|Snowdon Mountain Railway & Moel Eilio beyond|
|The Glyders from Clogwyn on the Llanberis Path up Snowdon|
The A55 which takes you from the M56 across North Wales is my favourite road, yes I have a favourite road. The tunnels, sea scapes, islands, castles, quarrys and of course mountains, always make for an exciting eye opening journey. There is a very steep hill on the A55 known as Rhuallt Hill and from the top of this hill, just before it descends, there is a sneaky peak towards the mountains of Snowdonia. If you can see the mountains from here then it is a fairly good indication of a good weather day. The most prominent mountain in view is Moel Siabod which looks awesome from the east. I could see all the mountains so hopes of a good view from the top of Wales's highest today were high. By the time I got to Llanberis Simon was already there and the others turned up seconds later. We all shook hands and I was introduced to the guys who I hadn't met before. One of the lads was actually a driver on the Six Peaks Challenge I did for Water Aid a few years ago, so we had both met before in this Llanberis car park. We set off along what in my opinion is one of the toughest parts of the entire route, the steep minor road out of Llanberis. After the road and saying hello to some friendly ponies we headed through the gate on to the Llanberis Path. The views over towards the Dinorwig quarry spills below Elidir Fawr were as fascinating as always. It was here when I took my camera out of its case to take the first photo of the day that I realised what I had left behind in the morning. I didn't check my camera gear before I left and forgot to take the camera's SD card out of my Macbook. Ah well iPhone photos it would sadly have to be. I was way too hot in my winter combo of walking trousers over my Ron Hills so I zipped off my trousers to look like a bit of a wally, but didn't care as it was too damn hot. Ridiculous weather for a February walk up Snowdon.
|Feathery Hoar Frost on grass on Snowdon|
We soon realised that one of the lads wasn't wanting to storm up the mountain so Simon and myself stayed behind with him whilst the other two went at their own faster pace. Unfortunately one of them had his waterproof jacket so he wasn't best pleased when we got higher. Luckily I had a spare as I was using my wind shirt instead. I actually enjoyed the slow pace as the last time times I had come up Snowdon this way I was more or less jogging. We passed the half way house and then ascended the steep section to Clogwyn. All the way up admiring stunning views across to the Moel Eilio ridge. I have to come back one day and do the circuit of Moel Eilio as it looks like a great day out. The view over to The Glyders that hits you after passing under the railway at Clogwyn was amazing as it always is. This path gets a bad name and is often referred to as the Tourist Path, but it is a brilliant walk with stunning views. As we ascended away from Clogwyn we entered the cloud base and for the first time all day it finally felt like winter. Extra clothes now on we made our way up to the Finger Stone. Mark who was really buzzing off his first proper big mountain would have loved the views from here, I was really gutted he couldn't see them as all the way up the Llanberis Path he was really buzzing off the views. I love seeing people walk up mountains for the first time who enjoy it as much as he did. The rocks and grass were now covered in beautiful feathery hoar frosts. We also met the two other guys at the Finger Stone who were now on their way back down. There was the odd patch of snow though not much. We went up to the summit cairn and took the obligatory summit photo. When you stand on top of Snowdon, Ben Nevis or Scafell Pike you are literally the highest human being on land in the country at that time. That is something I love reminded people of as its a hell of an achievement to stand up there no matter what anyone says about Snowdon.
|Simon, Me and Mark at the Snowdon summit cairn|
No views from the summit, just freezing cold and cloudy. We checked out the summit shelter and used it as a giant wind break where we shared a triple pack sandwich that Simon kindly shared between the three of us. In a rush in the morning I also forgot the food I had brought with me. There were a few mountain bikers at the summit so Simon talked to them about the routes they had taken. We set off on our descent down the Llanberis Path. When we finally reached Clogwyn station, although we had finally come below the cloud base, we could tell that the weather had certainly come in. Surrounding hills and mountains were now shrouded in cloud. As we made our way down the steep section below Clogwyn a few more mountain bikers were coming down. I watched in amazement at how well their full suspension bikes descended down the steep rocky footpath. If you'd told me someone could go down that path on a bike I would never have believed it. But after seeing them come down it I could now see it was totally possible. Simon was loving it as this was exactly what he had come to see. The descent was straight forward back to Llanberis. I absolutely love Snowdon and love that so many people including tourists and first timers get to enjoy it. Many of these people go on to climb hundreds more and find an appreciation for the outdoor world forever. Those that end up in trouble through lack of the right gear or planning, which is a small percentage of those that actually climb the mountain, will learn important lessons. At the end of the day, if you want a quiet mountain, choose one of the other thousands of incredible mountains in Britain, don't whinge about this one. I have climbed this mountain more times than any other and I get very protective, can you tell? It was a great day out with new people and great to see Simon. Until next time Snowdon.
I have uploaded the photos from the day here.