This Month's Spotlight

My Trip to Wales:
A Faithful Narrative[1]

My company sent me to London in January for three weeks.  So, on my first weekend in London, only my third trip to the city, I went to Wales.  This is a story of my travels[2]. 


New York City, December 2005

After learning that I’d be sent to London for three weeks my first thought was to ski Europe for a weekend.  But after a few minutes searching on the Internet, I was overwhelmed with possibilities.  So, I asked my boss Nick, who skis and is English and thus knows all the great spots in Europe because there aren’t any in England.  Nick suggested Austria.

Finding a place in Austria was difficult and my plans for an alpine weekend fading.  I found only one lodge, Chalet Joesphine in St. Anton, willing to rent a room for just a weekend everywhere else had a seven-day minimum. Chalet Josephine was more luxurious than I needed.  I don’t mind being pampered, but not for just two days. 

Since skiing was out, I decided to climb either Ben Nevis in Scotland or Snowdon in Wales.  After searching British Rail timetables, I figured out in abut 30 seconds that traveling to Fort William in Scotland to climb Ben Nevis would take an entire day.  I also was told by a fellow climber not to climb Ben Nevis.  Apparently, according to my friend whom I’ll call John[3], merry and drunken Scots have an annual race to the summit of Ben Nevis on New Year’s Eve thus diminishing the feat of climb itself.  Snowdon, however, is within reasonable distance from London via train.  Thus, I went to Wales to climb Snowdon.[4]

Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales at 3558 feet or 1085 meters.  Second highest in Great Britain to Ben Nevis.  It is located in Snowdonia National Park in north Wales.  Similar to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, there is a train that takes the less adventurous and sedentary up the peak.  And, as with Mt. Washington, there is a café on the summit however, the Snowdon café is closed during the winter as I discovered.  This was perplexing and not just to me.  On the summit[5], I discussed this with some fellow climbers and we agreed that it’s just silly to lock up shelter on a mountaintop in winter given the potentially life-threatening weather one may encounter.

Organizing is not my strong suit.  I much prefer someone else figure out all the details of when, where and how, and then I happily show up.  However, not having anyone but myself to figure out when I’m leaving for Wales, where I’ll be staying, and how I’ll get to the trailhead, I had to drudge through the details myself painfully.  Very painfully. 

After a few hours of agony, my survival instinct prevailed and I decide to deal with it later when I get to London.[6]  I focused instead on the route up Snowdon.  I found no trail map or guide book of any usefulness in NYC however there were some excellent web sites[i] including one with a topo map. (See Actual Map Used to Climb Snowdon below.  I highlighted the route I took in yellow.  Though, if you are reading this in black and white, it will probably look gray.)

Actual Map Used to Climb Snowdon


There are seven routes up Snowdon, none of which is a technical climb but three have sustained scrambling: Crib Goch, Llyn Llydaw, and Y Gribin.  Combined, these three make up the Snowdon Horseshoe route.  I chose Crib Goch, the northeast side of the Horseshoe after I read this description on Julian Clegg’s website:

Crib Goch starts from Pen-y-pass car park.  This route is not for the faint hearted and should not be tackled in anything but the best weather conditions unless you are an expert. Hands out of pockets will definitely be needed for this one! The route up Crib Goch starts up the first part of the Pyg Track then a scramble onto the east ridge of Crib Goch. Once on Crib Goch a knife edge arête and pinnacles dictate extreme caution. The route goes over Carnedd Ugain and onto Snowdon. If your nerve has held you will remember this route as a cracker!

I was sold.  For the descent, it would be either the Pyg Track or the Miner’s Track. All I needed was Mother Nature to comply by providing a snow and ice-free day.

London, January 2006

Happily, I arrive in London without airport security on either continent confiscating my crampons.  I did take the precaution to pack them in the check-in baggage because I didn’t want to test airport security.  I’m not sure what would have been worse if the crampons were discovered going through the x-ray machine and losing them or not having them confiscated.

I had three days to find lodging in Wales somewhere near the Pyn-y-pass trailhead and transportation.  For lodging, there are a number of villages in north Wales to choose from including Capel Curig, Bewts-y-Coed, and Llanberis plus various inns and b&bs in between.  The websites I found offered a multitude of places.[ii]  Having no idea the best place to stay, once again, I turn to my boss being the only Englishman I know or Englishwoman for that matter[7]. I hoped he would know something, anything about lodging around Snowdon and to my great luck Nick immediately said Betws-y-coed[8].

