When the pandemic arrived, I never really anticipated the impact it would have on my way of life. At first, my work as a Mountaineering Instructor came to a halt and I assumed it would just be a month or two before I was working back in the mountains. A few months later, I noticed toilet paper was being sold on the black market and Gwen down the road had started selling flour in paper bags out of her car boot. The chaos had exceeded my expectations to put it lightly.
For me and my girlfriend Kathryn we instantly went into
survival mode. Run, bake, exercise, and explore. That’s what we all did right?
Thankfully we have some amazing places on our doorstep here in North Wales and
whether it’s a run-up to the Great Orme to watch the sunset or a morning raid
in the Conwy hills, we can't really complain about where we live.
One of our favourite places to run to is a little ridge
called Penmaenbach Ridge or “Lockdown Arete” as it's become locally known. It's
nowhere near as big or epic as other Snowdonia scrambles like Tryfan or Crib
Goch but with driving for exercise banned here in Wales, were pretty lucky to
have this gem of a scramble just a short run from our home.
I suppose if I try and find some positives to take away from
this new way of life it would be the free time it gave us to explore our local
area. Before the pandemic, I drove past the ridge hundreds of times and it was
always one of those places you say you're going to go but never get round to.
The ridge has now become a weekly ritual to escape the reality of living
through the pandemic and a fairly good alternative to swiping through Facebook
or making the constant trips to the fridge in search of comfort.
Matt Cooper is a Montane Ambassador, Mountaineering Instructor, and owner of The Mountaineering Company. For more details about Matt and his life working in the mountains check out his website: