I use social media a lot to find out what is happening locally to me and any latest updates to outdoor activities etc. I find it a useful, quick tool to keep up to date with content and events so when I found out about Ordnance Survey’s Get Outside campaign on the 30th September I checked out what was local and found a free walk happening in Llanberis on that day. It turned out to be a walk up the Llanberis path to the top of Snowdon– having never walked this way up the highest mountain in Wales before I thought I’d give it a go, the assignment could wait! I wanted to be outdoors (plus I got a free bright orange t-shirt! Woo)
A quick easy sign-up, I was sent details by our walk leader Jason Rawles, a Mountain leader local to Llanberis who is also an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion – an outdoorsy person chosen by Ordnance Survey to encourage others, young and old etc, to get outside and have fun.
I meet with several others at the Padarn Hotel in the morning. There were eleven of us, with 6 others expected who sadly didn’t show in the end- the wet weather forecast may have put them off?
After introductions and safety talk etc. we were on our way, straight up the concrete road to the starting point marked by a stone.
Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about the Snowdon routes, especially the Llanberis path, have said the same thing each time- that this path is a looong slog and that I wouldn’t enjoy it.
Indeed it can be a slog, it just depends on how you view it. Stopping frequently, having a laugh and good conversations take away that mindset and guess what? That is what we had all the way up.
Our group was largely female but a mix of unique characters– from interesting women who have overcome (or still trying to) adversary or mental health issues to women using the outdoors to better themselves and help others to women who wanted to challenge themselves on this beautiful mountain. It was fascinating to talk to each of them and support each other on the long slog…
The route was busy that day, not surprisingly as the Llanberis path attracts over 250k+ each year and the last weekend in September generally has fair weather to walk up the mountain before the heavy rains begin and winter starts. We did encounter some rain, certainly cloud at the top, but we’re fortunate enough not to experience any heavy rain.
Several times the Snowdon diesel and steam trains passed us, which were lovely to see. I sent my other half Terry a video and he found out that we can get reduced rates due to our railway staff cards… So I took the hint and will wait until he can make it to North Wales and have a go on the trains then. Can you go up on the steam one and return by diesel? Shall have to enquire…
As we neared the top it got colder and windier. Forecast was in the minus numbers with winds of up to 25mph so we wrapped up and headed into the clouds to the trig point and visitor centre.
Now, I have pet hates, we all do and the business of summits, any summit, is one of mine… So Snowdon, on par with a busy Pen y Fan or Helvellyn on a good summer’s day is frustrating to me. A huge effort is expended by a lot of people to get there and they deserve to stand at the trig for their photos etc. but some do spoil it for others by pushing, chucking litter and generally being a pest. Grrr.
The summit was busy, with the usual queue for the trig- we decided not to wait in the wind and rain and head to the centre to warm up a bit…
Coming back down was quick and enjoyable. The views of the clouds trailing across the pathway was spectacular… Then we looked around and saw the summit view – wow! Definitely a memory that will stick with me- Yr Wydda showed itself as it is meant to be – an emposingly impressively high mountain where the final battle of King Arthur was fought, the explorers of old used its slopes to practise for Everest and a giant, Rhitta, with a cloak of beards from his the men he killed was killed on its slopes. Yeah, it is a specular mountain full of rich history that is very admirable.
I really enjoyed this day for a variety of reasons, a good leader in Jason (and Eli Greenacre, another OS Champion who’s stomping grounds is the Brecon Beacons that I know all too well. I really enjoyed getting to know her and discuss Scouting), an fun interesting team, the beautiful views and basically just getting to be outside again.
I would recommend to anyone keen to explore the outdoors to attend these events as they are fun. Ordnance Survey is doing a great initiative here.
Jason made a video of the day which you an view here: