Set off early
The whole walk up and down can take between six to eight hours depending on your fitness levels. For us it took six-and-a-half hours, but we didn’t set off until 11.30am so by the time we reached the bottom it was almost sunset.
Setting off early may mean that you come across more people, which is something to be aware of, but if you go during the off-peak season – October to March – then it will be significantly less crowded.
For us, the drive to Snowdon was about 40 minutes from where we were staying, had we set off earlier I would have been able to stop along the way and take some photos of the amazing views, which were so good I plan on going back to take photos.
Bring warm clothing even if you don’t think you’ll need them
There’s a path that leads to the climb on the Llanberis route up Snowdon and this is where so many people made the mistake of thinking they didn’t need a coat. We had to wait as some of our group went back to the car to drop their coats off and we saw so many other people do the same thing.
However warm you think it is, remember you’re walking up a mountain. I was laughed at by my fiancé for bringing a hat, scarf, and gloves with me, but about half an hour from the top we stopped for a photo opportunity and my fiancé, who had dropped his coat off in the car, was wrapped in my scarf. The hat and gloves were staying with me as it was only going to get colder. At the top everyone around me was shivering.
It’s easy to say “let’s leave it in the car we won’t need it” if you’re over heating but I cannot stress enough that it’s better to bite the bullet and tie it around your waist. You will be grateful when you reach the top and on the descent when it’s getting closer to nightfall and the sun has gone behind the clouds.
Invest in walking shoes
Ha. This one is a personal reminder to me. I didn’t own any walking boots. I have trainers but I thought I’d wear my vans. They’d served me well in Norway through metres of snow. How wrong was I? The walk up was fine, my shoes were comfortable enough. But the descent, that’s another matter.
The ground is uneven, and the easiest walk back during the off-peak season was to follow the railway line. It means you’re walking on small stones most of the way down which is hard on your balls of your feet and if you’re not wearing strong shoes, can be extremely painful – as I found out.
I was in pain for days after we finished the walk. The steep decline is made worse by uneven footpaths with lots of small stones. It looks easy, the reality is different. Just be sensible with what’s on your feet.
There are no toilets
So this isn’t really much of an issue for men, as I found out. But us women struggle to wee in public places without it going everywhere (too much information I’m sorry). But seriously girls, go to the toilet at the entrance at the bottom. You will regret it if you don’t.
We got told there was a toilet at the top and those that didn’t go lived to regret it. It’s a long journey as well so be careful with how much water you consume because you don’t want to be needing to go an hour into a six-hour walk.
The cafe and halfway house are closed until the summer season
We are so lucky we brought a snack with us. As mentioned so many times, it’s not a quick walk. We thought that we’d get to the halfway house and have an ice cream because it was a lovely day but when we got there it was shut. We took no notice and just assumed we’d missed it as it may have only opened for lunch. But when we got to the top, three hours later, we saw that the café was also closed.
It turns out that they are only open during the summer months and I am sure they are lovely but it really screwed us over. Six hours of no toilet breaks, limited water to prevent the need for toilet breaks, and limited food left us a bit grouchy on the way down. But the views were so worth it. I’d recommend taking a couple of sandwiches and snacks with you, nothing too heavy so that you don’t leave yourself hungry.
I was stupid in the fact that I did no exercise in the build-up to the walk. I suffer with asthma, which only makes that ten-times worse. Even though we took the easy route (supposedly) it was tough. There’s a really steep incline near the end, which had everyone suffering. Even the hikers among us, struggled with it.
By the end of the walk, everything waist downwards hurt. I was stuck waddling like a penguin for days. That’s what happens when you go straight into a mountain climb having done no exercise in years. But it has motivated me to do more walking so watch this space.
Take photos on the way up
The views of Snowdon were stunning. You could see miles and miles of land and mountains. Little towns and villages were so small they looked like Polly Pockets. We indulged ourselves in the views, taking photos every ten minutes or so on the way up, hoping to catch the sun in the right place.
We were so grateful that we did, because as soon as we reached the summit the fog had appeared and our climb was invisible. If we hadn’t taken photos on the way up, we would have nothing to show. So take them when you have the chance. If you can see views, take the photos. Don’t wait until later, because you may have missed your chance.
The views are so amazing, nothing like I have ever seen and I can’t wait to return to Wales. Apart from the achievement of climbing Snowdon, that’s what you’re there for and it would be a shame to miss them.