A beginner’s guide to walking up Snowdon…
My vision of climbing climbing mountains in this country is steep but gentle grassy slopes with patchwork-quilt views, the odd sheep, a mildly raised heartbeat and a thin film of perspiration on the skin that disappears after a standstill and a breather.
When the peak of Snowdon first edged into view, after I had a moment to re-tie my boot laces, the smugness was instantly wiped from my face. I did not expect it to look anything like that. It was a giant, pointy, craggy summit, nearly blocking out the midday sun. I swore I could even see patches of ice hiding in the crevices.
“This is definitely not what I expected” I said to myself and my friend – who by the end of the walk, I had massive respect for (and thank god for his previous experience of Snowdon!). This was my first time. Could we really climb this and get back down in the time we’d set ourselves – 5 hours?. Anyway – time to start by taking the Miners Trail route.
What surprised me the most, as we began the climb, was the sheer beauty, peacefulness and remoteness of the place. How could I have been previously unaware of how stunning this part of North Wales was? I was expecting something like the Rivington, or a nice walk in the Lakes, equally as beautiful, but not quite as epic. The weather was blowing a gale, and rain that was refreshing but a nuisance to my glasses. I tried to take photos, but didn’t know where to begin. The distant coast, sapphire-blue lakes and surrounding peaks were all calling to be captured in pixels.
After an excruciating few hours, we made it the top; time to enjoy a well-earned bottle of beer that had been chilling in my backpack in the near-freezing temperature. I was adamant that we could’t go down the way we came up – time to go down the easy route. It felt much safer! I was thankful for my sturdy walking boots which saved me from a few trips and falls, I’m clumsy at best, and my walking pole.
We hit the foot the mountain after a quick brew at the cafe on the way down, in just over 5 hours from the start. Result. It was hard, much harder than I thought – I know my legs will be aching for days, but I’m massively proud of myself – and ultimately got to experience absolute beauty. Do it again? Definitely. Where’s that steam train? (for one way at least!)?