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Snowdonia National Park, (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) located in North Wales, is a dream for anyone who revels in the rustic outdoor lifestyle. Covering 838 sq. miles (2,170 sq. km), including 37 miles (67 km) of pristine coastline, this is a majestic piece of unspoiled landscape, a combination of rugged mountainous terrain, tranquil valleys, lakes and rivers, moors and wetlands. Whether you enjoy a leisurely hill-walk, a brisk hike, or a challenging climb, Snowdonia National Park offers something for everyone. Designated a National Park in 1951, the untamed countryside is a protected area of outstanding beauty, steeped in history and culture.
The summit of Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) stands an impressive 3,560 ft (1,085 m) above sea level, offering sweeping 360 degree views once you reach the top. The summit can be reached by six main routes, varying in difficulty, ranging from pleasant, gradual climbs, to more treacherous routes across loose scree. For those who can't manage the climb (which is 6 or more hours up and down), the Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you to the summit, beginning at the quaint town of Llanberis, over two ancient viaducts and through lush forests, before winding its way up the mountain, past sheer black volcanic rock faces and craggy peaks, until you reach the Summit Visitor Center. This landmark building, which attracts more than 350,000 visitors per year, offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. It truly feels like you are standing on top of the world!
Cutting an impressive swath through Snowdonia National Park is Llanberis Pass, the main route from Llanberis in the north, passing between the Glyderau Mountains and Mount Snowdon. The road is very popular with abseilers (abseiling or rappelling is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope) and climbers, as there are many areas to pull over and access the towering cliffs on either side. Of interest to climbers is the fact that the 1953 British Everest Expedition trained in this area, considering it comparable to the brutal climb that they would face. To the east of the Glyderau mountain range lies the Carneddau range, featuring 7 peaks over the height of 2500 feet; the largest contiguous mountain range of this height in Wales and England. It is also home to a number of clear blue lakes, and Aber Falls, a waterfall that plummets 120 feet (37m) over the foothills. In the Glyderau mountains, surrounded by the majestic peaks of Glyder Fawr and Y Garn, sits the serene valley of Cwm Idwal, which attracts botanists from all over the world, due to the very rare plants that grow only there.
Nestled at the base of Mount Snowdon is Beddeglert, the perfect example of an unspoiled Welsh village, with picturesque stone cottages and wooded vales. A short stroll along the banks of the Glaslyn River leads you to a 13th century stone monument, Gelert's Grave. Betws-y-Coed, on the eastern side of Snowdonia, is one of the most popular villages in the area, surrounded by majestic mountains, dense woodland, and possibly some of the most beautiful rivers in Snowdonia. Known as the 'Gateway to Snowdonia', this is where the River Conwy is joined by 3 tributaries that flow from the west, and as such, there are a number of impressive bridges including Thomas Telford's famous Waterloo Bridge, built in 1815. Older examples include Pont-y-Pair Bridge, built in 1468. Just outside of the village you will find Swallow Falls, a must-see for any visitor to Snowdonia.
Take the Ffestiniog Railway from the lovely seaside town of Porthmadog, a journey that winds its way through pasture and woodland, rising steeply to 700 feet above sea level, until it reaches the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Travel 400 feet below ground, deep into the Llechwydd Slate Caverns, and experience what life was like for the Victorian Slate Miners.
There are a number of villages and towns that sit on the impressive coastline that edges the north and west of Snowdonia. Just outside of Porthmadog is the unique village of Portmeirion, created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis over a period of time spanning 1925 to 1975, in the style of an Italian village. Barmouth, on the west coast, overlooking Cardigan Bay, is a quaint little seaside town that is extremely popular with families, with miles of sandy beaches and a picture-perfect harbor.
