We all woke up about 8am and our train up Snowden was booked for 10.30am which didn’t give us much time to get everyone ready given how slow our children are at eating breakfast. At this time of year the train only goes to 34 the way up the mountain so the plan is to finish the last mile on foot to the summit then walk the five miles back to the station.

There are many things you end up saying as a parent that you could never have imagined before having kids, on the drive over to the station, today was one of those days and as I’m sat minding my own business I hear Al proclaim ‘Don’t lick eyeballs’. We have a long day ahead of us so I only hope this is the height of their silliness.

At the car park we explain the importance of layers to the children. The last thing any of us wants is a cold tired grumpy kid with five miles ahead of us. Liliya isn’t impressed she wants a pretty dress and hates trousers. Eventually she comes around and thinks wearing leggings under trousers is funny along with a long sleeved top, hoodie and a coat.

A few weeks ago Liliya asked why the mountain was called Snowden and I joked that it was because it was so high up it always had snow on it. Turns out that came back to bite me as when we get out of the train we can see snow. The train took about 40 minutes to get to the section where we had to get out. You can see why it didn’t get any higher at this time of year as the track was covered in snow.

I had prewarned the children that playing with the snow would be a bad idea. It’s wet and cold and we have a long day ahead with no where to get dry. The temptation was just too much however so instead I had to make a deal with them. I would let them throw snowballs on the way back down. At least that way we’re on the easier part of the journey.

We made it to the top in 1hr 16 mins which felt great and amazingly we didn’t have any moaning. This was despite the weather taking a turn for the worse and it actually started snowing so we were all rather wet with zero nice views either.

After reaching the summit we found a small bit of shelter to have our sandwiches then finally let the kids throw a snowball at each other. I warned them I didn’t want to hear any moaning about cold hands though. It took us about 45 minutes to get back to the train station and Liliya wasn’t too impressed that we had to keep walking but soon cheered up when given more snacks.

The first part of the descent after the station was actually still rather steep so I was really impressed with how well the kids did. Of course the moaning did start about how cold their hands were so by way of encouragement we told them we’d watch a movie back at the moho if they didn’t moan.

It mostly worked as well although Robert decided grumbling wasn’t the same as moaning next time he wanted to complain. We eventually got back underneath the fog and onto a more well formed path and it started to get easier. The end was in sight and Liliya’s spirit perked up when she stood to wave at the train and the driver gave her a toot on the whistle.

The last hour I had to make up random stories, play I spy, along with other word games to keep their minds off the walking. With about 10 minutes to go (not knowing this at the time) we passed a little pub and Al and I wanted to stop for a drink. Even the temptation of fizzy pop for Robert wasn’t enough he just wanted to get back to the moho and fair play to them both it was a tough six miles through snow and wind and now sunshine.

Back at the moho we stripped out of our wet clothes and had an hours drive to our campsite. I’m not sure if there are just no major roads around here or if Apple maps just thought this was a better way but it certainly felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. I was convinced Liliya at least would have fallen asleep on the drive but she surprised us and stayed awake until we arrived. Whilst Al cooked tea the kids and I went to explore and looked out at the beautiful sea views.

It was then time to snuggle up and the first time we’ve converted the seating area into a bed so we could all sit together, relax and watch the movie.

I’m super proud of both the kids as it’s definitely the hardest walk they have ever done and hope it translates into a good night’s sleep for them both.