'The Day A Mountain Changed My Life' April winner: Jemima Letts

Published: 2nd October 2018

Discover the winning entries from our monthly writing competition capturing memorable mountain days.

Jemima Letts_credit STEWART TURTILL

Moel Tryfan is a small unassuming mountain.

It is only 429m high and its only claim to fame is that it shares its name with the bigger 3000ft Tryfan found above Dyffryn Ogwen. But I have discovered that a mountain doesn’t have to be big or famous to change your life.

In fact, just its very existence can be enough to change your entire outlook on the world. I confess that nothing spectacular happened the day I climbed Moel Tryfan. The weather was beautiful, I was well prepared and had wonderful company. The walk to the summit was a leisurely one, meandering slowly upwards until we reached the trig point. Then we simply sat for a while and watched the sun set into the sea. But although the walk was a normal one, the thoughts going through my mind were not.

Prior to that walk, I had become ill. Ill enough to keep me from visiting the mountains and conquering their summits. Back in the real world, I had become just a number on a waiting list. I felt tired and broken and nerve-shaken. I ceased to be human. But that day, stood on top of that mountain, I couldn’t have felt more alive. Everything felt more meaningful and I realised that a mountain isn’t something to be conquered – it is something to cherish.

We became part of the mountain, a part of the landscape and it was the most wonderful feeling in all the world. It made me realise that money and possessions and material things are not what are important. I want to be rich with experiences and friends, not money and things.

I aspire to stand proud like Moel Tryfan. A mountain, in a way, is a metaphor for life. I am no intrepid adventurer, risking life and limb to reach new heights. I am just an ordinary person, trying to get through the hard times, which inevitably hit us all, with the mountains as my backdrop.

Climbing up mountains reminds me that even though there are tough times, they don’t last forever, and that our suffering isn’t in vain, if only for the view we get once we reach the top. I find comfort in the knowledge that one day I will return, because the mountains are where I belong.

Photo credit: Stewart Turtill

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Our monthly writing competition, in association with TRAIL magazine and Mountain Equipment, aims to showcase talented writers inspired by mountain landscapes. 

Moved to share your own life-changing mountain story? Why not enter the competition for your chance to become a published writer and win Mountain Equipment kit.