If you are looking for dramatic landscapes and a physical challenge while in the UK than the best place to head is Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.
Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, absolutely dominates the local landscape and offers a formidable challenge to all those who attempt to scale its towering height.
This is exactly what we decided to do on a bit of a whim last summer. Equipped with hiking boots we had bought the night before, we set of from Chester determined to reach the peak. Two hours after we began our ascent we did just that. Success! We might not win any Olympic medals for speed, but we were determined and we reached the top.
A few tips for climbing Mount Snowdon
- There is a bus service, called the Snowdon Sherpa, that travels from parking lots throughout the park to the various trails that travel up Snowdon. This allows you to ascend on our trail and descend on another without worrying where your car is. You can also just use the bus to travel around the area.
- There are a number of different routes that travel up the mountain, all with varying degrees of difficulty. Do your research in advance and make sure you pick one that suits your fitness level. The easiest route up is Llwybyr Llanberis Path, which is also the longest. We went up The Pyg Track and down The Miners Track and found it challenging but safe. The Miners Track requires some scrambling so it’s not suitable for everyone. This map from Walk Eryri gives a good overview of the routes.
- Snowdon is one of the most popular places for climbing in the UK and is one of the mountains on the infamous Three Peaks Challenge, so don’t expect to be the only ones here. We actually got stuck in a human traffic jam part way up. Just take your time and be patient with those who are maybe a little less fit. You don’t deserve to be there anymore than anyone else. Also, if you’re a little slow let those behind you pass, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.
- Be a good Boy or Girl Scout and Be Prepared. The weather in North Wales in notoriously unpredictable and it is completely possible to set off in bright sunshine and then encounter snow and wind part way up the mountain. Bring along some snacks, a water proof jacket, and a sweater at least.
- Wear proper footwear. This isn’t Everest but it’s also not a paved track all the way up and some parts are uneven. We were both very happy to have the ankle support of proper hiking boots and one of us would have ended up with a twisted ankle if we were just wearing trainers.