Firstly if you have some stories or photos from the bank holiday adventures it would be great to get a selection up as inspiration for the next adventure, long weekend or Monday morning blues.
The previous time I headed up Snowden in Wales was at the end of a four day trip doing the British 3 peaks under pedal power with a couple of uni mates. Its safe to say that other than a brief encounter with the sun on our first summit Ben Nevis it had not made a huge appearance. In fact water had poured out of my camera during the second summit writing it off for the remainder of the trip.
The same definitely cannot be said about this weekend trip. The country was basked in sunshine. Reading the weather reports the night before heading off and some last minute packing it was looking like not only might we have a clear summit but it might be dry and potentially sunny. Despite reading this I still shoved in numerous jumpers and waterproofs to cover ever eventuality.
A group of rowing buddies had decided to organise this trip leaving London Friday afternoon before making our way to a hostel near Snowden. Following a slight detour via reading due to becoming trapped in a relatively new one way system thanks to our sat nav’s decision on the best route. We made it across the border high on a classic motorway car journey mix of sweets and a burger from some fast food place just as night began to set in. Preventing us from seeing any of the evenings backdrop. Arriving at the hostel later than planned the place looked fantastic and we soon crashed out in one of the most comfortable bunk beds I have been in. I would definitely recommend staying at the hostel which was ideally located, had great facilities and staff. Check them out on the link below.
We were woken early thanks to a well-timed fire alarm. Due to all of us moving too slowly we never did see the culprit with the burnt toast. We opted to go for breakfast just down the road at a wee café. I can’t say I would be rushing back to the place but the breakfast certainly filled a hole along with a big mug of coffee and a few cups of tea, we were certainly set for a day in the hills.
As we arrived at the overloaded car park for the start I was already regretting the trousers as you could already feel the day heating up. The initial walk up was pretty relaxed as it begins with a gentle well-trodden path. I came to a cross road where we could choose the miners track or a slightly more interesting route which I found out was Crib Goch. Only two of us opted for this route on the grounds that the two of us had some sort of reputation for taking on challenges or something a long those lines. Unperturbed we started scrambling up the hillside breaking every now and then as we got stuck behind a couple of larger groups. Sweat was soon dripping off my forehead and my shirt soaked.It was however a fantastic route up and our occasional stops showing some incredible views down the valley.
Reaching the top we soon found ourselves heading a long a ridge where you suddenly have to face the sheer exposure of being up there. Despite it not being particularly high it still felt quite a vulnerable position. You could make out scrapes on the rock from crampons used during the winter by mountaineers. I think it would be a very precarious position with winter weather up there although probably an incredible experience. One certainly worth going back for. We met a few people who were clenching the rock on all fours possibly slightly unnerved by the whole experience but they were still making progress in the right direction.
Perching on a ledge we munched on a bag of goodies including chocolate, sweets and some dried bananas provided by my climbing buddy. We sat there relaxing in the sunshine trying to make out the rest of the group on the lower slopes to no avail. The route continued along the ridge before a couple of scrambles up and round a small rock face before traversing the hillside quite cautiously over shale like rock.
We joined the now much busier main track towards the summit. As we ascended the crowds of people began to increase till we round the corner at the top to find heaps of people. It was fantastic seeing so many people out and about enjoying the outdoors but not what I anticipated seeing. Still we found a quite spot. We watched a paraglide floating in the sky a long with a number of seagulls and crows flying and swooping to the deck to fight over debris left by some people who couldn’t find a bin. This I find slightly difficult to understand as these beautiful places certainly don’t look the same strewn with wrappers, cans, bottles or anything else that apparently cant be transported off the hillside by the person. Although we probably set a bad example when it is accepted normal practise on the likes of Everest which is the pinnacle for many a high altitude mountaineer.
Rant over. It was a fantastic day and I would certainly recommend the trip. There are so many other great paths, woodland trails, summits and Munroe’s to explore and despite being a Snowden being a very popular destination next time I think I will choose a slightly quieter a less trodden path.