Snowdonia is dotted with a multitude of buildings of historical and architectural significance, from tiny stone cottages to manor houses and castles. It is surrounded by a series of coastal castles, known as the 'iron ring' of castles, built by the English in the 13th century as a way to 'enclose' the Welsh people in the mountain areas. On the north coast is the Royal town of Caernarfon, featuring the imposing fortification of Caernarfon Castle. On Tremadog Bay lies the medieval town of Harlech, over which stands Harlech Castle, almost seeming to grow out of the craggy rock. This was built as both a land and sea defense. In a twist of fate, it was taken over by the Welsh in 1404, and was the inspiration for the famous song 'Men of Harlech'. The global importance of these castles was recognized in 1986, when they were placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
While not within the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park, you may consider a trip to the Isle of Anglesey, historically referred to as the 'granary of Wales', due to its rich agricultural land. Situated just off the northwest coast, the island is connected to the mainland by two bridges which cross the Menai Straits. The Menai Suspension Bridge, which was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, lays claim to being the first suspension bridge ever built. The Britannia Bridge was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1850, originally designed to carry rail traffic. Both are exquisite examples of 19th Century architecture.
Anglesey is home to another UNESCO recognized 13th century English built castle, Beaumaris; its primary purpose being to retain control of the Menai Straits. This concentric castle was virtually impenetrable, featuring 14 separate obstacles that an intruder would have to overcome to enter the central courtyard. Anglesey is also home to the village with the longest place name in Europe: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerchwyrndrobwlllantysiliogogogoch (St. Mary's church in a hollow by the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and St. Tysilio's church by the red cave.) Shortened to Llanfair P.G, it is well worth a visit, if only to get a photograph standing in front of the signpost at the railway station!
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What Makes It Special
Snowdonia National Park is one of those rare places that you only come across once in a lifetime. From the rugged unspoiled mountains to the tranquil valleys and pristine coastline, this truly is a magnificent area. Designated as a National Nature Reserve and SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), due to the wide array of rare fauna and flora, the area has been conserved, managing to retain its natural beauty. Whether you are looking for an active holiday devoted to climbing and hiking, or a more relaxed time simply immersing yourself in Snowdonia's extraordinary beauty, you will find exactly what you are looking for.
Steeped in history, the area features a number of architectural masterpieces, including four 13th century castles, deemed worthy of being designated National Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Botanists will be astounded by the wealth of unusual plants in the area, in particular Cwm Idwal, home to flowers that are found nowhere else in the world. The diverse aspect of the landscape truly makes Snowdonia National Park a wondrous place to visit.
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Directions To Destination
While Snowdonia National Park may seem a little out of the way, it is quite easy to get to. The closest airport is Manchester Airport (MAN). From there you can hire a car, driving west for about 90 miles (145 km), which could take up to 2 hours.
Birmingham Airport (BHX) is approximately 100 miles (160 km) away from the Snowdonia area, taking 2 1/2 hours. Alternatively, from Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) airports, the drive is approximately 225 miles (360 km), which can take up to 4 hours.
National Express has a coach service that goes from all major cities in the UK to the edge of Snowdonia: Llandudno, Bangor, Caernarfon and Porthmadog. For further information about the service, visit the National Express website.
There is a frequent rail service from most major towns and cities in the UK to Bangor and Llandudno. From there you can use the Conwy Vally Line train into central Snowdonia (Betws-y-Coed, Dolwyddelan, Blaenau Ffestiniog) or the Cambrian Coast Line for towns on the coast (Porthmadog, Barmouth). For more information on rail service consult web sites of National Rail Enquiries (official source for UK train times and timetables) and Virgin Trains. The Cambrian Lines web site will help you with planing your trips via Aberystwyth Main Line and the Machynlleth to Pwllheli Coast Lines. For information on Conwy Vally Line service, use the web site of Conwy County Borough Council.
Traveling around Snowdonia is relatively easy using the Snowdon Sherpa bus service, connecting between all the major towns and villages in the area. The following website may help you with bus service schedules, routes and purchasing tickets: Traveline Cymru Public Transport Information Service, Snowdonia Green Key, Cyngor Gwynedd Council.
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Best Time To Go
Snowdonia has the dubious honor of being one of the rainiest areas in the United Kingdom. For example, Crib Goch arête (ridge of rocks) in Snowdonia is the wettest spot in the United Kingdom, with the average annual rainfall of 176 inches (4,473 millimeters). Most precipitations in Snowdonia take place during the period from October to January. That being said, due to its close proximity to the ocean, snowfall is never very heavy. Whatever time of year, the weather tends to be changeable; it can be hot and sunny, followed by a downpour, but at the same time, the stormy skies can suddenly give way to bright sunshine. July and August are the warmest months, with temperatures averaging between 62 - 70 °F (17 - 20 °C). (Always remember that the temperature on the mountains tends to be about 48 °F (9 °C) colder than in the valleys.) That being said, Snowdonia is such a beautiful area that a few clouds or raindrops won't spoil your holiday!
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Where To Stay
We recommend the following hotels:
The Legacy Royal Victoria Hotel (Llanberis, Gwynedd LL55 4TY, UK) - this wonderful old hotel, nestled between two lakes (Lake Padarn and Llyn Peris) is an excellent base for exploring Snowdonia. The Royal Victoria Hotel sits in 30 acres of private gardens and woodland at the foot of Mount Snowdon, just outside the village of Llanberis. Featuring 106 rooms and 2 restaurants and bars, prices for this 3-star hotel range from £59 - £79 (all prices here and below are 2012) for a double room in high season, and £39 - £69 in low season. All prices are for 2 people sharing a room. They offer complimentary parking and free WiFi.
For the ultimate in comfort and luxury, look no further than Craig-y-Dderwen The Riverside Hotel (Betws-y-Coed, Conwy LL24 0AS, UK). Located in Betws-y-Coed, known as the 'Gateway to Snowdonia', this secluded 4-star Victorian country house sits on the banks of the River Conwy, in 16 acres of grounds. There is a fully equipped room on the ground floor with wheelchair access, suitable for the elderly or disabled. The hotel has fishing rights for the Conwy River, and they offer free fishing for all guests. There are 18 rooms, with double rooms start range from £60 - £85 per person, a river view four-poster suite ranges from £110 - £115 per person, and a family suite ranges from £240 - £260 (room rate).
Elen's Castle Hotel (Dolwyddelan, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy LL25 0EJ, UK) is a family run establishment, located in the small village of Dolwyddelan, on the main road between Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Located at the base of Moel Siabod (Siabod Mountain), this 18th Century coaching inn has 14 rooms, with prices ranging from £85 - £95 for two people sharing a double room. There is also a suite that is suitable for 2 to 6 people, prices ranging from £90 for 2 people, to £140 for 6 people. Featuring an intimate restaurant and a traditional bar with a wood burning stove, this is a lovely hotel if people want to experience Welsh hospitality at its finest. For backpackers on a budget, Elen's Castle Hotel has bunkhouse accommodation, which consists of a single room sharing a bathroom, sleeping up to 4 people,. The rate is £15 per person, but don't forget to bring your own sleeping bag!
Research and book hotels in or near Snowdonia, United Kingdom
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While Snowdonia is most notable for its climbing, hiking and abseiling, there are a wealth of activities for the whole family. Whether it's pony trekking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, cycling, mountain biking, walking, or simply taking in the majesty of the area, there is something for everyone.
Ffestiniog Railway Journey
The Ffestiniog Railway (Rheilffordd Ffestiniog) is a preserved railway that runs from the seaside town of Porthmadog up into the mountains, ending at the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, 13.5 miles (21.7 km) away. This is a wonderful journey, the steam train winding its way through Snowdonia National Park through the Vale of Ffestiniog. It was opened in 1836 to carry slate from the mountains down to Porthmadog. At the start of the journey the train crosses the sweeping Cob, an embankment that's over a mile in length, and was built to hold back the sea. After passing the village of Portmeirion, it twists and turns through lush pastures and majestic forests, climbing 700 feet up into the mountains, until reaching Blaenau Ffestiniog. Prices range from £19 for a return trip and £12.70 for one-way (all prices here and below 2012).