Having actual work to do, I decided the best way to finalize my journey with the least amount of organizing pain was to have someone else do it.  And, since I was staying at a hotel equipped with a concierge whose job is to make sure I’m always very happy I decided to ask him and 47 minutes later he came back with three lodging options and the train timetables.  For lodging, I chose the Fairhaven in part because it was just a few minutes walk from the train station and also because they’d make me a packed lunch.  Choosing which train to take was also easy because there is really one choice that gets you to Bewts-y-coed in less than five hours on a Friday night and back to London in less than five hours on a Monday. 

Friday Bewts-y-coed January 2006

I won’t bore you with details from the train ride.  Arriving at the station in Bewts-y-coed was a little strange.  It was dark and misty with a light rain.  There were a few streetlights on and no one around and I could see the faint outline of the mountains that surround the village.  It was very quiet and felt like a scene one of the Bronte sisters might write – “...young maiden arrives in village, far from home, on a dark and misty night with no one to meet her…”  My directions were “turn right, right outside the station and the Fairhaven is located across the main street.”  These weren’t the clearest directions given that there is no “right, right outside” the station.  I could go straight or turn left and decided to turn left.[9]

I arrived at the Fairhaven where Richard greeted me and as I was starving I asked for a recommendation for dinner and he suggested the Royal Oak which I thought ironic. I still needed transport to and from the trailhead and Richard said he would find out for me.  Dinner at the Royal Oak was very yummy. I dined on roasted lamb shank, mashers[10] and peas.  I dined at the Royal Oak twice during my stay.  The second time I tried the meatball and pasta dish and should have stuck with the roasted lamb shank.

Upon returning to the Fairhaven, Richard updated me on the transport situation.  The first morning bus[11] to Pen-y-pas was 7:50 am and considering that he suggested breakfast at 7:00 am rather than the usual 7:30 am.

Saturday Betws-y-coed January 2006

In daylight I oriented myself.  I saw the straight path between the Fairhaven and the station, the one I should have taken the night before.  I could also see Betws-y-coed.  It is a smallish village with lots of stone houses that at one time I imagine were single family but now are inns or B&Bs.  The main street is very narrow.  There was no room to park on the street though people did as evidenced by the number of cars.  The shops were “boutique” offering works from local artisans and everything Welsh from shortbread, to rugs, to sweaters and slippers.

Betws-y-coed is also an outdoor person’s dream. It is a mecca for kayaking, hiking, and climbing.  I counted seven outdoor gear stores in the village alone.  On websites you will find inns include in their description how many meters they are from the nearest trailhead including ones that pass through the village.  Many also say “Hikers Welcome” which often means besides having packed lunches available, they’ve got a warm room designated to hang up your wet stuff and your boots so your gear is nice and dry for the next day.

One of the three rivers in the Conway valley passes through the town, the Afon Llugwy.  The river has created an impressive gorge complete with rapids and waterfalls in the center of town.  I imagine for white water kayakers it would be pretty cool to be able to drop in the river with the kayak right outside your door[12].  

Saturday Pen-y-Pas January 2006

The Sherpa bus arrived almost promptly at 7:50 am.  I confirmed I was on the right bus with the driver who couldn’t understand a word I said.  The fare was three pounds return[13] from Bewts-y-coed to Pen-y-pass.  I searched through my coins and could only come up with two pounds.  So I offered the driver a ten pound note which he refused not carrying enough change so he drove me for free.

I sat back down and smiled.  As difficult as I found it to understand the Welsh brogue, I realized that though I thought I spoke very clearly, obviously it was as difficult for the Welsh to understand American English and that in fact, we speak English with an American brogue.

To get to Pen-y-pas from Betws-y-coed take the A5 to the A4086.  Both roads are narrow and wind through the valley slowly gaining altitude.  The valley is bordered by rolling green hills including some that are very steep and capped by rocky outcrops.  The road passes through a number of small villages including Capel Curig that also has an outdoor gear shop.

The visitor’s center at Pen-y-pass has bathrooms and a small cafeteria that also sells sandwiches and hot food, bottled water and snacks like granola bars.  I arrived around 8:15 am and it was open.  The parking lot had five cars already including three that arrived at the same time I did.  From what I’ve read in the summer time this lot fills up quickly so get there early to secure parking.

