Snowdon

After a couple of days to adjust to the time change and explore Liverpool, Joanie and I set out to stretch our legs on some trails for the first time – the primary goal of our trekking holiday. We followed Iain’s recommendation and made the fairly short drive to Snowdonia National Park in North Wales to climb up Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) , the highest mountain in Wales and the highest point in the British Isles outside of Scotland. At 3,560 feet (1.085m) above sea level, it is easy to think of Snowdon, like all the famous mountains of the UK, as quite small when compared to the Sierra, Rockies, Alps, Andes, Himalayas, or any number of taller ranges around the world. But the terrain and oft-changing weather attests to why so many mountaineers of old did their training on the peaks of North Wales, the English Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. Sir Edmund Hillary was only one of the many alpinists who trained in the UK before making the first successful ascent of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

There are many trails to Snowdon, from all directions, and even a rail line that operates in the summer season. We chose to park at the Pen y Pass trailhead of the Pyg Track to approach from the East.

We had partly cloudy skies and a light breeze as we started the climb from Pen y Pass.
Immediately, however, darker clouds approached from the West, the direction we were heading.
The views from up above just kept getting better and better…
… as the trail snaked up the side of the first hills.
The Pyg Track, like so many British mountain trails, is made with well-placed stones and steps.
We are grateful for the men and women of past years who laid out this path for us.

Over the lower pass, we saw the first lake, Llyn LLydaw, but the summit itself was still out of sight.

A bit further up the trail, we saw Snowdon for the first time, just above Joanie’s head in this shot.
The skies were grey beyond it, but the summit looked nice and clear.
It soon began to drizzle and the wind picked up, making our footing a bit slippery.
The Pyg Track goes up the hillside to the upper pass and the Miner’s Track drops from there down to the lake.
Looking back, we could see both trails.
The winds were gusting and the clouds above Glaslyn started to cover the summit.
With the weather deteriorating, we reached the junction with the Miner’s Track…
… and had to make a decision how to proceed.
With rain starting to fall, we donned our waterproofs and started back down the Miner’s Track.
We kept looking back up, to see less and less of Snowdon.
Stepping carefully over the slippery stones, Joanie thanks her daughter for the rain pants she borrowed.
I was styling too!

Looking back up from Glaslyn, all the peaks were now out of view.

We were disappointed not to make it to the top, but enjoyed the day immensely. It was a great introduction to the type of terrain and conditions we were to face in the upcoming weeks of our holiday.

Our hike in Snowdonia National Park, in red, was not far from Liverpool, Merseyside and The Wirral where we stayed with Iain and Janie.
We got close to the summit. Hopefully, we’ll make it next time!

Author: Chris

Until 2019, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker.

2 thoughts on “Snowdon”

  1. In the picture of Joan climbing over one of the wooden “ladders”…. what use are these…why are they placed there?

    1. Hi, Sue! Those are stiles (the root word of “turnstiles”), designed to allow humans through but not animals. We came across many types of stiles on the trails.

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