A perfect day
My last visit to Snowdonia in Wales was in early March this year. That was at the end of my main walking season in those small but wonderful mountains. I just love winter walking in the mountains and 2009/10 had been superb. Indeed I owe Summit Post a detailed TR with photos from that winter. It's coming soon!
Dawn below me as I drove from Beddgelert to Pen y Pass.
I had kept walking during the months since March, some on hills, but mainly local daily walks on small slopes local to my home in Kent, SE England.
But by October I had a yearning to get back to Snowdonia. To see if my summer "training" had kept me sort of fit for the coming winter. And to just enjoy the Welsh mountains in what I hoped would be decent Autumn weather.
But I couldn't have expected to have had such a perfect day for my walk up Snowdon on Monday 25th October. The sort of weather you only dream about: that mountain has a reputation, (well earned in my experience), for being perfect only for those who like to study the inside of clouds close up!
A good clue to what the day would bring was me having to scrape thick ice off my car before I left Beddgelert and drove to Pen Y Pass. Where I planned to walk the old Miners' Track to Snowdon Summit.
Autumn dawn sunshine on Snowdon
The valley below was misty and still waiting full sunshine. But above me Snowdon stood proud and majestic. With not a cloud in sight, and clear of the deep and icy snow that had covered it last time I was here, on March 8th.
I'd planned to walk the Miner's track up Snowdon for good reasons. It starts fairly high up and is a very gentle route early on. Giving me a chance to see how I felt as I got going. And giving me a chance to warm up before getting to the steeper sections.
The frosty car park at Pen Y Pass was almost full even though I wasn't late. And it was still a very clear day. With, as I started, not a breath of wind.
Conditions I had not seen on my previous thirteen walks up this lovely Welsh mountain. Low cloud, howling wind and blizzard conditions being the norm for my winter walks here!
Reflections come and go
So it was a lovely surprise to turn a corner and see Snowdon reflected in the glass like still waters of the small Llyn Teryn!
Llyn Teryn belies it's small size to reflect a large mountain.
And to see the great brooding mass of Y Lliwedd similarly reflected. What a day to go up Snowdon on.
The massive Y Lliwedd reflected in a diminutive Llyn Teryn
But of course that wonderfully still weather was not to last. And by the time I had got up to Llyn Llydaw more normal conditions had arrived. Except for the fact that it remained beautifully clear.
Snowdon, with Llyn Llydaw in the foreground
The views stay superb
My slow pace reflected tha fact that I hadn't walked up Snowdon for seven months. But to me the day was all about enjoying the wonderful views. And not about speed. And I did enjoy the steep section going up from the Miners' Track to the PYG track. As usual I left that part of the track at times just to get my hands on the rocks to do some very easy and gentle scrambling.
Still a gentle climb, with Snowdon always in view
Signs of long since ended mining activities
Looking back down past Glaslyn
The clear weather seemed set in for the day as I carried on up. Looking back at the wonderful view behind me.
High up on the Miners' Track. And a lovely view back down to the lakes of Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw
Views from the Summit RidgeUp the final steep section and I was on the Summit Ridge of Snowdon. With equally clear views to those I had enjoyed on my ascent. And the blue of Irish Sea. Plus, not visible here, a glimpse of the top of the Irish Hills, something over 60 miles away. A rare sighting from the summit of Snowdon.
Mynydd Mawr seen from Snowdon's Summit Ridge Moel Eilio and others seen, Snowdon's Summit Ridge Crib Goch seen from Snowdon's Summit Ridge
Garnedd Ugain and time to descendNot surprisingly in such lovely weather Snowdon's summit was busy. So I descended quickly back to the shoulder where the Miners' Track joined the ridge. Then walked up to the top of Garnedd Ugain, knowing I'd have that mountain summit to myself. Time to sit, (in all day frost!), and have a light lunch. As well as watch a train ascending to Snowdon's Summit. A sign of my winter preference for Snowdon as this was the first time in 14 ascents I'd seen a train at this height.
Train climbing to Snowdon
I did have to force myself away from the wonderful views on such a lovely day. But was helped by the scene facing me as I started my descent from the summit ridge and back the way I had come.
Llyn Llydaw with Moel Siabod behind
The day was moving on. And I would have to leave here soon. But like so many of us here, my mind was starting to plan future walks. Or in the case of Y Lliwedd a walk and a quite long and quite steep scramble, (up the sunlit slope, not the cliffs!). One I had done with Lolli in May 2009. And one I now had ideas of doing in the coming winter. On a day of lying ice and snow, and in totally clear weather like today. Dream on Bryan, dream on....................