Climbing Snowdon – The miner’s track

Climbing on top of Snowdon ? Challenged accepted !

I went to Wales for the first time about a year ago for a long weekend, as I really wanted to climb up on top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The views from the top seem stunning and I have been envious of all the photographs I have seen on the blogosphere. We drove from Leeds to Wales, and visited Penrhyn Castle on the first day, had a good night of sleep and on the second day, we decided to climb up the mountain.

There are different tracks that lead to the summit, of different length and difficulty, and we chose to take the Miner’s track, the one that is supposed to be the easiest (but longest) with the most gradual incline.

We started at the Snowdon Mountain Railway in Llanberis where we parked our car. The weather was not fabulous, but at least it was not raining for the first part of the hike.

The path, which was originally used to bring copper down from the mines, was quite flat at the beginning but climbed gradually when we passed the ruins of the old copper mine.

The miner's track - snowdon

The miner's track - snowdon

The miner's track - snowdon

The miner's track - snowdon

After a while, it became a steep ascent and I wish I had brought my walking sticks with me (first mistake). On our right, we could see the steam train that was going straight to the top and I must admit that my lazy self wished she had bought a ticket straight up to the top (second mistake — we should have bought that one way trip to the top and walk our way down).

The miner's track - snowdon

As we were walking, the weather got a bit worse and it started raining. There was fog everywhere. It was really horrible but I was still hoping that the sky would clear up once we reached the top. People say that on a really clear day you can see as far as the Isle of Man and even Ireland. At that point, we should have gone back to the car and realise the weather wouldn’t allow us to see anything up there anyway (third mistake). My coat and my trousers were supposed to be waterproof but I was completely soaked and cold to the bones…the water was dripping into my shoes. It’s a bad idea to hike up Snowdon without proper gear and I have learnt it the hard way. We didn’t go back to the car despite being so cold because I had an awesome plan in mind. Once we would have reached the top, we would take the train back down.

The miner's track - snowdon

Once we reached the summit, we couldn’t even see the cairn, it did not clear up it was even worse than before.

The miner's track - snowdon

We were so drenched and cold. I tried to dry my shoes in the toilet of the cafe, had a hot beverage but I was just too cold, it was an horrible feeling. We tried to buy a train ticket to go down but all the tickets were sold out. My awesome plan was a big failure. There was no other option. We had to go down the way we climbed up and it was still raining. Thankfully, the way down was quicker than the way up, and being able to walk faster warmed me up a bit and at one point the rain stopped.

The miner's track - snowdon

Neither to say that after that trip we decided to invest into proper waterproof pants and shoes. Despite the horrible situation, I’m still kind of happy I did it. I climbed on top of Snowdon !

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94 responses to “Climbing Snowdon – The miner’s track

  1. Pingback: Chirk Castle | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  2. Pingback: A leisurely walk in the Devil’s kitchen | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  3. Currently planning a trip to the Snowdonia area in June and I remembered reading this on your blog, so I came back to re-read it. I recently found out about the train and though I originally didn’t plan to go up Snowdon because of the lack of time, I might actually go with the train up and down just to save time (I want to see Swallow Falls and Fairy Glen too, with no car, all in one day!) Your pictures are wonderful and I’m now more excited than I already was to go to Wales!!!

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    • I think taking the train is definitively a wise idea! You can still enjoy the landscape but if it rain you won’t be on the verge of hypothermia! Hope you will get a wonderful view up there!

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  4. I have a similar trip to the famous Great Canyon in USA. It was already May but we encountered almost winter colds. The view was completely covered with mist and it even started to snow! We were driving from one view point to the other only to see … nothing. We got a reward only on the very last moment of our visit. You can follow this little adventure of mine on my blog: https://awawdrodze.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/wielki-kanion/

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  5. Your first few photos of the Welsh countryside brought back many memories of my undergraduate years in Wales. It really is a beautiful country! Sorry to know that your climb up Snowdon didn’t quite turn out as expected. But like you said, you made it all the way to the top and back down despite the weather and that’s a real achievement. Well done and in spite of the rain and cold, you still managed to capture some nice photos! :-) Happy New Year, Gin!

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  6. So sorry to hear it was so horrible and wet not a pleasant experience at all. Good advice though for anyone planning to walk up the mountain! Hope you can go back some time when it’s better weather! Great photos and description in spite of the weather!

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  7. So sorry to hear it was sodding wet and cold all the up and down. Le really does look cold! :( It was very adventurous of you to stick it out all the way to the top and then back down, so many props for that. The view on the way to the summit didn’t look bad at all. But the white fog all round makes it look quite haunting.

    I agree with Anabel – going down is harder for me, hard on the knees and ankles. But if you combine it with wet and cold, it is much worse. Very glad you and Le made it back down in one piece. Sounded like you were the only brave ones :D

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  8. I commend you for sticking with it despite your discomfort. I would have turned back. I’ve been on hard hikes in the rain and it sucks. But at least it motivated you into buying proper clothes.

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  9. Wow! Looks amazing! So, we invested in walking sticks and knees guards(for me) and I always forget to carry them along. Haha! I think the weather was dreamy and that can make you feel a bit lazy. :) But you guys completed the hike! L looks super cold and cute in the last shot! Have a happy New Year both of you! Look forward to many more travels around the UK! :)

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  10. You’ve not only a great story to tell and remember, but now also another reason to visit again and give Snowdon another try. I too wish one day to visit Wales again with one goal to hike up Snowdon…preferably in the sunshine :-)

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  11. Wooow, brilliant, I’m saving this post for our trip later this year. :-)
    We wish you a Happy New Year filled with peace, love, and happiness.

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  12. Congratulations. I’m glad you’ve now got proper gear, I’d never go into the mountains without it. If nothing else you can add the experience to your list of funny travel tales that we all accrue over time.

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  13. One of my favorite hiking memories was a hideous slog in the rain for 10 hours in Argentina, all with the hopes of seeing a famous view at the top. What we saw was similar to your view: mist. In spite of being unbelievably cranky at the time, I now think back on that time with my family very fondly. I think you will do the same!

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  14. I have never climbed Snowden – once we stayed near there and it snowed unexpectedly so we didn’t do it. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it in the conditions you had. Some day I will be there in summer!

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  15. Even with those hardship going through the climbing and going down in rain and cold whether, I think they were another great experiences when looking back. I know you felt horrible when you had to go through the condition each step of the way and back. Even so, the pictures of the place under bad weather condition look good to me!

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    • It was difficult to take pictures as we were climbing up. The rain was too strong and the camera not being waterproof made things difficult. The sun peeking through the clouds made the valley looks very pretty. Thank you !

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  16. What a trip and a good learning experience about having proper clothing! The landscape looks quite peaceful and lovely – I hope you can return on a sunny day. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!

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    • It would be good to go back during summer, I will have better chance for a blue and clear sky.

      I now understand what’s the difference between a pair of trousers at £100 and one at £9.99. Sometimes you have to put the price for outdoors clothing

      Thank you ! I return the wishes :-)

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