There are two trails that originate from the Pen-y-pas trailhead, the Miner’s Track and the Pyg Track and they are situated at opposite ends of the parking lot.  I pulled out my photocopied map to orient myself and figure out which one to take.  It looked like the one to the left of the building but to make sure I asked the Ranger who confirmed that and offered this advice from what I understood: “After about 45 minutes…to an intersection….stay left…do not go right..very dangerous.” I asked if it was dangerous because of the weather but he said no, and added that he wouldn’t climb it anytime.  I smiled and headed off.  There is a small sign on the gate at the start that reads “Pyg Track” if you are one of those people that don’t ask for directions.  

The trail was very rocky and isn’t marked with the blazes and trail markers that we are used to in the Northeast it is a well defined stone path.  After about 15 minutes, the trail turns very steep with switchbacks[14] that really warm you up.  It then levels off as you reach the Bwlch y Moch, a shoulder between Crib Goch and another mountain.  The trail splits here with the “dangerous” or Crib Goch trail on the right.  Both the Pyg Track and the Crib Goch trail ascend Snowdon from the southeast and are virtually parallel trails.  In fact at some points on Crib Goch I could see the Pyg Track far below me.

Crib Goch was everything I read. The lower part was relatively flat and the rocks were more like obstacles to climb over or around.  After about 15 minutes though it changed and Crib Goch rose steeply above me and the scrambling began in earnest.  I could not see the top of Crib Goch as it was covered in midst.  It was an eerie feeling.  I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’d never been on this trail before nor hiked any other peak in Wales.  From what I read, I could anticipate scrambling and sustained exposure but I wasn’t sure if that meant the same thing in Wales as it does in the places I know like Mohonk and Minnewaska and the Hudson Highlands. As I started up the scramble I hoped rather than believed that those terms meant the same and nothing worse on Snowdon but not being able to see further than 30 feet in front of me I wasn’t certain.

The Snowdon rock is slate, siltstone, gridstone, and mudstone.  There was evidence of rock fall everywhere.  The rock was also wet and I thought given the geology slick but it was sticky instead because of the boulders and small sharp spear-like formations that marked the rock.  These nooks and crannies provided excellent handholds and footholds the entire way.

The trail was marked with cairns though it wasn’t always easy to tell which direction to go.  As with many rock scrambles, there was a multitude of ways to go and I looked for ledges and climbed at an angle to the rock rather than head-on as if I was on a switchback.  I stopped at a particular confusing junction where the path appeared to go left but after about five feet ended or rather dropped-off and the only way up was to climb the very vertical and exposed face.  That didn’t seem the best way to go.  Above me there was a small overhang and to the right a large boulder and I couldn’t see beyond.

One of the challenges of climbing is to avoid getting yourself stuck in a spot in which you can neither retreat nor continue forward.  I drank some water and pondered my choices or rather the only choice, tackling the overhang.  The question was how to start up it.  There was a climber just a few feet below my position and I decided to wait for him to reach me and ask him what he thought. 

I drank more water, rested and took in the view.  I couldn’t see Snowdon because Crib Goch was in the way but I could see the valley below me and the Pyg Track and below that another trail that I figured to be the Miner’s track.  I looked back along the route I’d come so far and I could see the building at the Pen-y-pass trailhead and sheep that look like dirty white oval cotton balls dotting the hills.  I also saw blue sky peeking through the clouds.  And with that I smiled because that meant there was no storm on the way in, at least so far.

After about five minutes, the climber reached me. His name was Steve.  I asked him which way to go.  And he shrugged and smiled and said that this was his first time up in two years and that he’s never gone up the same way twice. Great I thought.  He walked past me to the drop-off and agreed with me that it wasn’t the way to go except maybe in Summer when the rock is dry.  He then checked out the right side and the overhang above us.  He climbed up on the boulder said it didn’t look to bad and told me to just not look down to your right.  From the boulder he got two handholds above the overhang and put his left foot on the overhang and pushed off with his feet and in one move was on top .

I followed making the same move but first I looked down.  There was nothing on the other side of the boulder except air[15].   Safe above the overhang Steve and I chatted a bit.  I learned that I was climbing the best damn route in north Wales and that Steve was English and he learned that I was American and not Canadian.

The path became less vertical and for the next 20 minutes we climbed on the small spear-shaped rocks.  Steve moved faster than me and soon was out of my view.  The path flattened out a bit and an obvious trail emerged to the right and I follow it until it ended at a large boulder.  The only way to go was straight up the face. There were many handholds and footholds but the angle was nearly vertical and for the first time, I wished I was on belay. 