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
No visit to Snowdonia would b complete without stepping back in time at the Llechwydd Slate Caverns. There are two underground rides, the first one being the Miners' Tramway, a guided tour offering demonstrations of early Welsh slate mining. Another option is the Deep Mine tour. Not for the faint of heart, the caverns are accessed by a small railway that drops a heart-stopping 400 feet on an extremely precipitous incline, making it the steepest railway track in the United Kingdom. Once you get to the Deep Mine, the tour is approximately 0.5 mile (0.8 km) long, including 61 steps downwards. There are 10 breathtaking, dimly lit caverns, each one featuring a tape recording, telling of life underground during Victorian times. Be sure to visit the spectacular underground lake. Bear in mind that it is quite cold, wet and dark that far underground, and it might not be suitable for the claustrophobic! Above ground you will find the Victorian Village, featuring wonderful shops reminiscent of yesteryear, and even a cozy village pub! The mines are open all year round, from 10am to 6pm (April to September), 10am to 5pm (October to March). Entrance costs are £10.25 adult, £8.25 child (single tour), £16.50 adult, £12.50 child (both tours). Children under 3 are free.
Though Mount Snowdon is the most well-known peak in Snowdonia National Park, there are a number of mountains that are equally as breathtaking. Tryfan, part of the Glyderau range, rising 3,010 feet above sea level, requires both hands and feet to make the ascent, but once at the top you will see why this is highly favored amongst climbers. At the summit sit two monoliths, 3m high, separated by 1.2m, named 'Adam and Eve'. A tradition amongst climbers is to jump from one huge boulder to another, gaining the 'Freedom of Tryfan'. This is not for the faint of heart, as there are huge drops on either side of the narrow summit. Both the climb up and down can be quite dangerous; one wrong turn and you could find yourself facing a sheer rock face, so always stay on the right paths.
Glyder Fach, also in the Glyderau Range, is rather steep and exposed, certain climbs being quite hazardous, such as the aptly named 'Sinister Gully'. At the summit you will find the Cantilever Stone, a huge horizontal rock that seems to sit precariously on top of the mountain, prone to topple at any time. (This is highly unlikely, as it weighs over 70 tons!)
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (The Black Cliff), on the north flank of Snowdon has been dubbed "the best crag in the world" by British rock climber Leo Houlding. This is the most difficult climb in Snowdonia, and should only be attempted by the most experienced of climbers. It is a highly technical climb, dominated by an area known as The Great Wall. "Cloggy" shouldn't be climbed at any time except during the summer months: the rock face is safest after an extended period of dry weather.
In the shadow of the peaks of Glyder Fawr and Y Garn you will find Cwm Idwal, a hanging valley that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The fascinating geology and rare plants have drawn botanists, scientists and naturalists from all over the world, including Sir Charles Darwin. This is the home of the Snowdon Lily and the Snowdonia Hawkweed, the only place in the world that you will find these extremely rare plants. Llyn Idwal is a small lake, the backdrop being a sharp cliff face featuring a deep chasm known as Twll Du (Black Hole). The steam that rises from the crack in the rocks led it to be named Devil's Kitchen.
Snowdon Mountain Railway Journey
For people who are unable to make the climb up Mount Snowdon, the Snowdon Mountain Railway is ideal. Beginning its journey in the town of Llanberis, the train crosses two old stone viaducts, making its way through lush frosts before reaching the open countryside and a view of Mount Snowdon's craggy peak. The next part of the journey winds its way slowly up the mountain through Rocky Valley, offering spectacular views of the valleys and rivers below. Passing the black volcanic sheer rock faces of Clogwyn du'r Arddu, you will finally reach the Summit of Mount Snowdon. Perched near the top is the Summit Visitor Centre (Hafod Eryri), which opened in 2009, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. This is a lovely place to sit down and have a cup of tea, marveling at the wonder of Mount Snowdon, before making the trek back down.
One thing to bear in mind: how far you make it up Mount Snowdon using the railway is really down to Mother Nature. During high winds, the train doesn't travel any further than Rocky Valley, and during heavy snow on top of the mountain, it stops at Clogwyn ddu'r Arddu. It is normally open from late March to the end of October, but due to the aforementioned weather conditions, it normally doesn't proceed right to the summit until early May. Prices are £25 for adults, £18 for children for a return trip (Llanberis - Summit), and £19 for adults, £15 for children for a return trip (Llanberis - Clogwyn/Rocky Valley). Some people like to take the train to the summit, then walk back down. A single fare is £18 for adults, £15 for children (Llanberis - Summit), and £15 for adults, £11 for children (Llanberis - Clogwyn/Rocky Valley). People taking the first train of the day at 9am can get an 'early bird ticket', £19 for adults, and £12 for children (Llanberis - Summit), and £12 for adults, £9 for children (Llanberis - Clogwyn/Rocky Valley). These tickets are return fare only. Trains run approximately every 30 minutes, depending on passenger demand.
