My Visit to Snowden Mountain, the highest mountain in England and Wales

I had a very active weekend behind me. Me and my gay and awesomely cute roommate went on a roadtrip. Down to North Wales, we started on the wrong foot after realizing half way to the destination that I have forgotten the caravan key on my desk (we stayed in his grandparent’s caravan). We turned around and after another hour or so on the road, we got he key.
We ended up at the caravan at 3 AM and the only thing I wanted was sleep!
The next day we visited all the neighboring attractions, like the Electric Mountain, the Slate Museum and Conwy Castle (will blog about these later on) and on Sunday, after a very hefty breakfast, we set on the road to Snowden.

A full English Breakfast (without the fatty hash browns or the black pudding)
A full English Breakfast (without the fatty hash browns or the black pudding)

When we got to Snowden, Pen-y-Pass, the parking was full. We kept on driving just to find all the parking spots on the way to the mountain taken by tourists. We had to park in Llanberris, at the bottom of the mountain and catch a bus to Pen-y-Pass (very cheap bus, just &gbp;1 for every 8 miles travelled.)

We went up the most difficult path, the Miner’s tracks.
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The Miners’ Track was built to serve the Britannia Copper Mine on Snowdon but it is not the route originally used to serve the mine. In the beginning, miners lugged the copper up the eastern side of the mountain, to be drawn down the other side to Llyn Cwellyn by a sledge drawn by two horses. From Llyn Cwellyn, the copper was taken by horse and cart to Caernarfon.

This path is ideal if you wish to take a walk on Snowdon without going all the way to the summit. The path starts off wide and even, climbing gradually passed Llyn Teyrn to Llyn Llydaw, where the ruins of the old copper mine can be seen.

In a while you will pass a small lake on your left, Llyn Teyrn. Look out for the ruins of the old miners’ barracks near the shore.
The ruins of the old crushing mill are near Llyn Llydaw, and amongst the remains are the large crushing hammers that were used to extract the valuable ores. Copper ore was taken down to the crushing mill by an aerial ropeway over Llyn Glaslyn; this reduced the distance the copper had to be transported, and avoided the steep climb between the two lakes.

From here, the path climbs steeply to Llyn Glaslyn, where it becomes a hard climb over scree towards the intersection of the Miners’ and the Pyg Tracks. The path then zigzags up to Bwlch Glas, and then on to the summit.

Looking across Llyn Glaslyn, to the left of the summit of Snowdon you will see Bwlch y Saethau (meaning ‘pass of the arrows’). Miners from Beddgelert used to climb to work over this pass with the help of iron chains fixed to the rock.
Legend has it that this is the place where King Arthur was struck by an arrow in battle. He was then carried to the shore of Llyn Llydaw, where a boat with three maidens came to take him away through the mist to Afallon (Avalon).

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Hitting a coin in the post for good luck
Hitting a coin in the post for good luck

We kept on climbing until we saw railway tracks running up the mountain along the right hand side of the path. This is the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which has been carrying visitors to the summit since 1896 on the only public rack and pinion railway in the UK.
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I made it to the top and I was truly exhausted. I was sweaty, boiling hot and in a true need for a shower. But it was worth it!
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From the summit on a clear day you will be rewarded with fantastic views – 18 lakes and 14 peaks over 914 metres (3000ft) can be seen. Sometimes, you can even see as far as Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District.

View from Snowden Mountain Top

Distance: 4 miles (6.5Km) 

Ascent: 2,372ft (723 metre).
Time: About 3 hours 
Grade: Hard Mountain Walk.
Start/Finish: Pen-y-Pass Car Park, off the A4086.
Grid Reference: SH 647 557.
Relevant Map: OS Explorer OL17  (Snowdon & Conwy Valley).

The walk in fly-through overview

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