Home / Destinations / Europe / Let the Kilimanjaro Preparation Begin: A Scramble up Snowdon

Let the Kilimanjaro Preparation Begin: A Scramble up Snowdon

Preparing for Kilimanjaro

A friend of mine, Angela, heads to Kilimanjaro in September. As part of her preparation, she invited me to go on a training walk to Snowdon. Now Jason and I have taken the plunge, and booked our own Kili challenge, I didn’t take much persuading.

Walks on Snowdon
Preparing for our Kilimanjaro challenge

On the Edge

This was to be no normal walk up Snowdon however. Oh no, in the interests of making it as realistic as possible, Dave our guide, has us scampering (or crawling in my case) up craggy hillsides, clambering over rocks and slate and wading through bogs and waterfalls. This is no walk in the park!

Why am I doing this?

I am seriously doubting the wisdom of my commitment to Kilimanjaro, as late in the morning, I find myself out of breath and in danger of cramping up. I curse Angela for urging me to come along, and myself for not bothering to question what was in store for me. After all, Snowdon has a perfectly acceptable, sensible path to the top. Surely any sane person would opt for that route?

Preparing for Kilimanjaro
Trekking past waterfalls

Dave is clearly insane!

Small problem! It seems Dave is not quite so sane! Firstly, he has summited Kilimanjaro not once, but 47 times!! Wowsers!! Furthermore, he has innocently agreed to take me on a walking trip which involves large drops, a lot of ups (‘just one more little up‘, Dave, we know!) and sliding down wet rocks on my bum. Let me tell you, a wet ass and skin tight running leggings is not a combination you should try! It is also liable to transform sweet little me into a scary grump!

This calming, good-natured chap seems to take everything in his stride however, meeting mutinies (NO MORE UPS, Dave), mini meltdown threats (see Tunnels of terror for more) and endless calamities (Angela!) with reassuring calm and the odd sarcastic comment.

Snowdon views
Just one of many walks we scrambled over

Invaluable insight

For anyone considering a trip to Kilimanjaro, Dave’s training walks are a wealth of invaluable information that will help you prepare for the challenge of a lifetime. You will have the chance to make new friends, improve your fitness and test your body. Although our challenge is some considerable time in the future, I know I have a tendency to pick up repeat injuries and strains in my back, and calves. This was abundantly clear to me during the steeper sections of the climb and reminds me that I will need to focus more on yoga and strength building than just pure running sessions!

A walk may help you find your own achilles heel. Better to identify it in safe territory and give you ample opportunity to overcome it.

Training for Kilimanjaro
Summit celebrations – Photo credit: Dave Pickles

Kit advice

In addition, Dave shares advice and tips on how to pack a bag (please can you educate Jason!) and what items you must not leave without. He knows how to turn an unassuming travel accessory into a fashion icon, and does a mean passive stretch to ease those screaming calves! He even gallantly ties shoelaces!! I’m actually a bit gutted that I didn’t join one of his walks before we booked our Kili trip!

Snowdon walk
Setting the fashion world alight with this head wear! (Photo: Edge Travel Worldwide)

Back to nature

If you opt for a Snowdon walk, you will likely take in some isolated routes. We saw a mere handful of other hikers during our obstacle course trek! We were fortunate enough, that despite the odd shower, the weather remained clear, and we enjoyed stunning views of Anglesey and the valleys.

Preparing for Kilimanjaro
Snowdonia mountain views

Of course, given the off the beaten track route we followed, you won’t get to enjoy a steaming mug in the Snowdon cafe, or a pint over lunch in a Snowdonian pub. Your ‘bathroom’ is mother nature’s living room (best get used to it right?) and your shelter is any wall or rock you can find. Even in summer, it is a good idea to bring a hat and gloves!

Why you should join a training walk

Now joking aside, I highly recommend joining one of Dave’s walks. Hell, if you are thinking about ticking Kilimanjaro off your bucket list, go ahead and book the whole shebang with him. This guys knows his stuff and even if you have no desire to go to Africa, you will still have a great day out with like-minded people, who quickly bond over botty burps and shared misery! I am definitely going back for more (‘sadist‘, says my alter ego!).

