Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.Helen Keller
After our quest of Kilimanjaro, we were eager to continue hiking; and being in UK, the summer is limited. We hadn’t visited Wales since Amoli moved to London and it was high time we see the beautiful Welsh countryside. And out of blue, we decided to challenge ourselves by hiking Snowdon – the Highest Peak in Wales and Second Highest in UK.
We drove from London to Bangor on a Friday evening and took us nearly 5-6 hours with all the weekend traffic. Crashed for the night at our hotel and next day we were up early to start the hike. We prefer doing the hikes early as it gives us more time to relax and explore post the hike as well. Snowdon is at an elevation of 1085m located in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. It has been dubbed the “Busiest Mountain in Britain” as a lot of people climb Snowdon.
There are various routes to climbing Snowdon. One of the most famous and the one we selected was the Snowdon Ranger Path – the oldest of the classic routes. The self-proclaimed ‘Snowdon Ranger’ John Morton used this path to guide victorian tourists up to the summit. He also built a tavern at the same location where the YHA (Youth Hostel) stands today.
Parking: Llyn Cwellyn – LL54 7YS (Pay and Display Car Park )
This car park has limited car spaces and is quite full, so try arriving early. We were here at around 8AM with few hikers having already arrived. The skies had opened up and it had started to drizzle. So, we waited back in the car for the drizzle to die down and it did. And then, we finally began our hike.
Cross the road following the signs for the bridleway (to the left) and take the path towards and over the railway track and continue until reaching the farmhouse. Turn right and follow the zigzag path as is goes through the mountainside. The ranger path is less busy when compared to other paths and provides very scenic views. All the routes are well marked and there is a steady stream of hikers, so you wouldn’t honestly get lost.
The path gradually gains height over the next 2km passing through pastures of sheep before reaching the Lake of Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas on your right. It is at this point the actual hike begins as the path gets steep and hard as you ascend rocky shoulder to Clogwyn Du’r Arddu. Continue hiking along this zigzag path slowly as you gain height and the temperature starts to drop and the wind gets stronger. All the hard work is paid off by the amazing views down over the lake and mountain ridges.
Keep marching ahead following the cairns as the path gradually flattens out but its still loose underfoot – so be careful. The terrain is more barren as you climb high and poor weather conditions can make it real hard to find the route. However, we dint have any such problems as we had a fairly clear day after a morning drizzle. The path steepens again before reaching a standing stone where the path crosses the Snowdon Mountain Railway track. Yes! there is a steam engine which takes you up the mountain but I would still prefer the hike.
You will see the Llanberis path and Pyg track now merging and you will then follow this one path to the summit which is just a short distance away. Though we started early, it was already busy on this path. The final stretch offers the most impressive views with the beautiful mountain lakes and the sharp ridges of Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd which makes up the Snowdon Horseshoe. Steps will take you to the summit cairn for the magnificent panoramic views of the Snowdon Massif and Snowdonia.
We were elated that we had done this hike – but worth mentioning that this wasn’t that easy as we had forethought. Again needs some training and a lot of will power. We were anyways training for a run in summer so we had the fitness but it did prove challenging at times more so because of the chilly wind. But all worth it, as we reached the summit – another peak conquered and another milestone achieved.
There is a cafe at the summit where we ate some snacks and found refuge from the cold. Then, it was time to say goodbye to Snowdon and start the descent. Of course we had done the hard bit but the descent is not the quickest as we descent steep and also on loose rocks/gravel. We met a lot of hikers on the way back – I must say the locals are real friendly people.
Finally, after a 5 hour hike we were back at the parking. There is a small path which takes you from the parking to the lake nearby. Do try it –it offers nice benches for a picnic lunch and to relax after a gruelling hike.
Snowdon is something I will always remember for being one of the most scenic hikes I have ever done.
Read our full Wales exploration here – Click here
Please leave me a comment if you have any queries or feedback and I’ll get back to you at the earliest.