I started climbing up the left side of the face.  I realized after a few moves that I made a mistake.  I was too far left and found myself at the edge of the face.  I was scared.  I thought of climbing horizontal to the right to avoid the exposure but decided that was too risky and kept moving up.  Then my mind started to think about the grand scheme of things and where exactly I was and where I could have been if I had taken the Pyg Track or even stayed in London.  And I thought I’d made a terrible mistake.  One slip or if a handhold or foothold broke and I’d lose my balance could die.  But then I reminded myself that I chose to do this and this is what I love so I stopped thinking about it, and focused and just climbed.

A few moves later and I was at the top of a very narrow and exposed shoulder on a smooth and nearly horizontal slab of rock that was very slick.   I thought if I stood up I’d surely fall or the wind would push me off.  The slab was five feet long.  I told myself to move and I did like a crab. I gripped the edges of the slap with both hands and inched my way up keeping my butt high in the air and smeared the rock with the top of my boots to get as much grip on the rock as possible.   After two moves the surface became spiky again but I didn’t stand up for another 15 feet until the shoulder widened. 

The path turned vertical again and on the right a trail that ended at a pinnacle that looked like it was about to fall off the mountain.  As I moved forward, I looked right and saw the path that I should have taken up the face.  It was just as vertical as what I climbed up but topped out at the wide part of the shoulder instead at the narrow edge.

At the pinnacle took in the view.  For the first time since I started, I could see north and east toward Llambris and blue sky where the sun was shining. Above me the path was an easy staircase with wide ledges and climbing up I found Steve at the top taking a break.  I rested for a few minutes and looked out at the ridge we were about to traverse.  It was narrow and horizontal with projecting sharp points.  It was the knife edge of Crib Goch and it was easy to see how it got its name. I couldn’t see the ground on either side of the ridge or the end.  Crib Goch elevation is 3215 feet high and the Pyg Track below is at 2300 feet. I did the math.  The vertical drop from Crib Goch ridge was an exhilarating 915 feet.

It suddenly became crowded on the peak[16].  A couple of solo climbers and one group of five soon joined us and with space limited, it was time to move along.  Steve and one of the solo climbers headed off first and I followed.   For the next 2 hours, I carefully climbed the ridge, sometimes on top and sometimes finding a ledge right below for my feet, keeping my hands on the top.  I moved not exactly like a mountain goat, but like a geriatric-mountain goat using both hands and feet at times to negotiate the unevenly spaced boulders and sharp rocks.

A couple of times I straddled the ridge, literally sitting down on top and inching over the rock until I could securely place my feet on the rock in front of me.  I would lean over until my hands reached the top of the next rock and then move the rest of my body forward.  Compared to the first section of Crib Goch, the traverse at times seemed pedestrian but then as if to remind me of exactly what I was doing, the ridge dropped down and I had to down climb and then up over or around a sharp peak centimeters wide 915 feet above the valley.  Once I pitched forward a bit down climbing and nearly lost my balance and I told myself that when I finished I would never have to climb it again. 

Near the end of two hours, the ridge took on a different personality.  The knife edge dropped off and in front of me were the pinnacles, three spiral towers in a row.  I down climbed the left side of the ridge and gazed up at the first pinnacle.  Going straight up was not an option as it was very overhangy and to the left it didn’t look much better.  The right side looked possible though daunting.  The pinnacle was at least 20 feet straight up.  At this point, a couple of climbers caught up to me and I and asked one his opinion on which route to take.  He was wearing glasses and one of the lenses was completely fogged up.  He smiled and shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t know.  I thought to myself that things could be worse because I could have forgotten my contact lenses[17]. 

As I moved closer to the first pinnacle I noticed the large gap between where I stood and the base.  There was however, a large boulder fortuitously stuck in the gap and as I climbed on top of it I realized that the pinnacle wasn’t nearly as vertical as seen from afar.  In fact, there was a nice staircase leading halfway up to a right facing corner and I climbed up with ease.

The second pinnacle was easier because I didn’t have to down climb and also because there were nice traverses right below the top on both sides. The third pinnacle presented another problem.  At the base was a ledge rising 12 feet above me.  I looked at my feet and there weren’t any fortuitously placed rocks to stand on.  There was however, a vertical crack in the rock wide enough to be called a chimney.  I braced my back against one side, and pressed my boots against the other and slowly wiggled my way up until I could put my foot on a small ledge below the top.  It wasn’t Client Eastwood in The Eiger Sanction, but it worked. 

