A couple of weekends ago, 10 of us went to Snowdonia...
We arrived v.early on saturday morning at our accommodation in Caernarfon - Trotter's hostel which I can happily recommend should you also like to spend a weekend/week in North West Wales. After a nightmare-ish drive (which took 8 hours!!!) we all went straight to bed. Saturday we took to the mountain.
A few little facts for you - Mount Snowdon is 3560 ft high and is climbed by people all year round. There are 7 different tracks to the summit - we opted for the miner's track on the way up and the pyg track for the descent. The first hour and a half of the track took us through and around beautiful hills and lakes at a very easy incline. Upon reaching the third lake we found ourselves in the clouds. It was then that the path became a lot more challenging. Our lovely, almost flat, walk up to this point turned into an hour and a half of scrambling (more difficult than rambling but easier than climbing) to get to the top.
The second half of the ascent was bloody hard (I took no pictures) - visibility was reduced to about 3 or 4 metres which, on the plus side, meant we couldn't see how far up we were, but on the downside it meant that occasionally you'd lose sight of the people in front or behind you. Thankfully, despite it being October, there were quite a number of people climbing the mountain that day which was reassuring in that you might come to a stop because you can't see the path (I use the word 'path' very loosely) and then people would appear in the mist and you'd know to head that way. I'm not the athletic sort, and have only just started going to gym regularly, so I found the scrambling pretty hard going - not helped by the people coming down the mountain making 'jokes' about there "being only 5 hours to go"! Perhaps the worst news we heard on our long ascent was that the cafe at the top was shut because the train wasn't running due to the bad weather. The last little bit was probably the most terrifying as the wind was just insane! Clinging to each other and the rock with the metal disc which marked the summit, we finally reached the peak three hours after we set out. After a brief few minutes, during which I managed to get a pic of our hands at the top (trust me, you wouldn't have wanted to see what our faces were like), we set off back down the mountain, taking the quicker pyg track route. The descent proved to be a bit tricky thanks to lots of loose stones and rocks as well as lots of little fresh water streams which made the ground slippery. Although I did slip over twice - the second time I landed right on my tail bone and swore at the top of lungs just as a group of fellow trekkers walked past, v.embarrassing - as long as you watched your footing, the descent was easier.
The whole trek took us about 5 and half hours - we celebrated with hot showers followed by a mountain of food and several pints in the local pub in Caernarfon. My legs ached for a good few days afterwards (something called muscle fatigue apparently) but it's a great feeling to know that we did it and I can now say that I've
Sunday was v.chilled - a wander around the castle in Caernarfon, a leisurely coastal walk and a massive Indian takeaway, games and booze in the hostel's 600 year old basement. It was so good to get out of London and do something completely different. There's talk of the same group planning another walking/trekking weekend and if there's room in the car, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be going.