Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales and this weekend I climbed it.
Now, seeing as it was the bank holiday weekend, my dad, my mate Jonathan and I decided to take a couple of days in North Wales and get some climbing done (an activity we all enjoy but never get to do much of). So off we went, Dad and I went down and met Jonathan there, who drove up from Essex (the drive itself was an adventure by Jonathans account). For me it was a nice break in the middle of my exams to get away and stretch myself physically after stretching myself mentally for all too long.
Being a bank holiday weekend, we all knew that it would be busy and yes it was, I wouldn’t say we were queueing up to climb it, but we got to the car park for 08:10 and it was already full up! We drove along another mile and a bit and found a lay-by with one or two more spaces left in it, so we decided to park there and walk back to the start of the treck at Pen y Pass.
There are several routes up to the summit of Snowdon, but we opted for The Miners Track, so called because it used to be used by miners during their day of work in the hills. This route offers some of the best scenery available in the area and takes in a resevoir (Llyn Llydaw) and a lake (Glaslyn). This lake is extremely blue because of the copper content from mining. At this point I looked up and kept on looking up wondering where the summit peak of Snowdon was. It was up there, but was being obscured by the clouds. It was then that I realised that I would be climbing into the heavens and the climb certainly lived up to this expectation. I won’t go into all the details of the climb, but to start with I was very worried that my bad knee would let me down. Well, it didn’t! I would now say that Snowdon and the surrounding area is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately there is always one thing that ruins my favourite places in the world and that’s tourists! Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “You’re a tourist as well Martyn!” Yes, you are right, but let me explain.
The Summit is owned by the National Park but leased to the Snowdon Mountain Railway who operate the cafÃ© at the summit. There is a railway that operates a train service that goes from the base to the summit of the mountain and has been since 1896. On Sunday, if I wanted to get the train to and from the summit, I would have had to pay Â£21. It’s the people that get this service that really annoy me. They get to the top, dressed in all the right gear for a full scale ascent of the North Face of the Eiger. Then they fill up the cafÃ© and surround the summit point so that the poor buggers that have just spent 4 hours walking/climbing/scrambling to the summit have nowhere to go and have to push and shove their way past fat Americans (nothing against them, just talking from experience).
So anyway, a brief walk around on the summit, some pictures were taken, lucozade was drunk and then back down we went. Our descent took us back down the same path, but at one point there is a split and you can choose between the Miners Path (the way we came) or the Pyg Track. We opted for the Pyg (standing for Pen y Gwryd, which is the name of the hotel at the bottom of the pass much used by the earlier mountain walkers) Track. There is a lot of zig-zagging and scrambling involved and it takes a hell of a lot of concentration, but was worth it and when we got back to the car….wow my body then realised that it did not have to do any more work.
All in all, we were on the walk/climb for about 8.5 hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am now back in Salford and my muscles all over my body are aching, I’m covered in midge bites and my face is slightly burnt from the powerful winds at the summit, but boy do I feel refreshed in a funny way.
So now it’s back to the work and back to the revision for the final exam on Friday. If you fancy checking out the images from my day on Snowdon (including the magnificent views) then check out my Flickr Page and enjoy.