Once on the ledge, the scramble was a bit easier and on top I could have had my first good glimpse of Snowdown if it wasn’t socked in a cloud. Down below me I saw the most wondrous of sight, grass and a lot of it.  I climbed down and reached the Bwlch Coch, the shoulder between Crib Goch and Snowdown.  I stopped and smiled and just enjoyed the moment.  I looked back at the knife-edge ridge I just traversed and I could see some of it including climbers making there way delicately across.  The ridge is sort of bowl shaped as it moves east to west toward Snowdon.  I took a few pictures and continued on my way.  There was snow on the trail now and I felt exhilarated.  The most difficult part of the journey was behind me, three hours of sustained climbing and exposure.  I was mentally fatigued and was ready for an easy ascent to the summit of Snowdon.

After about 10 minutes of a gradual ascent on snow-covered grass, the route took on the familiar characteristics of rock scrambling though this time with less exposure.  The ridge was spiky but didn’t have some of the shear drop-offs as the knife-edge and wasn’t anything like the pinnacles.  The snow added a new twist.  It was wet and sticky and about an inch deep.  It blanketed the ridge and made the path more difficult to pick out.  I followed the footsteps left behind from the climbers in front of me but they diverged with some ascending the top of the ridge and others either the right or left side.  After a while, I just ignored them because they were more of a distraction than a help.

After about 45 minutes the ridge lost its sharpness and gradually leveled off and I stood on a wide and rocky plateau, the Glaslyn cum.  And I saw more people.   The Llamberis Path came in on the right along with train tracks. After five more minutes, the Pyg Track terminus appeared on the left and marked by a tall stone.  If I had followed the ranger’s advice back at the trailhead this was where I would have emerged.

The trail up to Snowdon at this point was a gradual and steady ascent.  The closer I got, the more people there were.  In fact, I was a bit astonished.  In the middle of January I passed about 25 people and five dogs.  I didn’t see or hear the train and figured everyone walked up.  I passed some of the climbers who passed me along way and we exchanged greetings and exalted at the thrill of making it to the top.

The summit of Snowdon was designated with a gigantic, round bronze marker similar to those we see here on high points placed by the US Geological Survey[18] It sat on top of a 15 foot tower of rock.  It was difficult to ascertain because of the snow if the tower was man made or the actual true summit.  On the marker were names of places and there distances from Snowdon. 

After eating some of my sandwich, finally, some food, I headed back down and before I left I saw an example of insanity.  There were two people who decided to do their morning run up to the summit of Snowdon.  One was wearing shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt and the other exercise pants and a sleeveless t-shirt.  From what I read afterwards, the Llamberis Path which I crossed on the Glaslyn cwm was a relatively easy hike up.  It’s well-graded and one of the most popular routes and runs parallel to the train tracks.  These crazy people obviously took the Llamberis Path.  They had no gear and nothing in case a storm came in which is always a possibility on top of a mountain at any time of year. 

I left the summit of Snowdon completely satisfied except for the fact that there was no view but that was no surprise.  I descended via the Pyg Track to the Miners Track and back to the trailhead parking lot at Pen-y-pass.  It was a relatively easy descent and the path leveled off nicely after about an hour.  On the descent, I had a beautiful view of the valley got a sense of the horseshow that makes up the range with Snowdon at the center and Crib Goch to the left and Y Gribin and Lliwedd to the right and in the middle of the valley, the Glaslyn lake.

The Miners Track follows along the east side of the Glaslyn lake and the Pyg Track runs parallel but higher above and Crib Goch and its spikes towering at the top.  I decided to take the Miners Track it was a longer way than the Pyg Track back but enjoyable[19].  It took another hour and a half to return to the parking lot along the Miner’s Track where the Pyg Track would have taken about 45 minutes.

When I got back to the parking lot, there was an S2 bus waiting and I hopped in and paid two pounds for the return journey.  I was very happy.  The bus driver asked me how my walk was and I told him it was fabulous.  I started thinking about my next journey up Snowdon.  I’d really like to do the full horseshow or at least the other side – Lliwedd to Y Gribin. I spent Sunday walking around Bewts-y-coed but that’s a story is for another time.

[1] In light of current controversy over the nature and substance of memoirs and to avoid censure on television by Oprah Winfrey or 30 minutes with Larry King with my mom or dad or any of my 4 siblings and 4 nephews (though it might be fun with my nephews) let me say that this is a faithful rendition of events.  And if I’m wrong, there are only sheep and a few Welsh and English fellow climbers to offer eyewitness evidence and whom either can only “baa” or would certainly agree with me.

