Sport travel: Snowdon hike, taking the path less travelled

We’ve heard many people come back from a trip to Wales beaming that they’ve ‘climbed Snowdon’ but what’s it actually like to hike up the biggest mountain in England and Wales? ‘Stunning,’ writes Stephen Walker, who made the climb with wife Georgie, ‘…but also misty.’

Snowdon-panoramic-view

We set off from the Rhy-ddu train station car park at 9:30 and followed signs for the Rhyd-ddu path. The path is easy-going to begin with, it doesn’t get steep for a while.

We came to a crossroad where the Rhyd-Ddu path takes a sharp left turn, however we opted to head straight on to take the South Ridge path instead.

I chose this path as it promised excellent views while remaining relatively unknown and therefore less busy as it isn’t one of the main six paths up to the summit.

After an hour we passed large piles of discarded slate and a few old slate buildings, which are very common in this area. It was here that the path started to get steeper.

For the next couple of hours the path became very steep and we had to use our hands to help scramble up a few sections. It was hard work but not too difficult or dangerous.

To our right we could see the crowded Rhyd-Ddu path heading to intersect our path further up the mountain. On our quiet path we passed one 60-year-old man who said he was training for a holiday in the Alps that year.

Snowdon-view

View of Snowdonia National Park.

After rejoining the Rhyd-Ddu path it became a ridge walk with steep drops on either side. Fortunately the path was wide enough for me to feel comfortable and we joined the line of people slowly making their way to the summit.

Snowdon-summit

Georgie Walker approaches the summit.

At noon we were about 30 minutes from the summit but unfortunately the cloud had lowered so we couldn’t see it anymore. I hoped it would clear by the time we got there but unfortunately it didn’t.

There were no views at the top for us today but at least we got some great pictures on the way up.

The top of Snowdon was extremely busy, with slow moving queues trying to reach the triangulation station at the top, which we didn’t bother with. We ate our sandwiches, used the toilets in the cafe and headed back down into the mist.

Snowdon-misty

Georgie Walker heads down into Snowdon’s misty depths.

The cloud was falling lower and it took us significantly longer to see the views again on the way down. We took the right turn to take the Rhyd-Ddu path, which was still busy with people heading up the mountain, but once again the views were excellent once we had cleared the cloud.

I was glad that we were taking this path down as I wouldn’t fancy going down some of the steep parts on the South Ridge walk.

The walk down was getting emptier and emptier as I think most people set off at around 9-11am although there were a few stragglers who clearly missed the best weather by several hours as I could see the mountain disappearing behind us. At 3pm we reach the car just as it started raining.

I really enjoyed this walk and am glad that we did the South Ridge as I don’t enjoy walking in a large crowd. My only regret is that we didn’t leave a little earlier to beat the cloud to the summit!

For the path that Stephen and Georgie took, click here.

Stephen Walker is the eLearning Development Director at eLamb.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: