Fog, fog and much more fog!
Since tackling Ben Nevis back in April this year, Jake and I had been wanting to tackle other hikes across the UK. This time we challenged ourselves to Snowdon. My nephew was the first person to mention climbing Snowdon this weekend just gone, he’s part of a local cubs group and they had to challenge themselves to something. Where most 9 year old boys would challenge themselves to make tea for their family or something along those lines, Elliot decided he wanted to challenge himself to climbing the second highest peak in the UK, such an adventurous child! Since Elliot decided on this challenge we all thought it would be a fun idea to join in and climb it together.
Snowdon is a climb I’ve always wanted to do but never felt fit enough. I’d been to the summit once as a child but we got the train up (cheaters, I know!). However since Ben Nevis, I’ve realised I’m much fitter than I thought and I actually enjoy the sense of achievement when you reach the peak. We set off to Wales on Saturday morning, in the rain and fog. It takes around two hours to get there and I’d kept my fingers crossed the whole way that the weather would clear but we didn’t seem to be in much luck! If you’re looking for a beginners route to climb Snowdon your best starting point is Llanberis, this is where the train also sets off from, if that’s your thing! Take the Llanberis Path, it’s not the easiest route but definitely doable. The start of the walk is a steep hill but it’s a normal road so not too difficult. As you come to the turning for the Llanberis path that’s when it becomes rocky but fairly level. Unfortunately for us, the clouds were so low we couldn’t see anything below us so as we were walking up we just focused on our technique and stopped when we needed to. After around an hour and a half we came to The Halfway House which is a little cafe with benches and I’m sure on a sunny day, it would be an amazing stopping point but we decided on 5 minutes rest to eat bananas and to re hydrate ourselves.
The second half of the climb was definitely more difficult than the first, with the first 30 minutes at quite a steep incline, also due to the weather conditions the ground became quite slippy and the rocks were uneven meaning it was quite difficult to keep a consistent pace. After a while you come to a bridge which the train passes over and it flattens out for a while giving a well deserved opportunity to catch your breath ready for the final climb. We all knew what to expect when we came closer to the summit, the one niggle I had was because we couldn’t see the peak so we couldn’t gauge how far we had to go. The final 40 minutes of our climb was definitely a challenge and we split up as a group at this point. I found no issues with the steepness of the ascent but the ground beneath was made up of tiny rocks meaning we had to take our time as to not slip. After a steep incline and 10 minutes of flat ground we got to our final challenge which paves the way to the summit. At this point, most of the paths join together making it quite a busy path even on a bad day! The path becomes narrow as you reach the peak so you have to take your time and move with the flow but once you’ve reached the top, it’s amazing! Even without the views, the sense of achievement is so worth it and as we climbed as a group it was a really lovely feeling sharing this with everyone.
After a few ham butties and chocolate (hiking essentials) we made our way back down. I’ve realised the best way to come down is let momentum take you, otherwise you can really feel the heavy impact on your legs. Luckily for us, half way down the clouds began lifting and we finally experienced some of the incredible views around Snowdon. We definitely made the most of the sun coming through and took our time coming down, stopping to take pictures and really take in the scenery around us. After what felt like the longest descent we’d finally made it down the bottom and had completed Snowdon. With very tired legs and blistered feet we set off from Llanberis over to the caravan in Benllech ready to settle for the night. That first beer when we got back was one of the most deserved beers I’ve ever had! All I needed after that was a hot shower and some good grub and I’d feel back to normal again! Snowdon, I will be back to challenge myself again, especially in the sunshine!