The picturesque village of Beddgelert is located at the southerly base of Mount Snowdon. Two rivers pass through the village - the Colwyn and the Glaslyn. The Glaslyn Gorge, just outside the village, is perfect for whitewater kayaking. A short walk along the banks of the River Glaslyn leads you to Gelert's Grave. According to folklore, Gelert was the faithful dog of medieval Prince Llewelyn the Great. One day Llewelyn discovered his infant son missing, and found Gelert covered with blood. Thinking that Gelert had killed his son, Llewelyn plunged his sword into the side of the dog, only to suddenly hear a child cry nearby. His son was unharmed, but next to the child lay the body of a giant wolf that Gelert had killed. Legend says that Prince Llewelyn was so remorseful, he never smiled again.
There are a number of rivers, gorges and lakes dotted around Snowdonia, offering a wealth of canoeing and kayaking opportunities. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced whitewater kayaker, you can work with professional instructors, having the adventure of a lifetime. People looking for a white knuckle ride should try whitewater rafting at the Tryweryn Centre, near Bala. Prices vary for individuals and groups, depending on which activity you want to try. More details are available on their website.
Activities in Snowdonia, a family run outdoor center, offers a canoeing tour of some of Snowdonia's most beautiful lakes and rivers. These half day or full day trips are suitable for all ability levels, for anyone over the age of 8. A half day session costs £35 per person, a full day costs £55.
Climbing and Abseiling
There is a variety of climbing and abseiling opportunities in Snowdonia. Obviously, these activities should always be done with an instructor unless you are really experienced. SerenVentures, near Betws-y-Coed, offers climbing and abseiling activities all year round. A half-day session learning the basics of climbing and abseiling costs £50 per person (minimum of 2 people).
Snowdonia Outdoor, based in Llanberis, offers half and full day rock climbing sessions, the full day includes abseiling and learning rope management. Sessions usually take place around Llanberis, and are arranged to suit someone's abilities. They also offer hill walking throughout the National Park. Prices are available upon request.
Adventure Activities, based in Llanbedr, offers a number of activities, including rock climbing and abseilng, a half day course costs £45 for adults, £25 for 10-18 year olds, a full day course costs £70 for adults, £35 for 10-18 year olds. (The full day course includes your choice of two activities). They also offer canoeing, mountain biking, gorge scrambling and mountain walking.
Pony trekking is a wonderful way to see Snowdonia, and Gwydyr Stables, just outside Betws-y-Coed, offers some absolutely wonderful rides through National Trust and Forestry Commission land. With rides from half an hour to a full day, the rides range from novice treks to experienced rides. Prices range from £15 for 30 minutes to £65 for a full day.
Barmouth, a seaside town on the western edge of Snowdonia, is the perfect place for cycling. The 'traffic-free trail' leading from Barmouth to Dolgellau is part of the National Cycle Network. Winding gently along the Mawddach Estuary, this 10 mile ride offers breathtaking views. The more experienced cyclist will enjoy the mountain bike routes in the Coed y Brenin Forest just north of Dolgellau. Here you will find the Red Bull (Tarw Trail) mountain bike course - the first MTB trail in the UK. This course is extremely challenging with multiple climbs and rocky descents, and the trail can become quite slippery in bad weather. Coed y Brenin also offers a number of 'all-ability' bike and walking trails, a children's play area and a cafe. In short, there's something for the whole family!
Located just outside of Betws-y-Coed is Swallow Falls, a spectacular waterfall on the River Llugwy, that cascades through crags and rocks, particularly impressive after heavy rainfall. It costs £1 to gain access to the Falls, allowing you to walk down a steep footpath to a viewing area. Prepare to get wet, as you are extremely close to the crashing water! Those who want to get an even more impressive view should make their way to the other side of the Llugwy, crossing the Pont-y-Pair bridge at Betwys-y-Coed, and walking north along the bank. Be aware that this is a very tricky footpath, basically cut out of the rock face, so wear appropriate shoes.
