Today the hills look more like mountains and the light drizzle is refusing to be deterred by my waterproof jacket. Shivering, I push back the sleeve to look at the time on my wrist and I instantly feel disheartened. Despite it only being five in the morning the day already seems bleak and I start to dread what I have let myself in for. The brochures promised sunshine, blue skies and picturesque gentle hill walks. I had no idea that I would be up earlier than when I have to endure the daily commute through the city. This holiday was supposed to be a break from the daily grind but I just feel like an alien who has landed on the wrong planet.
I look across at Alan. His glasses are steamed up and rain is pouring down his face, scrunched up by his tightly pulled hood but I never seen him so bloody happy. Sometimes it is of great wonder to me how my husband and I ever managed to walk down the aisle with so little in common. Give me a large jug of sangria and a sun lounger by the pool over hill walking and rain any day.
The group gathers together under the tree and pull out their water proof maps, making sure they are stocked up on Kendal mint cake, plasters and flasks full of coffee.
“I hope by this point you have walked in your walking boots” heckles the guide and I question whether he is referring to me, the naughty girl at the back. Little does he know that my feet are already walked in thanks to years of pounding the streets in six inch heels, blisters have nothing on me.
“Today’s walk will start off with steady and gentle incline. After a few hours it will increase a little but if we keep at strolling pace we should be up and back down by tea time without too much strain.”
Alan joins me at the back still beaming.
“This is just perfect isn’t it?”
I would like to say ‘no’ and ‘get me back to the hotel and a hot brew’ but ever since he returned from hospital, Alan has been desperate to complete the walk he fondly remembers from his childhood. For the months we have compiled The List and this was placed as the first challenge. You could say people always compile mental lists of hopes and aspirations for their future. Although the intent is there, time and life somehow gets in the way. However now life and time are no longer a luxury to Alan and I and so The List has become our guide. Together we are clinging on to borrowed hours, days, months before we part. Now at the bottom of Snowdon, soaked through and shivering with cold there is nowhere else I’d rather be than with my husband. He takes my hand and smiles as we begin the climb up our mountain.