"We'd been talking about it for years: occasional daydreams, chats in the pub, throwaway allusions to this made-up event... I'm not sure we ever thought we'd actually do it. We probably shouldn't have tried..."
But try they did. Three men, two generations, one dream: to climb Snowdon three times in one day, traversing each of the six established tracks. Sounds easy, right?
Originally conceived as a ceremonial event to celebrate the 60th birthday of Dr John Nudds, seasoned fell runner and stand-up bloke, the epic undertaking pushed JRN and his sons, Rob and Tim, to the limits of, perhaps not physical endurance, but mental anguish.
The temptation to quit faces you at the end of each track (the Llanberis rail service will tempt the weak-willed at every summit). There is no escaping the possibility of escape. And to be offered relief five times and carry on in spite of the cramps, strains, fatigue and discomfort, takes real guts.
They made it, by the way. So if they can, why can't you?
There are a lot of things to consider when attempting the Snowdon Six Challenge such as tactics, pacing, how many eggs, if any, you should eat before you set off (John says zero; Rob says at least 3)...
Here are our top tips for a successful and enjoyable day out:
1: Stay at the CWELLYN ARMS BUNKHOUSE. The Bunkhouse is the official starting point of the challenge. Additionally, the first descent (of the Ranger) should be modified to take you back there where you can refuel and load up your bags.
2: When you set off from the Bunkhouse for the second time, pack your bags with as much food and water as you think you will need to complete the four remaining tracks.
3: The day before you attempt the event, drive your second car to the foot of the Llanberis Path so you will be able to get home.
4: Head up to the Pen-Y-Pass Car Park en route to Llanberis and hide a couple of litres of water behind one of the dry stone walls. You'll be passing through the Car Park after your second descent (The Miners').
5: Ensure you have a change of clothes to hand should the heavens open and soak you to the bone.
As it stands, the SnowdonSix is just a free-for-all challenge devised by one family of mountain runners. In the future, though, we'd love for the SnowdonSix challenge to be an official race, held over a day (or maybe even a weekend if staggered starts were necessary), contested between teams from across the British Isles, each representing their local Mountain Rescue Service.
Our suggestion would be that each team raises a set amount of money for their organisation to qualify for entry, at which time a fee would be paid to the organisers to cover insurance, equipment, and prizes etcetera.
Before we committ ourselves to many long, sleepless nights dedicated to the exhaustive planning of an event of this scale, we firstly want to officialise the route. and gain some feedback from recreational walkers who feel like tackling the challenge.
So watch this space for more news, but in the meantime, why not join our mailing list, have a go at the event, and get in touch with us with your thoughts and feelings regarding the route.
A couple of years ago, we decided the Snowdon Six challenge needed an official handbook, so we set about writing it immediately. Two years later, it is almost finished - perennially delayed by having to go to work (yuck) every so often, and the decision to expand the project to include almost 60 illustrations, and a whole hosts of local legends, and reviews of the legendary drinking holes in which these stories are told.
We'll be running a Kickstarter campaign in 2018 to bring the Snowdon Six handbook to life. Please make sure you back us when the time comes!
Thanks to all for your patience and support.
The S6 team.