Not the highest nor the most challenging but definitely special and by all means worth the hours spent on hiking – Snowdon. The highest peak in Snowdonia National Park and the whole of Wales. Doable within 5-6 hours there and back from Pen-y-Pas and that makes it a perfect idea for a day out (if you live close that is 🙂 )
I am not going to lie by saying the landscape surrounding Snowdon while being fully Welsh, resembles Iceland and New Zealand. It truly does! Maybe because of the simply outstanding grass coverage. Bare rocks, grass and waterfalls must be them things that makes us wanderers think we are somewhere else. It’s both mystical and a little bit scary when there is just wind to turn to. It’s that weird feeling you get in the mountains in general. Something that makes you small and humble.
Although the trail we took on that day (Miners’ Track) was packed with people so no chance to feel lonely then! Mind you it was a bank holiday weekend as well… read queues on the paths!
There are multiple trails that you can take to the peak. Some are relatively easy and flat, but obviously long. We took the medium difficulty one (if you can say so) that involved a bit of flat walk and a bit of proper climbing up using your hands. It’s not necessarily dangerous but I would not recommend taking small kids up the Pen y Pass trail (Miner’s trail). Honestly I would fear for my kid seeing them walking carelessly there…:
There is also a hardcore path that goes up right on the ridge. Only recommended to advanced climbers and be aware many have lost their lives there (if you slip, that’s a slide few hundred feet down). Snowdon south ridge below.
The hike takes about 2-3h up and it’s a beautiful walk. You start flat cutting through grass fields, walk around magnificent lakes and waterfalls (Iceland anyone?) and eventually face a pretty steep uplift that goes all the way up to the peak. So while it might be quite easy at the beginning, it gets pretty challenging later on. Get proper climbing shoes and do it!
Snowdon is a pretty popular destination I’ve heard so unless you do it in some weird hours, you probably will come across other hikers. Be polite and say hi. No harm in that and it always brings a smile on everybody’s face. Of course that doesn’t apply when the trail is busier than the high street on Saturday morning…
While you go up and elevate yourself you can see the lakes and the surrounding area. We only had a brief moment to enjoy the views as a thick fog came in and the show was over…
The fog continued pretty much until we reached the top. The temperature had also dropped significantly as we got closer to the top. I would definitely recommend an extra layer of cloths just for the peak temperatures and wind.
And the top of the top! Pretty busy up there and unfortunately we couldn’t see much there. Although the views are spectacular (so I was told). Do not be misled by people in t-shirts. It was way too cool for being so lightly dressed.
And of course the top of the top of the top 🙂
Although the fog covered the top for majority of the time we spent there, there were few brief moments when it cleared and we could enjoy amazing views of the national park and even the sea!
Now something I haven’t mentioned yet but probably should. If for some reason you can’t hike to the top, there is an easier way to get there. There is a train going all the way up. Slightly pricey but (only if you really can’t walk up or have kids) it’s just another way to get there.
The hike down wasn’t difficult at all. And also as it was later in the afternoon there weren’t many people going up the mountain so the paths were mostly clear. We didn’t think anything would surprise us but apparently someone twisted her ankle and had to be rescued. And what a rescue it was!
We weren’t just gazing at the show. The path down was cut off for the time of the rescue so we had no choice but watch (or turn around and take another way down but erm… we wanted to go this way!). And we weren’t the only ones! 🙂
Luckily the injury wasn’t bad and the whole thing did not take more than half an hour. The helicopter had to circle around while waiting for the rescue team to help out and prepare the victim to be taken aboard. We could continue descending until we reached the parking lot.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting to see this much beauty. The weather was meh-oh but the clouds and fog have added their magic touch and the experience would have been so much different if it was a sunny day. And I am not sure if that would be a better experience? So if you ever go I am pretty sure you will love this place whatever the weather. And if you have been already I am sure you loved it! I did! 🙂
Thanks for reading and have a look below for more pics. Enjoy!