Just outside of Porthmadog is the unique village of Portmeirion, visited annually by over 250,000 people. Created over a period of time spanning 1925 to 1975, by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, it was built in an attempt to show that a naturally beautiful area can be developed without ruining it. Styled after an Italian village, Portmeirion is sometimes called 'A home for fallen buildings', as Williams-Ellis dismantled a number of derelict buildings, both in the UK and abroad, and rebuilt them in the village. Visitors can stay at the main hotel or one of the self-catering cottages, but Portmeirion is also open to day visitors. It is surrounded by 70 acres of woodland and exquisite gardens, containing an unrivaled collection of rhododendrons. It is open every day of the year from 9.30am to 7.30pm, and entry is free.
Caernarfon is the most famous castle in Wales; a mighty medieval fortification built in the 13th century by Edward I. Part of what is known as the 'iron ring' of castles, the primary role was to keep the Welsh at bay, an English symbol of dominance over the natives. With a commanding presence overlooking the southern end of the Menai Straits, Caernarfon Castle features 9 towers, clusters of turrets, and 2 huge gatehouses, the walls featuring internal passages equipped with arrow holes at 2 levels. It is constructed in a concentric pattern, making this one of the most formidable English defenses ever built in Wales. Edward 1 considered Caernarfon to be so important that as well as building the castle, he destroyed the original Welsh settlement and built a new town enclosed behind a huge wall. The importance of Caernafon Castle was recognized by UNESCO in 1987, when it was declared a World Heritage Site. It is open from 9.30am to 6pm from July 1st to August 31st, 9.30am to 5pm from March 1st to June 30th, and September 1st to October 31st. Between November 1st and February 28th it is open from 10am to 4pm. Admission is £5.25 per person, or £15.35 for a family ticket that admits 2 adults and up to 3 children.
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Useful Visitor Information and Tips
While Mount Snowdon may look rather daunting from the base, it is actually quite easy to climb as long as you choose the right route. There are 6 main paths, varying in distance from about 7 to 10 miles (11 - 16 km) there and back. The actual walking time is 6 or more hours up and down. The paths start on various points of the mountain, from the base to approximately halfway up. The most difficult route is the Watkins Path. Though it is only 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long, you will start only a few hundred feet above sea level, ascending 3,300 feet (1,006 m). It is very strenuous, and near the top, you will be traversing loose scree, close to dangerous cliffs and crags. Be extremely careful in bad weather as visibility tends to be quite poor. Halfway up the mountain, beginning at Pen-y-Pass, lies the start of the Pyg and Miners track. The first part of the walk is fairly gentle, but towards the summit it becomes increasingly steep. Though quite challenging, this 3.5 mile walk is the most popular (and famous) route up the mountain. While this is a very rugged walk, the scenery is beautiful.
Two routes that are fairly easy are the Snowdon Ranger track and the Beddgelert Path. Both about 3.75 miles (6 km), they rise very gradually, and are extremely easy to follow. The only time they become a little difficult is near the summit. Finally, the longest (5 miles or 8 km), but possibly easiest walk is the Llanberis Path. Interestingly enough, many people start strolling up this path while waiting for the Snowdon Mountain Railway, and suddenly realize that they are halfway up the mountain! While all these routes become quite steep towards the end of your climb, it's worth remembering that once you reach the top, you can relax and have a cup of tea and something to eat at the Summit Visitor Center. And don't forget to buy a certificate that says you have actually reached the top!
Whichever route you choose to climb Mount Snowdon, always follow the markers. For some reason, this is especially important on the way down, as people tend to meander off onto the wrong path, as they think they remember which way they are going. You could very easily end up on a path that isn't suitable for an inexperienced climber or walker. There is currently conservation work going on all over the mountain, due to erosion caused by the many visitors over the years. Remember to stay away from areas that are out of bounds.
