Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Snowdon

Without doubt Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the most commercially exploited mountain on these islands. Like Cairn Gorm it has a summit railway, like Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis it has its endless stream of “National Three Peakers” and other “sponsored walkers” and then to cap it all, quite literally, there is the summit cafe. A long weekend in Nant Peris gave us the opportunity to walk up and have a look at the new cafe last weekend and while Pauline’s broken elbow excluded Crib Goch there are plenty of other interesting routes. Sitting outside the Rucksack Club hut we could hear and see the trains at Clogwyn station.

Clogwyn Station from Nant Peris

The faint spiral of smoke in the centre of the picture is from one of the stream engines waiting on a descending train to clear the section from Clogwyn station to the summit station and so allow it to complete its journey to the top. There are routes straight up the facing slopes but we preferred a (slightly) less steep route just out of picture to the right. On our way to Clogwyn station we met the first of the seriously underprepared and woefully equipped Charity Walkers – “Doing a wonderful job raising a ‘decent amount’ and there are 11 teams out today” according to one of the check point marshals. I may have got this wrong but sending people out on Snowdon, or any other mountain, wearing trainers, tracksuit tops and jeans is both wrong and dangerous. These teams weren’t being looked after by capable leaders between check points, they were left to make there own way either without or unable to use a map and compass – at least one group were reduced to asking other walkers for directions to their next check point.

Most of the people travelling to the summit do so in the relative comfort of the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Approaching Clogwyn 1

Approaching Clogwyn 2

Approaching Clogwyn Station

Approaching Clogwyn 3

Approaching Clogwyn 4

Beyond Clogwyn Station we joined the stream of walkers making their way to the summit, in the clag. With no views to be seen in any direction we enjoyed a hot drink in the new cafe which is better than the previous one but if you were to think dammed by faint praise you wouldn’t be far wrong. You may be wondering why we bothered, at all, but once away from the main paths, the cafe and the trains Snowdon is a real mountain at the head of a big horseshoe, in the centre of a grand massif.

LLyn LlydawLlyn Llidaw with Crib Goch in cloud on the left and the Glyders beyond

Y Lliwedd

Llyn Llidaw and the ridge rising to Y Lliwedd on the left

Yr Aran

Yr Aran from Y Lliwedd

Descending to Y Lliwedd we met a group of 3, two of whom weren’t well equipped but were simply ecstatic - “we’ve been up Snowdon today” one exclaimed. “It is our first time and it has been brilliant, we’ve got this proper mountaineer to look after us and it has been really hard” he concluded. That is why we were there too because it is brilliant and Snowdon is in the centre of an area of big hills of immense variety – there are quieter, more remote and more spectacular summits but Snowdon retains a certain grandeur despite the trains, the crowds and the cafe.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the write up Ian, I simply adore Snowdonia and you've taken some cracking photos. All things being well I should be up there for a few days in the next month or so, to do some long distance training.

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  2. Hi Iain,

    I was there with the children on wednesday. Sadly the only thing we could see was our hands in front of our faces....not much of a view!

    Your photo's only days earlier show me what it should look like!

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