Snowdon scenery
Making new friends (Photo: Edge Travel Worldwide)
Trekking preparation
Snowdon views

A personal plea

As many of you may know, Jason and I are climbing Kilimanjaro on behalf of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. The Himalaya of fund-raising efforts sits between us and Africa, so if you can find it in your heart to give even a £1, I would be so so grateful.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Alternatively, if you are based in the UK and fancy coming along to our Black Tie and Tiaras Charity Ball, just get in touch. It is going to be a suave affair, and an opportunity for you to dress to impress. Get out your shimmering tiaras, your sequins and jewellery and break dry January in style!

CHarity ball
Book your tickets by emailing me at traveltheglobe4less@gmail.com

What’s your next challenge?

Maybe you have already climbed Kilimanjaro and have some awesome training tips you can share. Or maybe you are contemplating your own bucket list challenge. I would love to hear from you. Just pop a comment below and start the conversation.

Disclaimer: Please note this is not a sponsored post. I paid the full price for the training walk and all views are honest and unedited.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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  1. This is a great initiative raising money for charity while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is quite admirable and wish you the very best. Great safety tips including your Snowden practice hike! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip to the top of Kilimanjaro!

  2. I love hiking but Idk if Im fit enough to do this. This is inspiring and really incredible! Id love to do this someday. Mt Fuji and Mt Kilimanjaro are on my list! You guys are awesome for doing this!

  3. What a great way to rais money for your charity. I can’t imagine climbing Kilimanjaro but I also don’t like climbing the 75 stairs at the beach so, yeah. Dave sounds a bit insane but he also sounds freaking awesome. I double I’ll ever get to meet him but this is a very cool experience.

  4. Training walks are so important and yours looked gorgeous. I can’t believe you know someone who’s summited Kili 47 times! What an accomplishment. Canada is a lot like Wales in that you need to bring a hat (we call it a toque) and gloves and if you’re hiking in summer.

  5. Hiking Kilimanjaro would be amazing! Dave sounds like a boss! I can’t imagine hiking Kili 47 times. A pre-training hike sounds like a great way to get in shape for the climb.

    • Yes Dave was fab and I’m really glad I did it as it definitely taught me that I need to focus on leg strength before I go. I’m training with a PT now so my fitness has come on loads since I started with him

  6. Hiking up a mountain?! Good for you! I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but I’m sure it will be an incredible experience. I can’t wait to read about your experience at the top of Kili!

  7. What an amazing mission you are on – Kilimanjaro will be fantastic but such a huge endeavour! The training walk itself sounds like a lot of work by itself, although it sounds like you had a great guide. Cannot believe he has climbed Kilimanjaro 47 times! Good luck with your training and for the big adventure for such a good cause. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hiking Snowdon looks incredible, the views are absolutely spectacular. Seems like a challenging trek and very rewarding at the same time. How long did it take to reach the summit? Sounds like Dave really knows his stuff, I can’t think off a better guy to prep you for tackling Kili! Good luck on trekking Kili and also thank you for sharing your very worthy cause of raising funds for the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

  9. I’ve never done any kind of mountain climbing or trek, but I admire people (like you) who do that kind of thing, Looks like Snowdon was a good place for some training. It sounds like this trek is for a pretty great cause as well.

  10. Hi Anne!

    Hats off to you for taking the challenge. I was winded just climbing to the top of Diamond Head in Hawaii, and while that trail is incredibly steep, it’s only a mile long! Taking the adventurous walk up Snowdon definitely took some guts. Out of curiosity, how long did it take you?

    As for my own bucket list challenge, I’m planning on heading to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics and was thinking about climbing Mt. Fuji while I was there, but I haven’t quite decided yet. It will definitely take some preparation on my part!

    • Oh wow, I think Mount Fuji would be awesome. We were in snowdon around 9 hours but did a few different ascents. I have done a straight up and down and cannot recall how long it took. Maybe six hours!

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