Snowdonia Lets GO!
Snowdonia here we come, were the words that came out my mouth that Friday.
It all started that week as I had mentioned to Ryan I wanted to climb Snowdon for his birthday. We joked about it over the weekend and that following Monday, we had booked a hire car and were prepping ourselves what can only be described as an adventure of a life time.
Ok the ascent isn’t quite the same as climbing Mount Everest, but hey lets take one step at a time (literally).
Let Us Begin
So Friday morning came, and we ready to set out on our road trip. For those that do not know Snowdonia it is a region in the northern side of Wales filled with beautiful mountains, hills and glaciers.
As part of the Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon was bound to offer plenty of views we would never forget.
So as we packed the car, excited for what was to come our adventure become even more apparent when we began to pack the car. During the week Ryan had been to our local camping store to collect supplies.
Supplies for most is a fork and a sleeping bag… Ryan on the other hand presented us with a bundle of gifts!
We set off early so we would not be struck by the traffic, however with a few stops before leaving our hometown (typical brotherly formation) we hit the open road!
Open Road? Well here was the thing… The journey was meant to be a five hour long haul drive, however with a mishap in route to avoid the tolls it became a 8 hour drive. Fortunately to repeated tracks on the radio and plenty of coffee on route we made the most of what can only be described as a “long ass journey”.
Arriving In Wales
First thoughts of Wales were not what we expected. I don’t know what we expected, but it was just like England. maybe we expected to drive through a portal and feel like we had gone back in time but boy were we wrong… Seconds later and past the traffic you begin to see exactly what life is all about. Now we were in the real Wales. The roads began to twist, and the views began to blossom.
Sadly the weather was not on our side but we were in our element.
The Camp Site
Fortunately Ryan had found us a great little location at the base of Snowdon which offered a cheap field for us to camp in. Looking back at things we should have really just found a field to camp in but naturally you never know what you are getting yourself in for and we were fortunate enough to have found an ideal location that many avid hikers also had paid for so we knew we were in good hands.
After a quick scout around to find a flat location we began to set up camp.
One of our biggest errors was not bringing any bug repellent, which we honestly did not think about. What a big mistake! There were plenty of them.
At the time it was horrid but looking back at things we have never set up camp with a fire as quickly as we did that night.
Grub And Good Rum
Following on from pitching our tent we began pouring the rum. Naturally the gas stove had begun to work also courtesy of MSR for what can only be described as the biggest god send on any camping trip, we began to cook our burgers.
One thing we had over looked whilst prepping for our adventure was cooking oils… So in a situation like this we had to use the next best thing… RUM!
Till The Morning Comes
After a few rums and some delicious burgers we headed to our beds to get an early night ready for the morning. The evening was still bright which amazed us from the natural sky lighting. Snowdonia was already proving to be an amazing place that we intended to explore fully in the morning.
Rise And Shine
We arose early to the sound of heavy rain on our tent, and decided to have a lay in. Considering the conditions both myself and Ryan slept very well and continued to until later that morning.
Once the rain had settled and we had cooked ourselves some Rum infested bacon, we set off.
The route to the Snowdon track was about a 40 minute hike, but so worth it. We chose to do the Ranger Path which was a bit more advanced than the standard Llanberis Route, so the trek to this alone took a bit longer than planned.
One amazing thing about hiking is map reading… A technique we have yet to learn as we just headed where we thought was the correct way. Stopping a passer bay half way on our journey we asked if we were heading in the correct direction. He began by saying we had to go back on ourselves but after a quick read of the map we realized we were heading in the correct direction.
So The Climb Began
Finally on track and on the Ranger Track we began to ascend Snowdon. Snowdonia as a whole was such a beautiful place and the air just smelt so fresh. No words or pictures can describe how picturesque the whole place was.
One fascinating thing about the climb and the hikers we crossed paths with, was to how friendly they were. Something we were not used to back home in Kent, but everyone said good morning and asked how we were.
