What I wore for hiking Snowdon by Raadia Imran
Written By: SportsShoes
Raadia Imran, shares her experience of preparing for, and climbing Snowdon in North Wales, as part of the most recent Muslim Hikers group event, supported by Sportsshoes.
Pictured: Muslim Hikers on their recent group hike on Snowdon in North Wales.
Most of us have some kind of hobby, an “extracurricular activity” that we enjoy outside of work life and our daily routine. For you, reading this here, your hobby most likely is getting outdoors: hiking, running, cycling etc.
Mine, woefully predictably, is shopping. Online shopping to be exact. I am quite the fiend at this sport. I’ll admit that I have the art of this hobby mastered expertly. I’ll use filters, scour the sales pages, hunt down discount codes and claim free next day delivery -all to find only the most perfect outfit for the very best price.
Clothes and shoes are my area of comfort and delight. I walk into high street stores and it settles me; giving me the same sense of peace that the rolling hills may offer you!
You can only then imagine my discomfort and awkwardness when the same feeling of joy didn’t wash over me when I walked into my local outdoorsy clothes stores. I walked around the aisles overwhelmed, confused and uninspired; rummaging through rails of unflattering waterproofs and hiking trousers.
I was looking for an entire hiking fit for the first mountain walk I would be doing after a long time. The last time I had trekked, it had been quarter of a way up Snowdon in the blistering heat of summer. This had been attempted with my two children in tow whilst wearing a white maxi dress and converse trainers; much to the bemusement of onlooking, visibly more seasoned hikers.
I wanted to look the part this time. More importantly, I wanted to feel like I belonged on the mountain. I didn’t want that niggling sense of self-consciousness affecting my experience. I knew I had been unprepared and inappropriately dressed for that mini ramble up Pen-y-Pass all those years ago, and I didn’t want to make the same mistake.
We all know how effective “dressing the part” is and how donning a killer outfit can increase your confidence levels. But there’s an added element of practicality when it comes to hiking; you need the right kit otherwise the lack of correct attire can seriously impact your walking experience. You may end up focussing on the fact you’re cold and wet and your feet are aching, rather than appreciating the beauty around you. More pressingly, it can turn dangerous or even fatal if you’re not dressed appropriately and prepared for what the weather may throw at you.
Pictured: Raadia Imran wearing the Montane Element Stretch Women's Waterproof Jacket
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” wrote British fell walker, Alfred Wainwright in his book, Coast to Coast.
This rang very true as I took part in the Muslim Hikers “summer hike” up and down Snowdon a few weeks ago. I envisioned clear skies and the warm sun to be kissing my face as I peacefully ambled up the mountain. Oh, how wrong I was.
We spent the majority of the hike picking our way through drizzly rain in surprising and unexpected cold temperatures. Luckily, I was prepared. Despite having a little moan about the downpour, I realised it wasn’t affecting my hike massively as I felt dry. And this was the key to still enjoying the hike. Despite rain blowing into my face and causing my mascara to run horrifically, I wasn’t soaked through. My Keen walking shoes and Montane waterproof jacket saved me and salvaged my experience from what potentially could have been a very miserable one.
Browsing on the Sportsshoes website and using the filters made it very easy for me to choose the raincoat and boots I wanted. Two essential hiking items on all kit lists! The product description box was perfect for a newbie, like me, to understand the features of each item.
I opted for the Keen NXIS Evo waterproof walking shoes because of the KEEN.DRY technology (and maybe also because the shoes have pink accents!). The shoes were so comfortable, super lightweight and truly kept my feet dry and warm throughout the hike. You can’t underestimate the extent to which cold, wet feet can spoil your day in the great outdoors.
Pictured: Raadia Imran wearing the Keen NXIS Evo Women's Waterproof Shoes
I did however, rather foolishly, forget to pack a fleece. I knew I needed a base layer and, deceptively, as we had enjoyed a hot week, I had thought that a base layer would suffice. I wore a Montane Dart zip neck top. The long sleeves and high neck were perfect coverage for me and wearing a size Large provided a more modest fit. Over that, I wore a Montane Element Stretch jacket which was waterproof whilst also being lightweight and breathable.
But I was still cold. And at the foot of the mountain, I felt myself shivering and my brain begging me to go sit back inside the warm car I had travelled in. Luckily, my friend had bought a spare microfibre fleece with her. As soon as I slipped that over my head, it made an immediate difference. It was like being enveloped in a warm hug! It changed not only my physical state but also mentally, I felt better.
Instantly, I felt warmer and so much happier. I stopped hunching over, shivering and wrapping my arms around me and instead was able to straighten out, look up and look out across the bleak skies and appreciate the unfolding greenery around me.
Feeling warm and dry meant that I was able to ignore the rain and the unexpected cold weather. And instead of moaning the whole way, I felt myself hitting my second wind striding up the Miners track. I was able to see past the rain, inhale deeply and focus on the beauty of Snowdonia. And I found, I was enjoying myself.
Pictured: The Muslim Hikers group on the summit of Snowdon
The elements were now actually accentuating my time hiking. This was experienced in all its glory when we reached the summit: windswept, hands numb and faces smeared with rain- but buzzing with the wild exhilaration and abandon of being submerged in the outdoors. The visibility was poor and we were cocooned in a cloud of mist and rain. But, we felt euphoric; surrounded by nature in all its raw and hostile glory. Adrenaline coursing through us as we stood at the top of this mountain in the pouring rain.
I mean, I was grateful when the hike was over! And welcomed sitting down for that celebratory hot chocolate back at the cafe, but I was also grateful to have experienced that moment at Snowdon’s summit.
Hiking is both inspiring and challenging. Exhausting yet exhilarating. But ultimately, it is possible for everyone to do and that too, in any weather conditions - right kit providing!
Follow Raadia and all her outdoor adventures here
Raadia is an active member of Muslim Hikers, a grass root initiative set up to help empower and inspire Muslim communities to get outdoors more. What started off as just an Instagram page for online community during lockdown has now rapidly grown into a massive global community with hundreds joining their hiking events across the UK. Muslim Hikers is part of the Active Inclusion Network, which also includes Muslim Cyclists and Muslim Runners.
Visit the Muslim Hikers website for more information about all upcoming events.
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