Climbing Mt Snowdon has been on our bucket list for quite some time and after a recent birthday and a prompt from a friend we threw caution to the wind and booked the trip sooner rather than later.
The drive from London is a long one (6-8hrs traffic dependent), North Wales isn’t the easiest to get to but it is certainly worth the trek to see nature at its finest. With 823 square miles (2,130 km2) of national park its no wonder that it is a popular destination.
Our visit was off season in mid November so we had some breathing space, we were told the mountain as grand as it is can get very crowded so we’re glad we didn’t pick to go peak season. According to our research Snowdonia is one of the wettest parts of the United Kingdom; Crib Goch in Snowdonia is the wettest spot in the United Kingdom, with an average rainfall of 4,473 millimetres (176.1 in) a year over the past 30 years. Fortunately, we got really lucky with the weather as it stayed dry with regular spells of sunshine to keep us motivated.
Our Saturday was a write off – the travel day was long, so as soon as we arrived in our picturesque but very remote village of Nant Gwrtheyrn (a former quarrying village) so secluded we struggled to find it – this actually is part of its charm (secluded part, not the getting lost). It has recently gone through a renovation and now attracts over 30,000 day visitors a year and a range of residential groups. Word of warning though, off season you won’t find much open here especially food so come prepared.
Tired and eager to stretch our legs, we literally dropped our belongings off at our charming B&B as soon as we arrived and headed straight out to the local and only open pub Tafarn y Fic for a few drinks and a game of darts. The locals were a friendly bunch and and very welcoming – the pub is super cute and as we got chatting to some of them they told us that they all pretty much own it so it has a very local community family feel. Satisfied with our little find, we walked back to our accommodation which was on the other side of the hill (a mini version of the hills we’d climb over the next few days) and settled into bed for a little rest ahead of our adventurous weekend ahead.
We’d say our weekend of fun officially started on Sunday, though perhaps fun isn’t the best way to describe what was in store for us at Go Below. The experience is certainly not for the weak-hearted but if you are feeling especially brave we would definitely suggest going for the ultimate xtreme. In a quest to conquer our fears we braved the toughest of the three, well if we were going to face our demons – confined spaces and be underground for the day what difference does a few hours and extra challenges make?! Safe to say we live to tell the tale and we certainly tested our limits (and our nerves) by journeying through the mountain via a series of scary but adventurous challenges; expect zip-lining through caverns, or climbing up a vertical shaft, traverse over an abyss or abseil your way down to the deepest point in the UK! It’s adrenaline pumping, heart thumping, pulse jumping fun that is guided by experienced and qualified instructors. We would recommend if you are a little unsure that you go with a friend to talk you through some of the tougher challenges (though we were very lucky to have had a supportive group who had each others back and lots pf patience)! Not sure if we’d do it again but were glad we included it in our weekend excursion.
All of the days excitement made for very hungry work so lesson learnt from previous night, we headed to the nearby town of Morfa Nefyn for a deliciously hearty pub dinner at The Cliffs, also a great place for views and it’s not far from the beach.
Finally, the reason we were on this trip the climb up Snowdon. Prepped as much as we could for the hike, mentally and physically. We had our essentials ready, bottles of water, snacks, Columbia outdoor windproof jacket and Lowa hiking boots (both an absolute must).
We had planned our route in our cosy B&B and had decided as we were racing against time (we needed to get back to London early evening) we’d do the Pyg track, described as the shortest route up Snowdon with the least amount of ascent – but far from being the easiest! The views of Snowdon on this track are unbelievably majestic. We’re certain we were the envy of other hikers as we actually took some speakers with us for music on our journey which certainly helped us zone out the difficult parts as we took in the beauty of nature around us. The suggested time to climb was 3hrs each way – we did the climb up and down at 3hrs 45mins and covered a total distance of 11km and rode a high all the way back to London.
Though we were in Snowdonia on a mission there’s so much more on offer we didn’t make on this trip. We’d love to do other tracks including the Miners track and they’ve got other activities such as Zip Worlds Velocity 2, or Rib Ride’s Velocity trip. We’d also like to come back and visit Ty Coch – a famous pub right on a beautiful beach which you walk to via the golf course on the headland, which we hear has some amazing views. Oh and it came in as one of the top 10 beach bars in the world…!