You can’t live in north Wales (and blog about it) without mentioning Snowdon, so after about 11 months of this blog I thought I’d better put that right.
Tuesday 24th June dawned bright and sunny, so I made an early start. Up the valley to Betws y Coed and then up the Llugwy valley to Capel Curig. Just after passing through the village you come to Llynau Mymbyr, and this is where you get your first view of the famous Snowdon horseshoe.
Then it was onwards, over the Llanberis pass, down into the valley and onto the village of Llanberis.
There are 3 main paths up to the summit of Snowdon. The Llanberis path, unsurprisingly starts at Llanberis, close to the Snowdon mountain railway station. It starts along a narrow road, soon becoming steep as you turn onto a stony path. The first third of the walk is steep, but very soon there is wonderful scenery all around. looking back you get a wonderful view of the village and Llyn Padarn.
Climbing a little higher you can look back and see the huge slate quarries cut into the hillside above the valley.
Halfway up is the Halfway cafe where you can stop for refreshments. It used to be a wooden hut but that was blown down in a gale a few years ago. It’s now a more substantial building.
As you continue your walk you’ll probably see the steam trains chugging their way up some of the steep inclines. The railway was built in 1896, more wonderful Victorian engineering.
The path continues upwards, getting steeper agin for the last third. It’s a rocky path and good footwear should be worn. Many people have accidents and twist their ankles every year because they wear trainers or sandals.
I should add here that I’m no expert, so feel free to correct any mistakes I make with names etc.
The path continues to climb, up to where the Pyg path and Miners path meet it. These two paths start at Pen-y-Pass. One running alongside Llyn Llydaw and the Pyg path running below the ridge of Crib Goch.
Crib Coch means “Red comb”. The ridges leading to it are knife edge, with steep drops on either side. This is not a walk for beginners, even in good weather, and in bad weather even experience climbers need good equipment. The peak of Crib Goch is 923 metres (3, 028 feet).
Llyn Llyddaw lies in a bowl between Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd.
From here the path gets even steeper as it heads for the summit of Snowdon.
Yr Wyddfa means “the tumulus”. Legend has it that a giant called Rhita Gawr who lived here killed kings and used their beards to make cloaks to keep himself warm. Eventually though he come up against King Arthur, who killed him. Everyone then placed rocks over his body to form the summit.
Onwards and upwards, and after the last steep climb the new visitor centre comes into view.
Hafod (summer residence) Eryri (Snowdonia) was opened in early June 2009. It was about a year late in opening, but the workers had to suffer some atrocious conditions.
It is built of local granite and the inside is lined with local Oak. It has to withstand winds up to 150 mph, about 200 inches of rain per year and temperatures of -20 deg C.
It’s a wonderful building, blending in with it’s surroundings and the wall of glass at the front gives fantastic views.
Prince Charles famously called the old building, “the highest slum in Britain”. Well Hafod Eryri is certainly not a slum, it’s a wonderful building, and everyone concerned should be congratulated.
Out through the back door, and it’s a few more steps up to the actual summit.
Snowdon is the highest mountain in England and Wales, standing at 1,085 metres (3,560 feet). Down in the valley it was over 20 deg C, but up here there was a strong, cool wind. The weather can change in minutes up here but I was lucky, it was a gorgeous sunny (warm lower down) day.
Y Lliwedd is is the other peak which makes up the famous Snowdon horseshoe, and stands at 902 metres (2, 595 feet).
This had been a wonderful day. History, fantastic scenery and great weather. Tiring but wonderful. I’ll end this post with a few miscellaneous photos, and invite you to visit Snowdon and experience it first hand.