At first, I thought, it’s not that bad, it’s just a big hill in it.
I was wrong. So very very wrong.
A few days before this little venture of ours we went to trespass to stock on supplies. New rucksacks, warm clothes, thick socks, and some walking boots were on the shopping list. As we checked out I should have spotted a red flag right away. There was way more gear recommended than what we had, but remember, it’s just a big hill… init?
We spent a lovely weekend camping in Wales, with Snowdon saved for the Sunday. That in itself was probably a mistake because I hadn’t slept in a proper bed for two nights beforehand. Either way, bright and early Sunday morning we made our way to the bottom of the mountain.
There's a number of car parks. If you want the closest go to the one directly opposite the base camp. Don’t do what we did and park in the Slate Museum. It adds an extra 10 minutes to your walk to the start point. Trust me, those 10 minutes make all the difference on the way back! The base camp is where you can get the train to the half waypoint. Usually, they can take you right to the top but covid restrictions prevented that from being an option on the day we went. There's some good food and a great shop too. I got a medal and a hat on our way back, because damn it, I deserved it!
When you head up Snowdon you can choose 1 of 6 routes. Each one providing a different challenge.
The Llanberis Path (9 miles/14.5 km) - We did this. It’s apparently the easiest
The Miners’ Track (8 miles/13 km)
The PYG Track (7 miles/11 km)
The Rhyd Ddu Path (8.5 miles/12km)
The Watkin Path (8 miles/13km)
Snowdon Ranger Path (8 miles/13km)
You can get a train up and down if you’re willing to pay. But I was advised to go up on foot and come back on the train - this was solid advice. (Thanks grandad). I don’t think I could walk up and down without doing some serious mental and physical damage to myself.
That being said, we started in high spirits. There’s a very steep climb at first. Sheep everywhere and even the odd little house decorating the immediate view. About 5 minutes in though, I was absolutely cream crackered. Sweating buckets and trying to catch my breath. It was just so steep! Luckily though it leveled out a little after about 30 more minutes. Then the path changed to uneven rocks and steep steps. If I wasn’t wearing my walking boots I would have undoubtedly broken something (so if you plan on doing this anytime, get the right footwear).
About 2 hours passed and we came to a little shop. ‘thank god, that must mean we’re close to the top is what I foolishly said. The lady at the shop corrected me by saying we were about a half-hour from the halfway point! She did lift my spirits with a pot noodle and a fizzy drink though.
As you can see Christine looked fine. I on the other hand could pose for the illustration of the word suffering in most dictionaries. Every step was followed by a curse.
The halfway point was achieved after about 40 more minutes, not including 10-minute breaks every 2 minutes from me. This was marked by an incredible view of Snowdonia and the train station. The clouds by this point were on our level and the temperature seemed to drop with every step. My umbrella became my walking stick. I was well and truly done after another half hour. The only thing that kept me going was the fact I was closer to the top than the bottom.
And then… you see it. The summit. Beautiful views, crowds of people all looking for the Instagram shot, and more sheep hanging about. We snapped a few pictures ourselves but only spent about 15 minutes there before heading back down. You can tell from my face I was happy but very much over it now.
Heading back was easier because it was downhill, but the unevenness of the rocks made it a little slippery. That return train trip was the best £29 I’ve ever spent. I would have even paid double if they asked! Just sitting on the train was amazing enough, the fact it took me back to base camp was even better.
Overall I’m glad I did this, but I’m happy I don’t have to do it again, that’s for sure! If you want to do it, I’d recommend practicing a bit of hiking, get decent rest leading up to it, travel light (no big coats) and for the love of god wear proper shoes.
if you’re going up Snowdon anytime soon. Good luck. You’ll need it!