[2] My pictures didn’t turn out very well thus I’ve included just a few snaps and  referenced guidebooks with much, much better photos than I have in part because they were taken by photographers with greater skill then mine and also with patience to get the right light in the right weather, and also get paid for it.

[3] John is not my climbing friend’s real name.  I’m using an alias to protect my source’s identity and to obviate any thought that I am in any way disparaging the Scots by conveying this mountain legend.

[4] Some of you maybe wondering why I wouldn’t just hang out in London – it’s a big city, lots to do, I am a city person, and this is only my third trip to London and all for work.  I don’t have a good answer for this other than I like to climb mountains and given the opportunity, why not go?

[5] I realize that I’ve given the answer away – did I or didn’t I make it to the top.  I did.  However, don’t stop reading.  The journey is reason I climb.

[6] I have edited out the description of packing and unpacking, and repacking, (winter hiking requires more gear including sharp objects like an ice axe and crampons) and the drive out to JFK in which the senseless car service driver decided that the quickest way from Washington Heights to JFK is down Broadway and his education, by me, of the merits of the Harlem River Drive.

[7] This is a lie.  I know more than one English person.

[8] Betws-y-coed lies in the Conway valley in the northeastern part of Snowdonia National Park.  Capel Curig, Bewts-y-coed, and Llamberis are all part of the Conway valley.

[9] This was a mistake. I should have gone straight.  Normally, I’m good at orienting myself and never get lost.  I may wander, but I’m never lost.  I meandered my way through town and after about 10 minutes, I stopped at the Royal Oak Hotel and asked for directions.  Needless to say, The Fairhaven was next door.

[10] Mashers are what the English, and Welsh, and Australians and probably the Scotch and Irish too call mashed potatoes.

[11] Betws-y-coed has an excellent bus system called The Snowdon Sherpa Bus that runs up and down the Conway valley.  During the summer months it runs more frequently and makes more scheduled stops. From Betws-y-coed to Pen-y-pas, take the S2 bus.   The bus stop is located outside the train station.  It will also stop at the Church in the village.  And, if you are really nice, on the way back, the driver will drop you where you want along the route.  The S97 bus travels the same route and is an express and that may make a difference in Summer but didn’t in January

[12] I never actually saw a kayaker on any of the rivers I passed.  I did see many cartops with kayaks and a couple of kayakers with wet hair and satisfied looks on their faces, waiting for their ride by the side of the road.  So, I imagine the kayaking to be very good.

[13] The Welsh, and English, and I imagine Scotch and Irish call “return” what we call “round trip.”

[14] In the guidebooks, switchbacks are called “zigzags” or “Zs.”

[15] In guidebooks written in any language, in any country, this is called “exposure” and if it lasts for more than a couple of moves, “sustained exposure.”

[16] There is a rule in mountain climbing:  At the summit you won’t be alone for very long.  While you may not see or hear any other fellow climbers along the way, you will always either meet people whom arrive before you or shortly thereafter.

[17] I honestly had this thought.  I have had in the past forgotten my contact lenses going away for weekends of outdoor activity like hiking or skiing.  I try very hard to remember not to forget, but occasionally, it still happens.

[18] On the US Geological Survey markers, it is written that there is a $300 penalty for stealing the marker. I didn’t see such a notation on the marker on top of Snowdon, but I didn’t get a good look as there were 6 other people trying to read the marker as well and many of the words were in Welsh.

[19] I made the wrong choice but not for the scenery but for my feet.  I wore my very sturdy backpacking boots and while it’s a flat route, my feet were killing me.  It’s a lovely walk but if you think the carriage roads in Mohonk are painful, then this is sheer torture.  I did however pass by the terminus for the Lliwedd trail which makes up part of the Snowdon Horseshow.

[ii] (Snowdon Sherpa Bus)


Ordinance Survey

  • OL17 - Snowdon
  • OL18 - Harlech, Porthmadog for the surrounding Conway valley

Harvey maps

  • Snowdon
  • Snowdonia the Glyderau & the Carneddau


  • The Welsh Peaks by W.A. Poucher
  • Hillwalking in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton - a Cicerone guide
  • Scrambles and Easy Climbs in Snowdonia by Jon Sparks, Tom Hutton, Jerry Rawson
  • Walks Around Betws-y-coed by Hilary Kendell and Hilary Bradnam