Day 112: Mount SnowdonJune 7, 2017 in the United Kingdom
Up and out early today, as we had a huge day planned - climbing Mount Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales! Left our apartment by 8am and hit the road, arriving at the trailhead around 9:15. It's a 6 hour hike there and back, so we knew an early start was needed! The weather was looking OK, overcast and windy but no showers forecast until evening - another good reason to hurry up! Particularly since I didn't have any decent cold-weather hiking gear and was just walking in jeans and a leather jacket.
After a couple of false starts we properly headed up the trail around 9:30. Steady ascent for the first part, mostly rock stairs and a couple of larger boulders to scramble over. After an hour or so we reached the top of a shoulder, came round a corner and could finally see the peak of Snowdon looming above us. It's 1085 metres high, which is quite tall, but nowhere near what we'd done in Kilimanjaro a few years ago.
The walk we were doing was about 10 kilometres all up, but with 730 metres of climbing involved as well! Once we'd reached this shoulder it got a fair bit easier, with a long flat-ish section, but eventually started back upwards again. The last hour or so was quite steep, with a few sections of scree and some large boulders and rocks to clamber over. Schnitzel was doing very well - obviously getting carried over the large rocks, but generally keeping up with us. And getting lots of pats, since there were quite a few people around.
Finally we got to the final ridge where we emerged from the lee side and into gale-force winds! The final climb along the ridge was difficult because of the wind, and also because the top of the mountain was hidden in cloud - we never quite knew how much further we had to go! And of course the stupid tourist train full of elderly people kept rumbling past.
Eventually we made it, right up to the summit and took some photos with the trig point there. Lots of people, so not great photos unfortunately. And no view either, we were completely surrounded by foggy clouds! We made it just in time though, as my legs were pretty done by this point and I wouldn't have wanted to go much further.
There was of course a cafe and visitor's centre at the top (for people who've caught the expensive railway up), which offered a respite from the cold and the wind. But dogs weren't allowed inside, so we stood in the foyer and glowered at the staff. Munched on some Welsh cakes and pasties which were surprisingly good, then started on the long walk done.
Took a different path down; the first 30 minutes was the same trail but then veered off. About an hour of very steep downhill where the path got a bit vague in places, but once we finally reached a large alpine lake, it was basically completely flat for the next 90 minutes back to the car park. Arrived back at the car around 4pm, so the estimate of 6 hours return (plus time at the top) was pretty accurate!
We'd booked different accommodation nearby, so drove there as the rain started to fall - very lucky we were! This time we were staying the spare room of an older Welsh couple, Rosemary and Alex. Had a nice chat with them and their very elderly dog, before heading out in now-pouring rain to a local pub. Loaded up with a big heavy burger and a sticky toffee pudding which we felt was well deserved! Then back home where I had another chat with our hosts while Shandos had a bath.
Off to bed very early and very tired - my phone says 26,000 steps and 96 flights of stairs today! Yikes.Read more