'The Day A Mountain Changed My Life' May winner: Tim Smith

Published: 2nd October 2018

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

Tim Smith_credit TOM BAILEY

It was the summer of 1993, and we were on holiday in north Wales with our two young children, Natalie & Stephen.

After consulting the ‘things to do in north Wales’ leaflet, we decided to visit the Snowdon Mountain Railway. What we hadn’t considered was that it was the height of the season, and on arriving in Llanberis our hearts sank as the length of the queue snaking across the road from the booking office was revealed.

So it was decided that Gail & Stephen would enjoy the day in Llanberis, and Natalie (our 10-year-old) and I would walk to the summit of Snowdon.

Having never walked up a mountain before this was completely unknown territory for us both. And suffice to say it proved more arduous than a mountain with a ‘railway up it’ and a ‘café at the top’ had led us to believe.

The weather changed at the halfway point from ‘grey British Summer’ to ‘heavy Welsh mountain drizzle’ – and Natalie was not impressed. We arrived at the summit café wet and cold, and with Natalie adamant that she would “not be doing that again!”

But, somewhere deep in my subconscious, something had been stirred.

Maybe it was the momentary glimpses south-east into the misty valleys, with the glistening blue lakes sparkling far below, and the brooding greyness of the giant sleeping leviathan that is Snowdon, or the warm inner feeling of having achieved something different? Over the years I found I was being drawn back to the mountain again and again. I was captivated by the contrasting natural beauty and dark mystery of the place.

Every break in Wales was an excuse to explore another path to the summit.

Gradually I began to explore more mountains in the area, fascinated by their individual characters. In 2012 I completed the Welsh 3000ers and joined the Snowdonia Society.

In 2013 I left my office-based career and started my own business working outside.

I’ve taken up trail running and aspire to become a mountain leader.

I have made many new friends and enjoyed innumerable adventures in the mountains.

I didn’t know it that day, but it was the beginning of a love affair with the Welsh mountains that has changed my life forever. Thank you Snowdon.

Photo credit: Tom Bailey

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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.