We had attempted Snowdon earlier in the year (Easter) but were forced back down the mountain about two thirds of the way up after Storm Katie hit and the Watkin Path turned into an actual river. Winds of up to 60mph did not allow for easy walking along ridges. So, with a good forecast, a borrowed six man tent and recruiting an experienced mountaineer (Ginger Dave) we thought we would make a second attempt at Simon’s first mountain summit.
After leaving it really late to book the campsite because we are so great at organising ourselves, Dave managed to get us in for the late May bank holiday weekend at the campsite within walking distance of Bedgellert, Cae Du. Leaving Huddersfield at 4pm on the Friday preceding a bank holiday was not the best idea in the world, a three hour drive did turn into a four hour mission but it was completely worth it because this campsite is STUNNING. Nestled in the valley of the River Glaslyn with imposing mountains reaching up on both sides you really feel that you are in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. We did get electric hook-up but used it only one time to charge our phones so it wasn’t really worth it in the long run. The on-site facilities were fab, free showers and an on-site shop open 8am to 10pm selling the all important midgie repellents. Would defo recommend.
The tent went up surprisingly easy, though to be fair we did have a qualified mechanical engineer in the party and there was three of us. We got absolutely eaten alive by the local wildlife though, I think Simon was traumatised. After all that hard work driving, putting up tents and blowing up air beds, we went down the local and got good and drunk. Walking back to the campsite in the pitch black was hilarious, especially upon realising there was another camper walking right behind us and getting freaked out in case he was a zombie.
Saturday was spent chilling out really. We had planned to sleep in but because it was surprisingly hot and sunny we were up at the crack of dawn with the light filtering in and got up and out before the tent reached desert temperatures. We went on a short walk around the valley and down some old copper mines that I am sure I had visited as a kid because the creepy miner mannequins looked really familiar, unless I recognised them from every generic nightmare I have ever had. Shudder. Afternoon was spent with beer and BBQ, as did everyone else on the campsite providing a brilliant atmosphere and it really did feel like summer, even in Wales (I was shocked too). The only downside was the the local shop was in Llanberis, a good 30 minute – 40 minute drive away, that’s if you don’t get stuck behind coaches which I really do not think should be allowed to go down those crazy narrow snakey roads.
With Sunday came the big day. Dave insisted that we needed to leave the campsite at 7am to get a car parking spot at the top car park, the most popular parking destination for starting the ascent of Snowdon. We laughed at this but did leave at 7am, taking our camping stove with us to make coffees and breakfast at the car park. To our shock and horror, the car park was completely rammed. I guess that’s what you get for a sunny bank holiday weekend! We did manage to find a spot in a lay-by quite a bit further down (where some scary hippy started shouting at me even though I did the most amazing parallel park).
With a slight change to our route, we decided to go straight up the side of the ridge to our left and come out just below Crib Goch. This Simon did not find so easy – his fear of heights almost left us in a sticky situation a few months before in Gordale Scar. However, just like he did that time, he overcame his fear of reeling backwards off the rocks and we made it up. I do have say here I know how it feels to be terrified of something and force yourself to do it so I am super proud of him. It my case it is having to have an injection, but this is something I come across less than Simon comes across scrambling, thankfully.
After resting a bit below Crib Goch we headed back to the Pyg Track to make the ascent. This path was absolutely bursting with experienced hikers, dog walkers and people that really were not wearing the right footwear. That’s the beautiful thing about Snowdon, in the right weather it makes mountain climbing accessible to all levels of experience. We made it to the top pretty easily with one minor Mars Bar stop (we live and die by the idea that Mars Bars are the gift of god for walkers) and had a quick summit selfie but it was so busy we decided to have lunch a bit further away from the main thoroughfare.
This decision to take lunch elsewhere meant Dave deciding that we would climb down a steep scree slope instead of taking the dedicated path. I love my best friend but I could have murdered him for this decision, I was TERRIFIED. I am really confident going up and scrambling over rocks but for some reason downhill, and especially when the ground is not stable under my feet, is my worst nightmare. I went down on my bum most of the way and I have never done so many squats in a short space of time in my life.
After the descent from the summit of Snowdon, Dave (again, I have no idea why we let him lead this walk) decided that we should go along the ridge. I think it is called Y Lliwedd though I am not 100% sure but either way, it was a ridge with two peaks and lots of scrambling. I would have found it so much fun if I was not exhausted from my continuous squatting down the face of Snowdon, I must have looked hilarious. The views again from both peaks were amazing though so I am really glad that we did it. The descent from here and back to the Miners Track was pretty uneventful, though at this point long and arduous.
My GPS watch ran out of battery about 6 hours into the walk around the 7.2 mile point. The elevation shows to be 3,445ft of gain but I would bring this into question. Snowdon itself is about 3000ft and we did 4 peaks, it was a big day! Either way, we had an absolutely brilliant time and we were amazingly lucky with the weather, it was crystal clear all day and I was happy that Simon’s first summit was so spectacular.
Needless to say, we slept well that night and I was certainly feeling the burn the following morning, I could barely walk. I couldn’t run for a week! The boys were fine though, so I made them pack up the tent and did the bare minimum (you’ve got to milk it). After a small stroll around Beddgelert, mainly because my legs weren’t functioning properly, we said our goodbyes and headed home.
All in all this was an amazing weekend in a truly spectacular landscape and a great way for us to get back into camping again. After returning the borrowed tent to it’s rightful owner we went straight out to Go Outdoors and bought the Enigma 5 and then booked two weekends away!