Another way to get to the summit of Snowdon is via the Snowdon Mountain Railway. You can purchase either a return or one-way ticket. If you are unsure of which one to choose - purchase a return ticket. It is sometimes possible to buy a one-way ticket back down, but it's on a first come, first served basis, and there is no guarantee that you will be able to get a seat. Once you reach the top, you can then decide whether you would prefer to walk back down. Some people don't realize exactly how steep Snowdon becomes near to the summit, and they may have a difficult time walking down. Also, the weather could change at any time, and you might have to make your way down in the pouring rain. The train allows you about 30 minutes at the summit before it makes its return down the mountain; don't miss your train, as it is the only way you are guaranteed an available seat!
Llanberis Pass is an extremely popular destination for climbers and abseilers, the towering cliffs on with side of the path offering an exciting and challenging climb. Please bear in mind that this area of Snowdonia is not for the inexperienced climber! You need a certain level of expertise to be able to climb the craggy cliff faces, and it is very easy to find yourself stuck if you don't know what you are doing.
When visiting Llechwydd Slate Caverns, remember that it is over 400 feet (122 m) below ground. While the weather outdoors might be mild and sunny, the caverns are very cold and wet. Don't forget to take a jacket, and wear suitable shoes as it can be quite slippery. Another thing to take into account is that it is quite dark and cramped in some areas, not really recommended for people who are prone to claustrophobia. The Deep Mine guided tour is over 0.5 mile (0.8 km) long, and involves climbing down 61 steps, so it may not be suitable for anyone that has difficulty walking.
The Welsh 3000s Challenge
If you are an experienced hiker or climber, you might think about trying to complete 'The Welsh 3000s'. This challenge requires you to have made it to the top of each mountain over 3000 ft (914 m) within 24 hours (there are 15 of them!) The length of the challenge is approximately 24 miles (39 km), and the use of any kind of transportation is not allowed. This isn't an organized event, but most people try to do it as close to June 22nd as possible, as this is the longest day of the year in terms of light. The route actually starts at the top of Mount Snowdon, and some people choose to camp there the night before to get a head start. While this challenge is difficult, it can be done in under 24 hours, but you should be in tip top condition if you are going to attempt it. Also, if you aren't familiar with Snowdonia, don't go alone.
Before heading out into the mountains of Snowdonia, especially some of the lesser known ones, always make sure you are prepared. Wear waterproof, warm clothing and suitable shoes. Carry a map and compass at all times, and let people know where you are going. The Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organization suggests that you carry a torch, whistle and a mobile phone. This way, you have a way of alerting people if you get into trouble. Always remember that the mountain tops are on average 48 °F (9 °C) colder than the valleys, so dress accordingly, and check the forecast with the Met Office prior to setting off.
While the streams and rivers that flow through Snowdonia look extremely inviting on a warm summer day, but they can quickly turn into a swift mass of water after a huge downpour. Even a slow moving river can be quite treacherous, due to the rocks on the river bed that may not be seen. Also, the water is quite cold, so beware!
Snowdonia is one of the few unspoiled areas left in the world, and in order to keep it in pristine condition, there is a saying: "If you carry it in, carry it out again, and minimize your impact on the environment". Always pick up your litter, and treat the countryside with care. Don't be tempted to bring home a little memento such as a piece of rock or other natural object, and respect the wildlife.
