In the summer of 2017 my son and I went to Snowdonia to camp, hike, and climb Snowdon. This is our story.
Below is the track/trail for our ascent of Snowdon from our campsite, through the forest, on to the Rhyd Ddu path to the summit, back down the same path to Rhyd Ddu and then back to the campsite. The route was over 18 miles!
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, standing at 1,085m (3,560ft).
This trip was the first time I had ever been to Wales and Snowdonia, and the first time I’d been camping for over 35 years!
As usual we caught the train to London, then got a train to Bangor and from there we got a taxi to out campsite near Beddgelert, and of course when we got to Bangor it was raining, and it kept raining off and on (including some very heavy rain on two days) during our visit, well until the last full day…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So, anyway we arrive at the campsite and find a spot down by the stream, and it starts to rain again, so we quickly get the tents up and take shelter. Several hours later the rain eased off and we decided to take an evening walk through the forest down to Beddgelert itself. It goes without saying that some geocaching was done on the way there and back.
One of the few times it wasn’t raining, until the last full day…
Beddgelert was effectively shut so we couldn’t get any food there; lovely village, very picturesque.
So we headed back to the campsite, bought some supplies and made our own tea/dinner that evening. Then had an early night…. listening to the rain lashing against the tent most of the night!
Surprise, surprise, when we got up and got breakfast (hard-boiled eggs) it was raining, and the rest of the day was wet, wet, wet. As it wasn’t a good day for our planned ascent, we got on the historic steam railway and went up the line to Caernarfon, did some caching there in the picturesque seaside town with a castle, had lunch. coffee, got some supplies and then caught the train back to the campsite (the campsite has it’s own station). Yes, it was still raining…
On the train going back to the campsite after leaving Caernarfon:
The final full day and the weather gods are finally on our side!
We get up and have a quick breakfast, pack what we will need (almost everything but the tent, sleeping bags, etc.) and start off through the forest heading in the direction of Rhyd Ddu. However, luck was definitely on our side that day as we managed to find a permissive path before we got to Rhyd Dhu; this permissive path will take us part way up the Rhyd Ddu path itself, which we will then follow to the summit, result! It saved us about 2 miles of extra walking.
Lots of sheep (well we are in Wales!), soft white clouds in the sky, sunshine and not too hot, almost perfect walking weather. However, because it has been raining so much the going is very soggy and in places the paths are streams. Thankfully we both have good strong boots (mine are also Goretex lined), so not a problem.
We get to the Rhyd Ddu path and it quickly starts to climb, winding up the side, lots of rock paving at this point; it is a joy to be out today on the mountain! Already the views are stunning and we have hardly started the ascent.
The terrain was very varied as we continued up, I can see why this path is considered one of the best to climb Snowdon as not only are the views breath taking, the path varies from rock/stone steps, cliff climbs, scree sections, grass sections, and then when you get closer to the top (where the South Ridge path joins the Rhyd Ddu path) you get the Arrete (thin rocky ledges, climbing through them, and some hellish drops if you make a mistake)
…and finally just after where the Watkin Path joins, you have the final steep scree scramble to the summit itself; finally!
Here’s the view from the summit looking back down the Rhyd Ddu path, you can see where the South Ridge path and Watkin path join the Rhyd Ddu for the final section to the summit itself.
Well, we finally made it to the summit, here’s the view on that sunny day, looking towards the Llanberis path (the one that follows the train track), the one that is usually referred to as the tourist track:
Where I was sitting to take the photo is where one of the physical geocaches is hidden; of course I bagged it.
Here’s the Trig Point at the summit:
We stopped at the top to get our breath, take advantage of the visitor centre (drinks, etc.) and then after about 45 minutes we started back down.
I thoroughly enjoyed the decent and after about 1.5 hours we arrived at the pub in Rhyd Ddu for a well deserved cold drink, hot food and a sit down. Here we met up with a Dutch family that had also climbed Snowdon and who had come down the Ranger path. They kept us company and a few drinks and lots of chat later, we headed back to the campsite for our final night under canvas feeling tired but elated at our achievement…
This photo is of the section around 100 meters from the summit (Rhyd Ddu path)…
Here’s a photo from around just over half way down, you can see the peak (and the visitor center), again this is from the Rhyd Ddu path:
Oh, and most of the ascent was videoed; I might post some snippets of our climb, at a later date, stay tuned!
I would love to climb Snowdon again by several of the other paths, especially the Watkin path and the Ranger Path, but would also like to do the Pyg and Miners paths too…. Not sure about Crib Goch though!
Next stop, Scafell Pike! But, that’s another story…