A random weekend in November it seemed like a good idea to hike a mountain! Luckily winter hadn’t quite set in! Here are my top tips for climbing Snowdon.

At Pen y Pass (SH 647557 / LL55 4NY) car park at the foot of Snowdon you’re faced with two options: the Miners’ Track or more challenging Pyg Track. Despite arriving in good time, however, the car park was full, which left no alternative but to park at Nant Peris (SH 607582 / LL55 4UF).

It was November, and being the start of the low season (through to April), I had no time to dawdle. Aside from the shorter daylight hours, there are only four Sherpa shuttle buses a day departing from the car parks to the official climb starting line. If you miss the morning lift from Nant Peris, as I did, it’s a three mile up-hill slog to that point.

563711_10151681207650194_1655455546_nI’d chosen a circular route, ascending using the Pyg Track, with the return descent via the more forgiving Miners’ Path. As you leave the car park the track welcomes you with a manageable incline, but as you get round the corner and the café slides out of sight the route becomes craggy and uneven. The sense that you’re climbing a mountain kicks in and does one of two things: motivates you, or makes you realise what you’re in for!

Crib Goch is the first peak you see and is often mistaken for Snowdon; whilst it looks imposing, it is 150 metres lower. It can be used as an alternative route but with a knife edge ridge it’s no novice climb. Arriving at the Pyg Track and Crib Goch split I was rewarded with rolling views of the national park for the first time. Snowdon was still lurking around the corner but I paused here, enjoying the landscape: three lakes, a dozen peaks and an enigmatic expanse of Snowdonia. I took a breath and looked back on comparably the little height I’d climbed.

579275_10151681206990194_1618967063_nFor the next hour the track continued in the same inconsistent manner – a few moderate challenges and the odd tricky manoeuvre across smoother sloping boulders, but nothing too daunting. This stretch merges with the Miners’ Track. Young children, the fit and the not so fit, as well as sporty grandparents were all taking on the mountain; and with the train closed for the winter there’d be no cheating at the top either!

A wall mouldered by wire mesh marked the start of the final stretch. I took a seat, sharing body heat with two dozen others, all envious of my chocolate snacks. The final leg of the climb must be a 60 degree incline. It took about 30 minutes and upon arriving at the top I was hit by a wall of cold air. It was a beautiful day but on the ridge of Snowdon I was in a cloud. A 15-minute walk took me to the mound of rocks that mark the summit. There are no hand rails just the simple understanding that you’re in the heavens and that either side is a drop not to be taken lightly. That aside, you’re rewarded with the great satisfaction of achievement, and apparently on a clear day, views that stretch as far as Dublin .

I’d passed many chirpy brigades on my way up – who were on their way back down. As I set off I morphed into one of them; high spirits and a spring appeared in my step – I’d conquered climbing Snowdon! It had taken six hours and five minutes and throughout had provided some of the most beautiful views in the UK. And just to top it off, I’d arrived back in time for the last bus!

Top Tips for Climbing Snowdon

Clothing: Wear proper walking boots; trainers are simply not an option and avoid jeans which hold the wet and make you cold

Arrive early: The most convenient car park at Pen y Pass is full by 8am. The morning Sherpa bus service departs at 9.30am

Take food and water: Take something sugary for that vital energy boost Contact: www.visitsnowdonia.infowww.visitwales.com.

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