I planned for a while (along with son Joe) to have a walk up Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa, to ‘rectify’ not going all the way to the top in snowy February. Joe wanted to get the top as he’s never been to the summit and I wanted to see it in actual sunshine. All of my trips to the top have seen mist, rain, sleet or snow (or all four!).
And I also wanted some training for my forthcoming Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge.
We headed off early on Saturday in the hope of getting a space in the Pen-Y-Pass car park and then starting up the Pyg Track nice and early (7.30 ish). So, we left the house at 5 a.m, we did indeed get to the car park at 7.30 a.m – but it was already full. I parked further down the hill towards Llanberis in one of two large lay-bys. And we then walked for twenty minutes back up hill to the Pyg Track start. It’s all good Yorkshire 3 Peaks training exercise I guess 🙂
By the way – the Pyg track’s name has a couple or more postulated origins.. see wikipedia for a round-up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon).
The Pyg track itself was a nice walk although the promised sun was obscured by low cloud all the way to the summit. There were a few other walkers about but it wasn’t too crowded out (at that point!) and I enjoyed the mix of scenery and gradient .. a more interesting route than the LLanberis path for sure.
After the final zig-zagging steep section of the Pyg track (which had been joined a few minutes earlier by the Miner’s track) we emerged on to the top ridge of the Llanberis path, the junction marked by a large standing stone. I don’t have a great head for exposed heights but sometimes imagination is worse than reality. I’ve previously stood on the Llanberis path at the standing stone and seen people turn right rather than head back down to Llanberis – and drop quickly out of sight. Down what I imagined was a cliff-hugging path. I’m sure in winter it’s a down-route you’d need to tackle with caution and with spikes on but I was happy going up and down it without an attack of the jelly legs. Actually I’d brought my hillsound spikes just in case as I’d seen the train track was still snow-bound up to a week ago so assumed the higher paths woud be too.
The walk to the summit was mist-bound. No sign of the forecasted sunshine but we’d decided that if the cafe was open we’d have a cuppa and wait out the cloud-burn. We saw a train go downhill past us on the right, actually heard more than saw, as the mist was quite thick. But that meant the cafe was open and was taking some folk back down to Llanberis. I can understand why people who aren’t so fit or can’t walk up to the summit for whatever reason would want to get a train up .. but in good weather, for the spectacular views. Getting a train up to what is clearly a cloud-shrouded peak displays a certain type of stoic optimism! Anyway, we killed some time in the cafe (first day of the new season and a new batch of till assistants were all learning the ropes) but after half an hour, the game of attrition between our boredom and the mist’s intransigence ended. The mist won out and we headed back down the mountain (Via the Pyg track then diverting on to steeply-inclined Miner’s track) lamenting the lack of a clear summit.
The Miner’s track was by now really busy with lots of people heading uphill, to the point where it was taking us a while to wend our way down the path; as we had to keep stopping to let people and their assorted hounds use the paved sections rather than stray on to the looser scree. We actually detoured off the path a couple of times and picked out our own path, rather than be held up by those coming up. All good spirits though, there was a lot of general banter – a mountainside of amateur weather forecasters and dog lovers 😉
About halfway down the Miner’s track we realised the sun was beginning to break through and within a few minutes we could look behind and above us and see Snowdon summit. Pah. Still, better great views for part of the walks, even at a lower elevation, than none at all. So we took our time heading down and check out at some of the old derelict copper mining buildings along the route. More info about the Miner’s Track (and a couple of videos) here on the Snowdonia National Park site.
Here are a few photos from the more ‘mooching’ Miner’s track part of the day: