Saturday 26 April 2014


Remember how we raced each other to the summit,
clinging on for dear life
as we navigated the almost vertical bits,
stomachs turning over
when heavy boots lost their footing
and sent loose rocks plummeting
to shatter nearly four thousand feet below?

Inexperienced climbers, our kit was basic.
Who was the most scared? Our nervous jokes
diverted attention from the constant possibility
of judgement error and certain death.
Oh it was definitely me:
in the shadows between those jagged rocks
I perceived hunched demons, presided over
by Death's own Black Angel.
And shivers ran down my spine.

You bravely tackled the Saddle,
while I clung, terror-frozen, to an outcrop;
desperately trying to suck the too thin air
into starving asthmatic lungs.
Suddenly enshrouded in thick cloud,
I lost sight of you.
A strange phosphorescence -
the angle of the Sun, maybe,
or something much more sinister?
My fingers, clinging to cold rock,
turned white as bone.
And the wind hummed a menacing lament.

A sudden chink in the cloud:
Llyn Llydow lay directly below,
a mere half inch in diameter.
a chilling inner voice challenged me:
Just step off the edge
and into this fascinating miniature world.
It's easy!
But logic intervened:
No. Remember how far up you are.
At this height, things only appear to be close.
You'd be killed for sure.

An abrupt vertical movement to my left.
A badly smashed sheep lay whimpering and twitching
in a rapidly spreading pool of blood
on a narrow ledge below.
I felt sick.
The shadow demons shifted
to enclose the unfortunate animal,
as if moving in for the kill.
A selfish euphoria gripped me:
It was clearly their chosen sacrifice,
not us.
We would be safe now!

A narrow shaft of sunlight
swept across the sharp tooth-like
edges of the summit,
sending those terrifying entities
flitting off into the ether
like the last wispy strands
of a retreating storm cloud.
Just then, I saw you
scrambling back to me
across that deadly Saddle
that has claimed so many lives.
Please be careful I mentally beseeched you,
then my gaze was drawn again to that poor sheep.
It now lay silent and still,
but it was a stillness totally devoid of peace.
I strongly sensed a Soul in purgatory,
desperate for a safe refuge:
felt it bolt into my aura,
where it resides in me still...


  1. Damn this was amazing and powerful. I felt the terror and fear. So glad you didn't listen to that chilling inner voice...

  2. Me too, Keith...haha :D
    Isn't it funny how memory weaves a story from our experiences that we never imagined at the time?!
    Glad I'm not there now...
    Many thanks :)

    Hope you had a great break!

  3. A wonderful telling of your experience here in such well chosen words. The poor sheep…

    1. is sad to see that happen to an animal.
      So many have fallen to their death from the slopes of Mount Snowdon.

      Many thanks Anthony :)

  4. Bone chilling experience , I was feeling fear and panic.
    Amazing writing, Ygraine, mountain climbing girl.
    I applaud you on handing the climb so well and so glad you 'lived' to tell us about it. So very glad :)
    So sad about the sheep.


    1. Ha...can't begin to tell you how scared I was...cowardly is a gross understatement!
      I did wonder if I would live to tell the tale lol
      Yes...that poor sheep...that was the worst part of the experience...

      Many thanks for reading this Margie.

      Hugs xxx

  5. You have woven the fear and frightening memories into a sweet and capturing literary piece. And most importantly, I was glad to know that Ms. Ygraine is not just a professional blogger but she is also a skillful and courageous mountaineer.
    Take care.

    1. Thank you so much Dumcho!
      Can't say I see myself as skillful or courageous though...I was scared half to death! Haha

      Hope you had a great weekend :)

  6. A wonderful weaving Yg. You gave me the creeps with this one. Lucky the Soul that has you to hide in.

    1. Oh thank you TUG!
      The vision of that poor unfortunate animal haunts me still...guess it will remain a part of my psyche forever...

      Happy Monday :)

  7. You had me enthralled in that tension , climbing up that dead sheep, broke me heart hurt me to the bones, feared for you, what an incredible read my dear Ygraine, I was with you each step of the way...magnificent write, shadows and thrills and heartbreak, and you never let up, how do you do that such suspense..

    1. Thank you so much Lorraine!
      It was one of those experiences in which fear well and truly takes imagination was running riot, probably in an effort to override the very real possibility that my life could come to an abrupt end at any moment.
      I have never been so scared in my life!!

  8. Beautiful. Your poem almost gave me vertigo! :-) I loved the build-up, the playfulness of it and at the same time the sense of danger. The last line is still echoing in my head. It still resides in me, too. :-)

    Greetings from London.

    1. So glad you are back...I have missed you!
      I think the memory of that poor animal's violent death will never was so shocking that I had to find a deeper meaning than simple misadventure (hence the demons!).

      Many, many thanks.

      Hope you had a fabulous break :)

  9. Powerful! Bone Chilling! Amazing! You actually did this climb? Wow!!!

    1. Yes, Stacy...I really did...and was I terrified!
      Never again though!!!
      Many, many thanks for your kind comment :) xxx

  10. ah what an amazing kids we did some pretty insane things....mountain climbing...sleeping out on the roof of the world...i was right there with you....and was loving it...i love hiking too and have found myself in some rather intersting positions...geez you got my heart going...smiles.

    1. was a crazy thing to do...but it was one of those things I just HAD to do...I'm sure you understand what I mean.
      It's only later that you think how different the outcome could have been, isn't it?! least I lived to tell the tale *smiles*

      Many thanks, Brian :)

  11. Only the brave!! What a rush that must have been!
    Thank God for logic! An amazing journey up there
    with you Ygraine, thanks for sharing :)

    1. Don't think anything else could ever equal that rush of adrenaline...not even sure my heart could take it again! *smiles*
      Many thanks for joining me on this adventure Rose...It's great to think I wasn't terrified alone!! :)


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