Sunday, 28 September 2008

Welshier than you

As far back as I can recall, I've had an inherent revulsion of racism. This was probably due to the judgement and preaching of Joe Strummer and Jake Burns and also because it always seemed a bit daft to judge someone without knowing them. I've also hated tribalism mainly because I was terrified of the thought of getting caught in the middle of tribal argy bargee. Its so obviously shite when you consider the following 
Our street hates your street - fight (get all kids from street on same team now)
Our estate hates your estate - fight etc
Our school hates your school - fight etc
Our footy team is better than yours etc
North v South
Country v Country
Colour v Colour

Real and total utter B**** for the BNP lot I really just don't get it.

Just looking forward to seeing their reaction when the inhabitants of Planet Zarg turn out for punch up.

I'm not claiming all prejudice is unfair I think religion preaches it and should have some back and I came across this on a blogsite I read, it made me laugh, if you are easily offended by swearing don't read the next bit

Without wishing to offend anyone’s religious sensibilities, fuck you, fuck your infantile fairytales, and fuck right off and snivel yourself to sleep in the dark of your bedroom, coddled in your childish fantasies that we have some sort of privileged places in the universe, that anyone gives a fuck about your fucking feelings and that you won’t die and rot like every other living thing on Earth. You fucking baby.

Its a music blogsite !!

The relevance of this lays in the conversation with Shad (he's Welsh and lived there so he's allowed an opinion on Wales) during our trip up a few Welsh mountains. Today's race has been moved from the rather pretty but no challenge whatsoever Chrome Hill over to Snowdonia where they have real mountains. I never realised just how close we live to the Welsh Mountains, so this is likely to be the first of many. I managed to find a reasonable 5 hour walk which included some scrambling and ridge walking but more importantly an immediate and sustained treck to the top of a huge hill.

Tiny people all over the path

You just know its going to be a great day when your mate gets into the car and opens the conversation with ' I was ferreting last weekend and I know all the techniques now'.

The trip to Snowdonia was a complete education in Shads past and the history of North Wales 1975 to 2008 which basically seems a round of tribalism and racism towards the English or even the Welsh if they spoke English. I loved the story where Shad moves town and goes into the newsagent to reserve The Times and Sheep Lovers United or something and asks in English. One of the folk serving is instructed in Welsh by another chap to say yes but to not bother getting them for the English person. Top marks for Shad for speaking to them in English for the next 6 months and not letting on.

The Welsh prejudice seems to be against everyone that isn't them, but more particularly English people, I'm sure not everyone in North West Wales is prjudiced despite what Shad tells me.

Two other points of note came to light on the car journey, one of Shads old schools was MOD run and breaks were taken in the bunkers. It now has a dual carriageway running through the middle of it which I guess is a change from most other schools or school fields which are now housing estates. Slight aside but when did an air gap of 3.2" qualify houses as being 'detached', I was in one of these 'detached' houses a few weeks ago when one of my pals pointed out we could here next doors music, blame marketing again I guess...tossers.

And the second thing is that Shad actually moved into an old people's home for about 6 months. There are so many questions I wanted to ask about this but sometimes things are better left in the past....I would love to know why he had to move out though. Perhaps he won all the prizes on sports day? Anyway back to the walk

Y Garn is pretty imposing from the railway station at Rhyd Ddu where we'd parked and you can clearly see the way to the top, which for once is basically straight up. Now as this was being build as I race you can be sure I had my tactics planned, I think Shad had turned up for a nice day out....bless. A pleasant 15 minute stroll to the point where the slope stats to climb severely and ....we're off. Well I was, I'd adopted British Olympic Rowing tactics which is basically go as fast as you can for as far as you can and leave everyone one else in bits behind you.....200 metres later Shads chucking in the nearest bush and its all over. I did wait a few times for him on the way up just to make sure he was ok and fair play it is about 1500ft straight up from the gate with no respite. Having huffed and puffed our way to the top it was as spectacular as anything I've climbed, with high risk droppy off bits all over the place. I'm claiming a 20 minute victory margin which doesn't really need a photo finish but here's one anyway.

At this point Shad out onlychilded me, he had brought a flask of tea for one and with only one cup.....git...shellfish flavour tea was it?. When he ran out of water later I even gave him half of mine just as a 'lets freak him' tactic.

The walk was going to get a whole lot more fun from here on in. 

The ridge we were going to climb has actually been responsible for a fair few injuries and a least one fatality and heck it looked so impressive. Its even impressive in the picture above once you notice the people in the bottom left.

It was the most fun I've had all year I think this was probably an adrenaline thing, but I was high as a kite once we'd got to the top. As it turned out we were actually higher than the clouds, this was great fun on the next ridge as we were enveloped by them as various times as they moved between valleys. 

A few of you will appreciate that descending can be even trickier than the ascent, and I really tried to switch my camera to video mode to capture this, but alas convulsions of laughter and real tears hindered me. Shad thought it would be much easier to sit on his sled width ass and slide down the mountain, the bouncing over the rocky outcrops and the screeches were hysterical. Now my pal Craig gets bored with blogs (actually anything including photo's) if he isn't in them and probably does 'CTR F search Craig' at the top of the page, so a short Craig story.And yes its like feeding chocolate to dogs again. 

Shads sliding reminded me of Craig's one and only and particularly rubbish attempt at snowboarding. 

Having been taken to some gentle slopes at the top of a hill in Austria and after about 10 minutes of falling down, Craig decided it would be much smarter to use the snowboard as a sledge. This would've been perfectly acceptable as the entertainment value to everyone else as he wrapped himself Sonny Bono style round a tree would have been huge. Unfortunately Craig neglected to strap the board to his leg and as he fell off, the board sped off at 100mph downhill in the fashion of a mobile guillotine. 

The sliding continued infrequently to the bottom of the 1.5km slope mainly due to a (claimed) twisted ankle. Having sorted out my training schedule I was still full of energy and ready for a sprint back until Murphy's law intervened. I texted Pam to say not to worry as we had done the dangerous part and were headed back, within 5 minutes I was mid air triple salko with pike and landing on my front on some really sharp slippy rocks. Ouch. The remainder of the walk was a steady downhill to the cars via a small waterfall, drinking sheep flavoured mountain water and past stones with directions for stupid people. Although as signposts they are a darn site cheaper than the road signs Cheshire CC are still putting up.

I really loved this walk and the future is now going to involve more Wales and a lot more scrambling

Militant Agnostic: I’m not sure and neither are you 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Some gentle slope at the top of a hill" !!!!

It was the top of a mountain in the Alps! The sort of place that people get helicoptered into and which, despite me never having stood on anything less stable than a set of scales, you reckoned I should have my first experience of snowboarding. Not in a lesson way though, just in a nailing the board to my feet and pointing downwards experience.

I should have known it was a bad idea when I had to dismount from the ski lift by being thrown off face downwards into the snow, narrowly avoiding a sharp blow to the back of the head from the next chair.

After going to ground more often in half an hour than Ronaldo does in a full season, using the snowboard as a luge was a masterstroke, flawed only by its tendency to pick up speed quicker than when its two for one in the amphetamine shop.

Snowdon looked good though, although ferreting sounds better. Our Zoe has one apparently (a ferret, not a mountain) so if we have any ferreting days on the horizon count me in and I'll bring it along. I dont think she would mind if it didnt make it home again. She views ferrets as I do tents.