Back in September last year I wrote my 50 places to visit before I hit the big 5-0, with number 4 on the list being climbing Mount Snowdon, which stands at 1,085 m (3,560 ft), making it the highest mountain in Wales, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland.
Last week we headed to North Wales and stayed in a beautiful cottage in Anglesey, which is only a short drive from Snowdonia, so now was my chance to tick it off my list.
If you are planning to climb Snowdon you need to do your research as there are several different paths to choose from. The Llanberis Path is the most popular and easiest hiking route, however we plumped for the Snowdon Ranger route as it is shorter.
There is a small carpark at Llyn Cwellyn, which costs £6 for the day and the pathway is across the other side of the road, past the railway track and a farmhouse.
The path is a bit of a baptism of fire as it gains height rapidly by way of a set of zig-zags which are quite tough-going, especially for little legs.
Thankfully the fields that surround these were full of cute lambs, which gave the kids something else to focus on and spurred them on and Sebby managed to persuade Kian for a shoulder ride.
Once you are past the gate at the top of the zig zags, the path is much more gentle on the legs and the views across the lake below make that initial climb worthwhile.
The pathways here are littered with interesting things for the kids to find and there were little bridges over streams, where we could make up stories about trolls and some nice large rocks which we could sit on for a much needed rest.
At the beginning of the walk, I set up my activity tracker on my watch, which measured our distance and to motivate the kids further, every time we hit our target, the kids got a treat. (Haribo and Freddo biscuits worked well)
After such a nice flat path, the next stage of the walk proved much more challenging.
There are more zig zags, which are much more of a scramble than the first set. These didn’t phase Isaac and Eliza, but Sebby struggled here and had to be lifted up and over some of the larger rocks.
I have to admit that it was at this part of the climb was where we nearly gave up, however a stop for lunch gave us a much needed boost and we decided to continue.
The sight of snow gave the kids another boost, although it was too icy for a snowball fight sadly.
The snow was quite deep in places and covered the pathway, making it quite tricky to negotiate, but we were almost there.
As you approach the summit, the paths merge together you see a lot more people making the climb, or coming back down, with lots of cheery “you’re nearly there” comments.
From a sunny start to the walk, we were now in the clouds and the wind was howling around us. We made the decision, not to take Eliza and Sebby up the summit steps as it was too dangerous.
Hubby and Isaac went up first whilst we stayed with Eliza and Sebby and then I headed up with Kian.
We were treated to a brief view of the mountain below from the summit when the clouds parted, so I can only imagine how stunning it is on a clear day.
It was then time to head back down again!!
We walked a distance of 8.8 miles, there and back, and climbed 936 metres in a time of 6 hours and 40 minutes.
Top Tips for Climbing Snowdon with Kids
- Check the weather forecast before you leave
- Follow mountain safety guidelines.
- Wear sensible clothing and walking boots, you will appreciate that extra grip
- Be prepared for all weathers, it may be sunny and warm at the start, but the weather is very different at the summit.
- Take plenty of food and drink – a balanced lunchbox is best but we also had sweets and biscuits for added encouragement
- Look out for the stone markers / signs to help your navigation.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to summit and get back down.
- There is a visitor centre at the top, with a cafe, however it was closed during our climb. It typically opens from late Spring to the last weekend in October.
- Be prepared for lots of rest breaks
- Take fun equipment for the kids to use. A compass and binoculars are great for distracting them from tired legs
- If in any doubt, take the Snowdon Mountain Railway. It is currently running 3/4 of the way up the mountain, but will head to the summit from late Spring to the last weekend in October – they were clearing the snow from the tracks during our climb.