first trip to Wales when we stayed in Criccieth. In fact, it was on the Royal Wedding date and we had the place to ourselves at first. As a result, we didn't take in any sites -- this was all about Snowdon.
Needless to say, Snowdon is a bit more of a climb than our usual walk. I suggested/decided that perhaps Kuk and Alex would be better off taking the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the top and we could all walk down together. Sounds noble, but it was probably a touch selfish as I knew our pace would be slower with them (and the whinging potentially would be higher).
So, I drove to the back side of the mountain (C, above) and Kuk drove herself and Alex to Llanberis (D) to catch the train. We returned to Conwy for a nice dinner (previous trip here) before heading home.
2011 on the Miner's Track (#2). However, we got a late start and weren't planning to reach the summit (and we didn't).
I was intrigued by the lesser used Ranger's Track (#6) and given that Kuk could move the car, we opted for that on the way up and the Llanberis path (#1) on the way down. I thought the Llanberis path would be the easier descent and it was convenient since the car was there! (There are public transportation options as well).
For reference, our walk in Scotland two weeks ago had a pretty decent climb (and was hotter). It was 14% but only over 1.6 miles.
Slightly more consistent and gentle slope on the way down. Still -12.7% over 4.6 miles though. It took the same time going down (2:38 with 2:13 moving). As is often the case, going down was harder than going up, especially on the knees! There were quite a few folks, myself included, who walked some of the last bit backwards (on pavement) to help the knees and scrunched toes.
Side by side for a comparison. The slightly level bit on the way up was helpful to "rest".
Note: the views and crowds were much better on the way up. I wouldn't recommend the Llanberis path necessarily.
Okay, enough of the pre-amble -- on to the walk!
I have managed to accumulate some "kit" since being here. I had the walking "boots" and Camelbak before hand from our Southwest US trip. My acquired kit includes a microfiber fleece, waterproof jacket, waterproof over-trousers and a fleece hat and gloves (all black, Berghaus since I'm not one for imagination or creativity). You can also see that I have a pair of walking poles as well (from Kuk). This was their maiden voyage and were a big help to distribute the load on the climb. And as you can tell from the geeky plots above, I've got my trusty handheld GPS as well. (Not needed for navigation at all on this trip).
a cute sheep at the start -- different varieties than we normally see
slowly climbing -- this is still looking back
3 peaks in the distance
a little higher -- nice view
Llanberis was reasonable but the Snowdon Met office forecast was terrifying: 70-90% of heavy showers phasing to only rain later. Gale force winds. Basically 75% chance of death more or less. Given the Llanberis forecast we decided to carry on. So glad we did. We stayed dry but the winds did pick up.
Looking back across the flatter section with the peaks in the distance (looking away from Snowdon)
our next ascent and Snowdon still in clouds
still nice views looking back though
the peak still clipped by the clouds
looking back again
we could look over the ridge to our left (north) and see Llanberis
this guy follows us on all our walks!
similar photo -- you can just make out the sea in the background (Caernarfon, etc.)
nearly touching the clouds now
another look back from higher up (and lower cloud cover)
a gust of fog/cloud crossing our path
Llanberis from the clouds
I really liked the relative solitude of the Ranger's Path. We probably saw a half dozen groups behind us (none overtook us!) and another half dozen that passed us going the opposite direction. Compared to the masses on the Llanberis and Miner's path, it was great.
Given that there are so many trails in the UK, many of the locals get used to that solitude. I don't mind seeing folks out and about but even I thought the trail down was a little crowded.
Not much to see here!
Slight haze and generally lower cloud cover. It was considerably worse later in the day during our descent.
you would occasionally get a gust that would clear a viewing port to snap a photo
cloudy view from the top (Miner's track side)
my turn -- hard to find a little space
Ideally we could have communicated to them to eat before coming up because of this. We didn't and so Kuk was bummed that we didn't have a nice relaxing lunch like we do on most of our outings. In fact, the queue was so long we didn't even bother so they just had snacks. Oh well. This part of the plan didn't go as well I guess.
[I would have pre-purchased the earlier train for them but the weather forecast was so miserable I wanted to wait until the day of.]
on the way down -- more fog and more people
down in the valley
different formations, to a degree, on this side -- it looks similar to the [White] Peak District (only bigger)
almost halfway down -- proof that we were reunited
(different) hills in the distance
So in summary -- a great day! Though thousands make this walk I still felt it was a significant accomplishment. (I'd bet many in my office at work haven't done this.) So glad we made the effort (overnight, etc.) and that the weather cooperated for the most part. In hindsight, I'm sure Alex could have made it as well though we would have needed to work on the mental preparation a bit.
The walk down was a little crowded for my taste. My recommendation would be to take the Rhydd Ddu Track (#5 way up top) up and the Ranger's Path down for the most solitude.
For dinner, we had to go back to Watson's Bistro in Conwy. We love this place (we ate there twice on our last visit). It's not cheap, but it's a great meal.
Alex asked if that was moss on top and the waitress had a chuckle (pesto breadcrumbs, actually).
Great day all around.