As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I wondered what I could do to mark the momentous occasion. It came to me one evening while I was staring into a glass of Merlot - climb the Matterhorn. Now I'd done a little bit of rock climbing on crags in the Peak District with Glenys and our children, but nothing in the way of scaling mountains. I hadn't even done much hiking since I was in the Boys Scouts.
I scanned the Internet and came across a British mountain guide company called "The International School of Mountaineering (ISM)". I booked Glenys, Craig and myself onto a guided weekend in North Wales with a guy called Pat Littlejohn. We climbed a multi-pitch rock climb on the first day and then scrambled to the top of a mountain called Glyder Fach on the second day. I loved it. Pat said that I moved well on rock and, as long as I was fit enough, I should be capable of climbing the Matterhorn. I was well and truly hooked on mountaineering.
It's not that I'm obsessional but, for the next 15 months, Glenys, Craig and I spent practically every weekend rock climbing or walking up mountains in Wales. Glenys and I booked ourselves on Alpine mountaineering courses with ISM where I was introduced to Ice Climbing. We bought loads of gear and walked up Welsh mountains in winter.
The pace really accelerated when I went along to a meeting of the local mountaineering club. I'd only been there for 30 minutes (and half a pint of best bitter) before, to Glenys's great surprise, I'd agreed to go with three other guys to Norway for a week's ice climbing.
We continued climbing through the spring and summer and finally in August 2006, Glenys, Craig and I went to the Swiss Alps. I was in heaven. The first week we climbed two 4000 metre peaks (Weissmies & Nadelhorn). We met the ISM guide at the beginning of the second week and I climbed the Matterhorn in three and half hours.
We carried on mountaineering until we moved onto Alba in 2011. We've walked and climbed in the UK, Alps, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Canada and now in the Caribbean.