Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Snowed on Snowdon, 'snow done

Sorry - couldn't resist - Snowdon, which had been snowed on, is now done.  Don't groan, this is the sort of stuff I think about when I'm making my way down off big high mountains.

The main reason for our trip to Wales was to tackle Snowdon so it was great to finally make it.  To be fair we didn't have the greatest weather during the 5 day window we'd allowed for the hike - but we picked the best of the bunch and went for it. The Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Llanystumdwy is the perfect base for exploring Snowdonia and Rhyd Ddu is a straightforward 30 minute drive from the site.

I'd done quite a lot of research,  poring over maps and reading books (I'm half way through Jim Perrin's Snowdon book and it's FAB) and opted for the Rhyd Ddu route on account of the fact that it's generally considered the quietest and the prettiest of the routes.  (For anyone who's interested our exact route was along the Rhyd Ddu path from the station, then on to Bwlch-Cwm Llan, up via Allt Maenderyn and Bwlch Main, then back along Bwlch Main and Llechog - and if you think any of my spelling is dodgy then be thankful you can't hear my pronunciation!)

Down in the valleys it was a very pleasant day but we were very well aware that the summits were wintery and were glad we had come prepared - which is more than I can say for many of the folks we saw at the top who, in thick fog, ice and snow clearly thought the best outfit was light cotton trousers/ denim/ leggings and trainers, but I digress...

Yr Aran
I've spent a lot of time pondering why we hike high hills - is it just to get to the top or is it something more?  We've now "done" the big three (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) and I can honestly say that Snowdon is the one I'd go back to because it's interesting and not just because it's high - in the same way I regularly go back to Blencathra - there's just something about hiking a fine looking mountain that makes it so much more that just another yomp.

Getting across Bwlch Main in the snow and wind was an interesting experience and halfway along we bumped into one of the wardens - who I suspect is a well known figure to those familiar with the mountain with his brightly knitted hat and generally colourful clobber.  We had a good old chat about the mountain and he put my slightly jangled nerves to rest about the remainder of the route.

Even though the trains weren't running due to the weather conditions the summit was absolutely rammed.  The visitors' centre was closed but was still being made use of as a lunch shelter/ smoking hut/ urinal creating an interesting aroma that somewhat put me off of sausage and egg mayo roll.

Even though the route down wasn't all that different to the route up, it was less taxing and gave us some slightly different views to enjoy and some interesting icy rocks to photograph.


We'll definitely be back there to try a different route - or maybe give the same one a go in rather better conditions.  I'm not at all sure about the visitors' centre and I'll probably get into trouble with someone whatever I say - but I'm not a big fan - from down in the valley it reminded me of the sort of evil lair a Bond villain might hide out in.  Who knows, maybe it is and the whole "tea and cakes" thing is just a big ruse.  If the railway ever converts to nuclear power - then might be the time to worry...

"I've been expecting you..."

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