On Saturday 18th August, an army of volunteers from the international charity ‘Your Seva’ assembled in the early morning dew and mist of the Snowdonia National Park ready to trek to the top of Wales’ highest mountain.
Among them were Precision Ceramics Quality Manager, Prubhjyot Singh, and his younger brother, Gobind, who, like the other volunteers from the Birmingham and Wolverhampton areas, had not only worked hard to improve their fitness for the assault, but had already raised a considerable amount of money for the charity through sponsorship.
Prubhjyot – or Joity as he is more commonly known to his work colleagues – recalls …
“When I was first asked to join the Snowdon challenge, my first thought was that my fitness levels were not sufficient to trek up a mountain.
Having shared the invitation with my circle of friends, there was a lot of interest and within a few days, three of them had signed up for the challenge, and so the pressure was on me to do the same.
After signing up myself and with only a month to go, I started to research routes, distances and times and embarked on an intensive fitness regime at the gym to get myself into shape
Being a charity event, I also set myself a target to raise sponsorship of £200. Within a week, I had secured £120 and in a final push before the challenge, I had hit my target.”
Your Seva is a charity inspired by the teachings of Guru Nanak that works towards eradicating poverty. By enabling people to positively contribute to society, the charity aims to help those who are less fortunate and work together to directly tackle poverty and provide aid to impoverished families. By providing a helping hand, the charity can empower families that live in poverty to develop the resources necessary so that they can break the cycle of poverty.
Your Seva is based on the Sikh principle of Seva: being selfless by taking responsibility and actively contributing to the betterment of humanity by effecting positive social change.
“On the day of the challenge, having got up early and made our way to the pickup point, my brother and I travelled to Snowdon with our fellow volunteers by coach. On arrival, the weather looked reasonable and the plan was for each of us to trek up the mountain in our own time but at 1.00 p.m., regardless of wherever we’d got to, to start making our way back down again.
We had opted to take the Llanberis Path up the mountain which is probably the most popular and easiest way to get to the top. In normal weather, it poses no problems for the fit walker with even the navigation being reasonably easy. This said, the initial stages really test your mental strength with a very steep road but after this, things start to get easier and there are some breath-taking views to enjoy. The path to half way house is not too strenuous as long as you pace yourself and the views get better as you climb higher However as we approached this stage, we could see the cloud starting to drift in above us. Soon after, the visibility started to drop and the wind picked up. Once the mist set in, the climb got much tougher and with virtually no visibility, it was hard to tell if the path was getting easier or harder, so we started to pace ourselves, setting targets by selecting certain rocks we could see as markers or taking 25 steps and then taking a break.
The toughest part of the trek was after we hit the ridge which is where you pass under a bridge carrying the Snowdon mountain railway track. The wind picked up and the mist was really starting to soak us but with our waterproofs fully zipped up, we pushed on to the summit with only an hour to go before the 1.00 p.m. deadline for coming back down again. This part of the trek was all about ‘mind over matter’. Our legs were hurting with some cramping but there was no way we were going to give up now. We asked a group coming down how much longer we needed to get to the top and were told about 15 to 20 minutes – “once you hit the steps, just push through” they advised. Now we had a target in mind; ‘the steps’. Let’s get there!
From here, we paced ourselves and only had ‘the steps’ on our minds, supporting each other all the way. Having made it to the junction where several of the paths up the mountain meet, the steps were just up ahead. This is where the legs were really starting to feel the pain. The quads were sore and cramp was setting in. However, we could see the top now and that was the boost we needed. We pushed on, a step at a time, and once there, it was such an amazing feeling to finally reach the summit even though we couldn’t see anything around us!
We had been told that the views from the top were stunningly beautiful so it was a little disappointing that we couldn’t enjoy them for ourselves. But we had done it! The challenge to climb to the top of the highest mountain in Wales had been well and truly met and all that remained to do was take some group photos, grab a nice hot drink from the café and make our way down again.