In fact one of the biggest highlights for me was just over half way up we stopped to put our coats on and offered an older chap a Haribo Sweet and in return he offered us a Worthers Original Sweet. Now that is comradeship.
The views as we climbed began to get better and better.
The weather up this high was so diverse, one minute it was foggy with no one being visible the next it was a sunny day.
On arrival to the top you began to realise how busy it actually was. There were crowds of people which had walked from all the different paths and also got the train to the summit.
We climbed the last few steps to the official summit, sat down, cracked open a rum and sipped our rum and coke overlooking all around us. We truly had made it.
There was a sense of accomplishment as we sat there high on life with huge big Cheshire cat grins on our faces.
Coming down was bound to be easier and for this we chose to tackle a different route. Seeing everyone taking the Llanberis route we decided to join them. Maybe a mistake looking back due to how busy it was but we ran the whole way.
The crowds of people on this track were a lot different to those on the other route. I guess these were more your general tourists compared to the avid hikers we met on our route up Snowdon.
The route down was done in less than half of the time which was impressive. At the bottom we sat for a few minutes to look at what we had accomplished before heading into town to top up our food selection.
All in all the weekend has been a fantastic one!
Things You Need To Know
To keep this simple a few things for anyone that is looking at camping in Wales and visiting Snowdonia with the fullest of intentions to climb Snowdon.
Naturally you can do it with a bit more glamour for example stay in a local hotel (we passed plenty of very nice places overlooking the hills), and the same applies to getting to the summit. There is a train service to the top which may be of use to some of you.
Now for the details:
It is really a simple case of get up and go, naturally if you are further a field than England there will be a bit more planning, but otherwise jump in the car grab the post code and head on your track.
Getting there is simple. The roads themselves are spectacular. We chose to drive as it meant we had an easy storage for all of our camping gear. Many use the train which takes you very close to the location. However car is much easy. From Kent the journey is meant to take 5 hours but sadly due to us skipping the toll road and hitting every bit of traffic on a Friday night it took us 8 hours to get there, but the same route back took 5.
Where To Stay…
There are plenty of places to stay depending on what you are after, we chose a camp site right near the Llanberis track. The prices are mega cheap and you are literally on the door step to Snowdon.
The website can be found here:
Naturally if you aren’t as hard core there are plenty of hotels in the area but the whole trip is about the experience of waking up in the hills, with a fire going.
Naturally there are plenty of tracks to the Summit, and it literally depends how much you feel like being challenged. Ourselves we chose to do the Ranger track, mainly because of the name, however it also looked a little harder than the simple Llanberis track that all the tourists do.
To view all the tracks check out the following site for more:
What To Take…
This is all dependent on where you plan to be staying. Camping wise, bring the following:
- Plenty of water
- Matches or fire lighter of some sort
- Sleeping Bags
- Hiking Shoes
- Light Rain Coat
- Cooking Utensils
- Pocket Knife
- Bug Spray
- Money (for fire wood and extras)
Naturally there is plenty more to bring but the bare basics will get you by to the top.
The journey up and down Snowdon can be done in a day. However it depends on the route you take to the length of time it will take. Also we would recommend a few days to see the other sites as Snowdonia is such a beautiful place. We booked a Friday off of work so had the Friday to travel to Wales, the Saturday to climb and came back on the Sunday.
Bring cooking oil! Or at least some rum. No seriously though, if you plan on camping we would highly recommend some sort of bug repellent as we were amazed by the amount of bugs in the camp site. I guess with the farms near by and the wet grass it was truly a haven for them.
Other than that just enjoy your trip that is all we can really suggest. Make the most of it, soak in the sites and take plenty of photos to tell the grand children.
Snowdonia as a whole is a beautiful place and witnessing it first hand is something truly spectacular. Whether it be a sunny day or covered in mist it is the whole experience that no one should miss out on.
No matter what your fitness level anyone can do the walks. Even if you do not make it to the top of Snowdon the walks around the area are truly amazing.
The photographs we took along the journey do not even come close to what it is like in person.
So with that said, get up and go! Reach that summit!