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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Isy Lynch: Adventures in Snowdonia

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    01 Dec
    A view from Mount Snowden to a lake down below. The sun is shining on the mountain ranges, with wisps of cloud on some of the summits.

    I have always loved travelling and had dreamed of taking a few months to explore Asia, a continent I have never visited before. Unfortunately, I found myself coming to the realisation that it wouldn’t be possible to do that any time soon because of the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and I would have to look closer to home to fulfil my travelling desires.

    Wales seemed to be the perfect place to go – it wasn’t too away but it is also home to beautiful, mountainous landscapes and not to mention, the fastest zip wire in the world. So an adventure-packed five days was planned and off we went.

    On the first day, we went white water rafting. This consists of paddling a raft down a river with patches of white or rough water, and it is an excellent opportunity to improve teamwork skills. We had to learn to work with 4 other strangers to make sure we paddled in time with each other and reached a good speed. We must have been doing something right since we ended up beating another raft in a race! This was a great experience and tested my stability to stay in the raft and definitely worked my core a little too.

    The next day was the big day for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and dealing with heights. We turned up nice and early to Penrhyn Quarry and watched as little dots in the distance flew towards us, eventually becoming people-shaped figures reaching the landing zone. I was excited but also a little nervous. We then checked in, were weighed, and given funky apron-like outfits and harnesses to wear that would allow us to be attached to the wire. After a little safety briefing, we were taken over to the start point and waited for it be our turn. As I got nearer to the front of the queue, my nerves increased, and my heart started beating faster and faster.

    Finally, it was my turn to go. I had to climb onto a red block and lie on my stomach, but there was nothing between the end of this red block and the edge of the quarry.

    I was nervous as I tried to slide myself onto the block and the staff clipped me in. Then the block started to lower so the only thing holding me was the cable and the wire. My heart was beating harder, and I tried to breathe to calm my nerves.

    The staff counted down from three in Welsh and… whoosh! We were off, flying across a quarry.

    It was lots of fun and well worth the nerves, but the zip wire was short and couldn’t have been the fastest in the world… That’s when we realised that it was just the beginning! The real (and much bigger) one was a 15-minute truck journey away to the very top of the quarry and we did the whole thing again.

    The second time was even scarier but also even more rewarding. I was really glad that I could overcome my fears of being so high and experience the joys of soaring through the air at 118mph.

    We decided to take up a more physical challenge for the following day – climbing Mount Snowdon. Thinking that it would just be too easy to take the Llanberis Path, we chose to go up the Pyg Track instead. Only 20 minutes in, we had been climbing steep rocks that mostly resembled something like a path and were wondering whether it had actually been 40 minutes instead. However, the views were just stunning and made the journey worth it. We were determined to make it all the way to the top.

    The feeling when we reached the top was incredible. I felt so proud that I had made it there and pushed myself by taking the not-so-simple route. And I definitely felt the work that it had taken to make it. But it wasn’t over yet! My perseverance and stamina was really put to the test when we realised we still had to climb all the way back down.

    The final days of the holiday were a well-deserved rest after all the adventures! I had an amazing time and was really able to grow and develop as a person through the activities that I undertook, which was all made possible by Gateway.

    Isy Lynch
    Undergraduate student, Computer Sciences