• Paula Hoivala D.C.

Challenging Yourself: Hiking Snowdon in the Dark of Night


Sometime in early autumn 2019, me and my then co-workers had an idea: let’s climb up Snowdon, in the middle of the night! It was going to be a challenge for us, and we would raise some money for charity whilst promoting mental health. What was not to love, right? Back then I lived in Dorset, worked in Wiltshire and was absolutely yearning for something (well, anything) to shake up the routine I was living day in, day out. So, that’s when we signed up and decided on a team name, "Why did I say yes to this!?" Then, in the New Year 2020, a friend of the clinic died. We suddenly had a whole new reason for our challenge. Raising money for the mental health charity Mind became personal. We were now on a mission.


Well, it turned out the world had other plans… My diary entry for the Saturday of Early May Bank Holiday Weekend 2020 still reads “Snowdon, midnight to sunrise”. But Covid hit and the world changed. I’ve since moved three times in three different counties, left a practice I had been at since graduating and started practising here at Guildford Chiropractic Centre. Talk about shaking up the equilibrium!


The Snowdon at Night walk was first rescheduled from May 2020 to October 2020, then to May 2021 and finally, to the 25th of September 2021. It was 3am on Sunday 26th September when we reached the 1085m summit. We had torrential rain and winds like you’d only expect to see in Wales for most of the way. A true Challenge indeed!


Those who know me, know that quitting was not an option. Once I set my foot on that Llanberis path at the bottom of the mountain, there was no turning back. We were lucky to have an hour before the rain set in, but I’m convinced it just rained harder purely to compensate for the gracious start we had had.


In such conditions, I couldn’t see much ahead as my glasses fogged up and no amount of wiping helped. I joked that next time I shall bring my prescription swimming goggles and, as much as I got a laugh out of that, many agreed it would be a good idea. Nevertheless, I got to the top and back down absolutely soaked, tired and slightly nauseated; thankfully injury-free, which is all I could ask for.


I have no regrets and I loved the experience from the word go! Would I recommend it to others? Possibly, with the caution to ensure to train sufficiently beforehand and to carry the correct equipment; Will I ever do it again? Absolutely not! Once was more than enough; Would I go back to Snowdon in the daytime? Likely, as I didn’t get to see much of it; Go when it’s not raining? Ha! is that even possible?; In similar weather to what we had? No, thank you very much.


As I said, no regrets. Our little team of 4 managed to raise over £1,500. Collectively, everyone involved that night raised over £100,000 for Mind, the mental health charity. According to Mind, 1 in 6 young people had mental health problems in 2020. That’s up from 1 in 10 only 3 years earlier in 2017. It’s quite a jump in a rather short time. To me, raising money for this cause made it all worth it - and I would certainly be up for another challenge in the future.

…though next time I might choose something a little bit less wet and windy.


If you’d like to support us, our fundraising page WhydidIsayyestothis is still open.