My boyfriend suggested we should climb Snowdon and at first I wasn’t so sure. I mean why would anyone want to do that? However after having just given up smoking at the time I accepted the challenge to fill my lungs with oxygen and push myself to give something new a try.
We booked a 2 night stay in ‘Tan Y Foel country guest house’ on 10th July 2015. It was in a lovely secluded spot with gorgeous views. The rooms were clean and cosy and the staff were really accommodating, nothing was to much trouble for them. Staying in this guest house was an experience in itself and I would recommend it over and over again. The price was reasonable and the breakfast was fantastic (David especially loved the kippers).
Breakfast is served.
The view from Tan Y Foel.
We couldn’t have picked a better weekend to climb. The sun was shinning and there were no rain clouds in sight. We packed a light bag that included some bottled water, Lucozade, 2 protein bars, a hoody and a waterproof jacket each.
On the drive up to Snowdonia I kept pointing to hills (which I thought were mountains) ‘Is that it?’ David found this hilarious as it became quite obvious that I didn’t actually know the full extent of what I had signed myself up for.
“Is that it?”
Where it all began Rhyd-Ddu path.
We chose to climb up the Rhyd-Ddu path which was one of the shorter, quieter and fairly challenging routes. The lack of people climbing this route surprised me as the views were breath taking from start to finish. At first it was just like walking up a large hill, a fairly steady incline, nothing too strenuous. Then you reach a point where it becomes really steep and rocky, you are continuously climbing. We took a few breaks to have a protein snack and catch our breath during this section. Around the halfway mark I stepped in a bog which wasn’t pleasant as I had to do the rest of the climb with one soggy foot.
The start of the rocky climbing, it got worse!
There comes a point on this path where you suddenly realise how high you are. It goes from hill to steep climb quite quickly and then suddenly you’re at a flat section with a sheer drop down one side and then it hits you. This is were my knees began to shake. I’m not afraid of roller coasters or tall buildings but being on the edge of a cliff got my heart racing. The views were beautiful and made it all worth while though.
These pictures do not do it any justice.
The second half was much more challenging with steeper climbs, narrow paths and thinner air. Right near the peak was the most challenging part for me. A steep zig zag section up hill which joined with another path. This really tired us out and we had to stop quite regularly just to catch our breath. I was ready to give up at this point and it took some words of encouragement from David to get me back on my feet. We powered on and pushed up into the clouds where it got really foggy & damp. Thankfully we took a hoody each and the waterproofs just in case, we were not going to bring them originally because it was so warm. My hair was wet and I was cold to the bone despite my layers.
Into the clouds
You have to cross some pretty frightening ridges near the top with scary drops either side. One of them in particular scared me, it was just a narrow path with a sheer drop right behind you. This bit of the climb has stuck with me ever since. Holding on for dear life and even though I couldn’t see down to the ground, due to the clouds, I could sense it behind me and it my legs were like jelly. David’s walking boots broke at this point as well which wasn’t ideal and the sole came off meaning he had hardly any grip on one foot. Thankfully we were almost near the top at this point. Just a few more rocky paths and climbs to go.
The ridge – Watch your footing.
There was a moment of absolute happiness as we looked up and there in all her glory stood the cafe. This meant that the summit was just a few steps away. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and pride standing at the highest point of Snowdon. I couldn’t believe we had made it 3,560 ft above sea level! Sadly we couldn’t see much in the way of views by the time we reached it as the cloud cover got too thick but we did devour a large pasty and a cup of tea each in the cafe to help us warm up.
We made it to the summit!
Soggy and cold.
Given the shoe situation and the lack of motivation to go through that again we decided to try and get the train down – be warned you may need to take out a mortgage to cover the cost, anyway the train was full. We had no choice but to brave the elements once again.
After a little sulk and some careful consideration we decided to walk down the Llanberis path which is the easiest of paths with a slower but longer decline. This would take us down the other side of the mountain so at least we got to see the views from another angle. Llanberis is also one of the more popular routes and runs alongside the train just to rub it in. David’s other sole fell off which meant he now had hardly any grip at all. This proved a little challenging for him at times but entertaining for me!
Llanberis slow decline.
The point where we broke through the clouds was overwhelming. Again surrounded by gorgeous scenery and that amazing feeling of knowing your almost there! We got a second wind.
So to sum it up; Wales is a beautiful place, Snowdon is not a hill, I didn’t die despite my fears, I actually thoroughly enjoyed myself, I feel really proud of myself and I would definitely do it again! I expected to hurt like hell for weeks after but actually I was stiff for two days and then back to normal.
Panoramic picture of the view on the way up the Rhyd-Ddu path.
Below is a breakdown of the paths.
One more place that I would like to mention is ‘Ty Asha Balti house’ they were voted ‘Welsh curry house of the year’ in 2014. The service was fantastic and the food out of this world. We looked a little out of place as we stopped here on the way back from our climb still in waterproofs with wet hair etc, if they did judge us they certainly didn’t show it.
If you have already climbed Snowdon or are thinking about giving it a go in the future. Please leave me a comment below. I am really interested to hear all about your adventure and which paths you chose to take.
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Next month I am travelling to Thailand & will post all about it when I return.
Thanks for reading.