Remember Your First Proper Adventure?

We’ve all got to start somewhere!

Do you remember your first proper adventure? For me, it was when I was 12 years old on a school trip to the Lake District. The plan was fairly ambitious – for a bunch of 12 year olds who had never climbed a mountain before!

We planned to tackle three mountains; the classic trio of ‘The Old Man’ of Conniston, Scafell Pike and the notorious Helvellyn & Striding Edge.  These are three of our Nation’s finest mountain walks and should be on the tick list of every young adventurer. Well, that is of course unless there’s a week of torrential rain and gale force winds forecast, as you’ll find out below!

Back to where it all began!

Last winter, and almost 20 years on, I decided to head back to where it all began and retrace my original route up the very same three mountains! Despite climbing extensively in all of the UK’s mountainous regions over the past 15 years, the nostalgia of being 12 again all came flooding back like it was only yesterday. I instantly rekindled my first love for adventure – not that I ever lost it of course! Here’s how it all began, along with a few pictures from my recent trip………

Helvellyn Approach

Day 1 – Meeting ‘The Old Man’

Now, for those of you who’ve worked with young people in the outdoors before will know, wind and rain aren’t the most conducive conditions to instil a love for adventure. Quite the opposite in fact. As a result, my very first time up a mountain was probably one of the most miserable experiences of my life!

Within an hour of stepping off the minibus at the Conniston car park I was completely soaked! The Outdoor Centre-provided blue kagool did little to keep out a single drop of rain and my kite-like rucksack raincover sent me flailing down nearby grassy banks on at least three occasions. When we did eventually reach the summit, it was during what seemed like the middle of a hurricane! The only good bit about the whole experience was getting back to the minibus at the end of the day. That was, of course, until I was filled with dread at the thought of having to repeat this awful process for another two days on the trot!

Helvellyn GulleyDay 2 – Scafell & Hair Gel

The following day we climbed to the summit of the highest mountain in England; Scafell Pike. Surely the top of every young boy’s wish list!  Well, not when you’re struggling to even see your hand in front of your face – not just because of the torrents of water flowing into my eyes, but because with it was carried half a tub of luminous blue 99p hair gel that was now blinding me with excruciating agony!

Day 3 – Boiled Eggs & Soggy Pasties!

On the final day the usual fear of impending doom took hold again during breakfast, which consisted of a bowl of wallpaper paste, a peach Melba yogurt and a boiled egg. Or was the boiled egg for lunch to accompany the pasty-looking object in my lunch bag? Either way, I think it’s fair to say that I was lacking a degree of enthusiasm that day.

The plan was to climb Helvellyn via the classic Swirral Edge and back down over Striding Edge.  Our Mountain Leader was positively buzzing about the prospect – little of which rubbed off on the rest of us.

Passing Red Tarn, we began to scramble up the steeper ground towards the rocky escarpments of the Swirral Edge ridge.  This was the first time I’d needed to use my hands to drag myself up, continuing over similarly precarious ground to the top of Helvellyn. On several occasions, I found myself clinging on for dear life over what seemed to be a plummet to certain death! Now this was starting to get exciting!

When we finally grappled our way onto Helvellyn’s summit plateau, out of nowhere the cloud suddenly lifted and I was presented with one of the most awesome views of my entire life. I found myself completely surrounded by the most rugged landscape. I could see the ground we had just covered and it seemed unimaginable that we had climbed such a gnarly-looking route. This is what I had come here for! It was during that very moment that my life-long passion for adventure was born. The bond was sealed with a well deserved boiled egg and soggy pasty!

Helvellyn Summit

Inspired?

So, back to my original question – Do you remember your first proper adventure? If so, have you been back yet? If this post has inspired you to get back and do it again, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Happy Adventuring……..

6 Responses to “Remember Your First Proper Adventure?

  • Thanks for rejuvenating us and motivating us for a life that every person wants to live! You had a really great experience and I wish you good luck for your upcoming adventures.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Awesome blog and Pictures. thanks for sharing and inspiring us.

  • Thanks for an inspiring story! I can still remember my first “adventure” very clearly. It was a classic Vallee Blanche tour in Chamonix, France on a snowboard. Usually, it’s an easy ride down, but on that day conditions went quickly bad and snowboard is not the best option on flat ground (and during the bad weather). At the end, we made it safely down to the valley, but it’s definitely an experience to remember.

  • Awesome pictures dude you seriously inspires me.

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