along the main road back to the car to finish the weeks adventure, and what an adventure it was.
Another walk done and the boys now gone it was winding down time but the week was not quite done though as Dave and Petula took us out for a meal at The Heights Hotel to finish off. The Beer Battered Fish, triple fried chip, mushy peas and tartar sauce was delightful, quite a nice way to finish the week...
Saturday 28th May
That was it, time to come home...
With an accident on the M5, I think it was the M5, causing long delays this just made up our minds to take a longer route home to also help avoid the busy bank holiday travel so we went through Hereford before stopping off at Ross-On-Wye for a while, before eventually getting back home to tell Trina's Nan the good news and then it was champions league final to round off the week, and how good were Barcelona eh!
As for Pompey, David Norris looks like he is a done deal, another is 'said' be joining him and Steve Cotterill says we will be delighted with him, and other deals he has planned - still we wait for the takeover though...
So, what a fantastic week, well for me anyway!
If you had told me a year ago that I would have become as physically active as I have, started doing a lot more walking, cycling again and climbing up and trekking across mountains, let alone be engaged too I would not have believed you. Trina has changed my life entirely, and I love it, so it is little wonder I want to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her! She also has no objection to me going away for football, so long as I can afford it, so can it get any better!?
Football of course will always be the first port of call for me but I cannot wait until our next mountain adventure though, and would recommend this to anyone who has ever considered doing it, the rewards are so great. Roll on next year when we 'might' return to Llanberis ourselves as a couple, or we might even set off for The Lake District with Dave, Tu and the boys as a group again if they are going that way...
(The group: Trina, me, Dave, Petula, David, Stephen and Ben.)
PLAY UP POMPEY!