Friday 21 September 2018

Another Week in Wales: Day Five

snowdon, mountain, hiking, travel, north-wales, view

Day one: Aberystwyth

Day two: Barmouth

Day three: Porthmadog, via Portmeirion

Day four: Y Felinheli, via a whistle-stop tour of Snowdonia

Day five: Snowdon
Before you get stuck into all the action from day five, are you up-to-date with the rest of the trip?

After a night spent in the ‘opulent’ surroundings of Port Dinorwic Apartments, we were due an early start to ensure that we made the most of the upcoming day. After all, we had big plans for day five – for an activity that had almost defined the trip.

Day five was the day when we would climb Snowdon.

We had already picked out our chosen route and finalised our plans the night before, ready for an early start. So, it wasn’t long before we were up and ready to go, with bags packed and walking gear on.

Jumping in the car, we drove up to the National Park Authority car park just outside Rhyd Ddu where we were due to start the Snowdon Ranger path up the mountain. At this point, we experienced a minor hiccup in our plans when the machine in the car park ate our money and refused to spit out a ticket. As it was still early, there was no one else around and no number on the machine to call, so we decided not to risk getting a ticket and instead, abandoned the Ranger path in favour of the more popular Llanberis path.

By this point, it was getting on for 9am, I was irritated about parting with £5 for no good reason, and we were losing the advantages our early start would have given us. Without further ado, we parked up, grabbed our bags, and headed off to start the ascent.

The Llanberis path is the longest route up Snowdon, totalling 7km, but it is also the most popular and the most gradual escalation. Due to its popularity and a large amount of foot traffic using this path daily, it has ironically become known as the ‘motorway’ – something that we experienced firsthand as we joined the crowds slowly making their way to the top.

snowdon, travel, hiking, mountain, north-wales

Just as we left the tarmac and started on the trail proper, the sky which had been threatening rain all morning finally came through on its promise and delivered a deluge of freezing rain straight down on us. Soaked through and sopping wet, our only option was to keep on walking in an attempt to stave off the cold.

Including a series of semi-frequent rest stops, we finally made it to the top in just four hours! Although that might sound like a long time (and trust me, it felt like a lot longer!), we were told that the average ascent time for the Llanberis time is actually four hours. Look at that – right on target!

Absolutely exhausted and with clothes and bags still wet from the sudden deluge, the summit simply couldn’t have been a more welcome sight. After taking our obligatory Snowdon summit photos, we headed into the Summit CafĂ© for a well-deserved sausage roll, drink and a sit-down.

Once we felt sufficiently rested enough to tackle the mountain once more, it was time to say goodbye to the jaw-dropping views and head back down the trail again. Unsurprisingly, coming down was much easier than going up! With just a quick pit stop halfway down for some water and a Welsh cake (when in Wales!), we made it back to the car in just under two and a half hours.

Despite still enduring wet clothes, the tables had completely turned and on our way down, we were treated to sunshine breaking through the clouds and blowing the mist away. The views were spectacular, and the warmth was welcome, yet ironically, we managed to get sunburned! I guess you can’t have it all, right? 

snowdon, north-wales, travel, hiking

Absolutely exhausted, we returned to our wonderful room at Port Dinorwic to rest and recuperate before thinking about dinner.

Several hours later, we headed into nearby Caernarfon in search of sustenance. As we were both very sore and achy, we decided we weren’t bothered about looking for somewhere nice and instead, we made a beeline for the local Wetherspoons. The cheap and cheerful food did the trick and before long, we were fed, watered, and ready for bed.

After a short drive back to Y Felinheli, we prepared for our last night in Port Dinorwic Apartments and had an early night after all the events of the day!

Have you ever climbed Snowdon? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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