Snowdon, or to give it its Welsh name Yr Wyddfa, stands at 1085m above sea level making it the highest point in England and Wales. It’s a popular tourist attraction and with breath-taking views and glorious surrounding countryside, it’s not hard to see why. If you’ve never climbed a mountain before, it can seem a scary concept but it’s worth it! I recently spent a weekend in Snowdonia and really enjoyed the walk (even if I did fall over on the way down!) and I’ve come up with a few hints and tips to help you out if you want to climb Snowdon too.
There’s more than one way up
To reach the summit of Snowdon there are actually six main routes so there’s options to suit all visitors. Easily the most popular is the Llanberis Path which, as the name suggests, starts in the village but I took the Snowdon Ranger Path, one of the quieter routes up, which begins at the youth hostel of the same name. Other routes are the Miners Path, Pyg Track, Watkins Path and Rhyd Ddu Path. Visit Snowdonia provides information on each route so you can pick the one that best suits your ability.
The paths are generally easy to follow
Each route is well-marked out with signs and obvious pathways to show you the way so compasses and detailed maps aren’t necessarily needed! The paths are also well-maintained and in good condition.
But it’s still a strenuous walk
Even the easier routes up are still fairly challenging and steep in places, so it’s worth being aware of this. Wear good hiking boots and don’t get complacent – it is one of the UK’s highest mountains after all! It’s advised that most routes will take about six hours there and back, so factor this in too – especially if you’re using public transport.
Admire the views as you go
Don’t just get fixated on seeing the views from the very top – there’s a myriad of beautiful sights to see the entire way up. At certain points you’ll be able to see the sea, neighbouring towns, lakes and other hills in the area – so make time to stop and enjoy them too.
Watch out for other users of the mountain
As well as walkers, the paths up and down Snowdon are used by fell runners and mountain bikers – so make sure to keep your eyes out for those travelling at a faster pace than you!
The weather turns much colder as you near the summit
It may be gloriously warm and sunny at the bottom but the weather atop Snowdon will probably be significantly different! As it’s so exposed, it will be windy and there may also be some snow. The Met Office provide a handy guide to the weather at the summit – including how cold it actually feels – so check it before you set off and bring coats, hats and gloves if needs be.
Don’t expect peace and quiet at the summit!
As it is so popular, you can expect to share your time at Snowdon’s peak with a variety of other walkers – especially on the weekends. Approaching the top, you’ll see some stone steps which lead up to the summit and this is where it really starts to get crowded. The actual summit is up another set of stairs (pictured above).
The summit-top facilities aren’t open all year round…
Snowdon’s summit is home to a visitor centre and café named Hafod Eryr which is operated by Snowdon Mountain Railway. It’s only open during peak season though (from 1 May until the end of October in 2016) so during the rest of the year there are no toilet facilities or food or drink available at the summit – so bring plenty of water and snacks! There are also no bins so take your rubbish with you.
…and the train doesn’t run all year either
If you are planning on walking up and getting the train back down, make sure you check it’ll be in operation on the date you’re going.
Your legs will probably ache the next day!
Unless you’re a seasoned walker, you’ll definitely feel it the next day and, if you’re anything like me, probably for the next few days. But minor discomfort is worth it for the experience!