Europe · Travel · uk

A wonderfully Welsh weekend – Travelling to Wales to hike mount Snowdon

Becky and I decided to take a week off work, a week which would be our last decent chunk of time off before we both quit our jobs at the end of the year to go travelling around Asia, I will finish work just before Christmas and Becky will finish the first week in January.  With our week off we had a few things we wanted to do, one of which was to travel to North Wales, spend some time in the beautiful village of Betws-y-coed and hike up mount Snowdon.

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Snowdon is something that has been on my list of things to do for years now, and I don’t know why I hadn’t gotten around to it sooner.  There are a number of different trails that you can take up Snowdon: The Ranger, PYG, Miner’s, Watkin, Llanberis and Rhyd Ddu, there is also another section for the more adventurous called Crib Goch, this route is like the spine of the mountain, a ridge as sharp as a knife edge and not for the faint hearted, this is a route which isn’t advertised much as there have been numerous instances of people needed to be rescued by helicopter – this route is particularly hazardous but I would still like to give it a go in the future.

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When we arrived in Betws-y-coed the first thing on my mind was food so we made our way over to a cafe which we knew had a lot of vegan friendly options for Becky, it was called Alpine Coffee Shop and after that we went back to the place we were staying at which we found on Air BnB and had a bit of a lazy night to prepare ourselves for Snowdon the following day.

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We didn’t get up super early as we didn’t think it was necessary and we wanted to be well rested for the hike, we left our room around 11am and got to the Pen-y-Pass car park around 11:30am to find that it was completely packed.  We continued down the road a little bit and pulled into a small area at the side of the road and had to run for the bus which we made just in time – if you have to do this, the bus will take you straight to the Pen-y-pass car park which is the start of both the PYG and Miner’s track and providing you catch the bus on time shouldn’t set you back too much.

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I wouldn’t rate the PYG track as being particularly difficult but I have heard some people describe it as being quite challenging but this will all depend on how fit you are, it took us around 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach the summit, although I think if we did it again we’d both be able to do it in less than 2 hours.  The route itself is slightly more than a hike, there are parts where you will have to climb up rocks but providing you are careful with your footing this shouldn’t pose any sort of issue for a person with a moderate amount of fitness.

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All along the trail you will be presented with astounding views across the mountain range complete with beautifully still lakes, we were fortunate enough to see a Chinook helicopter swooping in and out of the valleys coming in so close it felt as though I could reach out and touch it, this must have been the army carrying out some training.  When you get to the top of the summit you can see as far as the coast on a good day, although as soon as we got to the top we had a few minutes to take photos before the fog rolled in.  Don’t go up the mountain expecting to just jump on the train back to the bottom as this is a popular option for a lot of people and the tickets are almost always sold out from what I have read and we saw that this was the case when we got to the top, although we didn’t really have any intention of taking the train down, we just went back down the PYG track, most people seem to go up the PYG and down Miner’s as Miner’s is supposedly a lot more gradual.

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In total it took us 4 and a half hours to get up and down the mountain, which isn’t a bad time I don’t think, after that we did our bit for society and transported a few people to the farther away car parks who had missed the bus.  After dropping off the last couple of guys we headed back to base where we got our sweaty clothes off, got showered and went straight towards the Chinese restaurant down the street and loaded up on spring rolls, soup and for me Sichuan king prawns and for becky Beijing style black pepper tofu.  I got a bit excited by the food, gorged myself and then wen’t back to the room and instantly fell asleep, it was a tiring day and that food just hit the spot.

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For our last half day in Betws-y-coed we took a visit to a place called Swallow falls, one of the top ten waterfalls in Wales and a place that my nan still remembers as being her favourite place in Wales.

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I would love to have more free time to take more trips to Wales it really is a beautiful place.

Matt

 

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