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Aber Falls; abseiling (2); Activities in Snowdonia tours; Adam and Eve monoliths; Adventure Activities; Anglesey; backpacker; Bala; Bangor; Barmouth; Beaumaris Castle; Beddeglert; Beddgelert; Beddgelert Path; Betws-y-Coed; Betwys-y-Coed; BHX (2); bike tour (6); Birmingham Airport; Black Cliff (The); Black Hole; Blaenau Ffestiniog; Britannia Bridge; Brittania Bridge; Caernarfon; Caernarfon Castle; Cambrian Coast Line; canoeing (3); Cantilever Stone; Cardigan Bay; Carneddau; Carneddau range; castle (7); castles (2); cave (4); chasm; Cliff (5); cliffs (3); climbing (9); Clogwyn Du'r Arddu; Clough Williams-Ellis; Coed y Brenin; Coed y Brenin Forest; Colwyn River; Conservation area (5); Conwy; Conwy River; Conwy Vally Line; Craig-y-Dderwen The Riverside Hotel; Cwm Idwal; cycling (4); Deep Mine; Deep Mine guided tour; Devil's Kitchen; Dolgellau; Dolwyddelan; driving tour (3); eco-tourism (3); Edward I; Elen's Castle Hotel; extreme thrills (3); fast changing weather; Ffestiniog Railway; Fishing (8); Forestry Commission; fortification (4); Freedom of Tryfan; Gatwick Airports; Gelert; Gelert's Grave; Glaslyn Gorge; Glaslyn River; Glyderau; Glyderau mountains; Glyderau Range; Glyder Fach; Glyder Fawr; Gwydyr Stables; Gwynedd; Hafod Eryri; Harlech; Harlech Castle; Heathrow Airport (3); High rainfall (3); Hiking (17); history (31); iron ring of castles; Isle of Anglesey; kayaking (4); Lake Padarn; lakes (2); Landscape (17); Leo Houlding; LGW (4); LHR (3); Llanberis; Llanberis Pass; Llanberis Path; Llandudno; Llanfair P.G; Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerchwyrndrobwlllantysiliogogogoch; Llechwedd Slate Caverns; Llechwydd Slate Caverns; Llewelyn; Llugwy River; Llyn Idwal; Llyn Peris Lake; MAN (2); Manchester Airport (2); Mawddach Estuary; Menai Straits; Menai Suspension Bridge; Men of Harlech; Met Office; Miners' Tramway; Moel Siabod; Moors (2); Mountain (16); mountain biking (2); Mount Snowdon; National Cycle Network; National Express (3); National Heritage Site; National Nature Reserve; National Park (11); National Trust (4); Natural wonders (14); North Wales; Off the beaten path (8); Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organization; Outdoor and adventure (9); Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri; Pen-y-Pass; Pont-y-Pair Bridge; pony trekking (3); Porthmadog; Portmeirion; Prince Llewelyn the Great; Pyg and Miners track; railway; Rheilffordd Ffestiniog; River (4); River Colwyn; River Conwy; River Glaslyn; River Llugwy; rivers; Robert Stephenson; Rocky Valley; Royal town of Caernarfon; Royal Victoria Hotel; Scenic routes (10); SerenVentures; Siabod Mountain; Sinister Gully; Sir Clough Williams-Ellis; Site of Special Scientific Interest (3); Snowdon; Snowdonia Hawkweed; Snowdonia National Park; Snowdonia Outdoor; Snowdon Lily; Snowdon Mountain Railway; Snowdon Ranger track; Snowdon Sherpa Bus; SSSI (4); St. Mary's church; St. Tysilio's church; Summit Visitor Centre; suspension bridge; Swallow Falls; Tarw Trail; Thomas Telford; Tremadog Bay; Tryfan; Tryweryn Centre; Twll Du; UNESCO (9); UNESCO World Heritage Site (19); United Kingdom (7); Vale of Ffestiniog; Victorian Slate Miners; Victorian Village; Wales (3); walking (4); Waterloo Bridge; Water sport (6); Watkins Path; Welsh 3000s; Welsh 3000s Challenge; Welsh slate mining; Western Europe (3); wetlands (2); Whitewater rafting (3); Y Garn; Yr Wyddfa
Activities In Snowdonia
Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri - Snowdonia National Park Authority
Beddgelert, Snowdonia, North Wales
Betws-y-Coed Accommodation and Information for Snowdonia and North Wales
Birmingham Airport Car Hire |
(mentioned 2 times on Naviquan)
Caernarfon Tourist Information
Climbing, Scrambling, Trekking and Navigation in Snowdonia
Conwy County Borough Website
Craig-y-Dderwen Riverside Hotel, Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia, North Wales
Croeso i wefan Cyngor Gwynedd - Gwynedd Council website
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
Forestry Commission, United Kingdom
Gatwick Airport - Parking, Hotels, Flight Information & Duty Free
Heathrow Airport |
(mentioned 2 times on Naviquan)
Horse riding in Snowdonia near Betws-y-Coed, North Wales
Hotel Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed, North Wales
Legacy Hotels & Resorts |
(mentioned 2 times on Naviquan)
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
National Express Coaches - Coach, Rail & Bus Travel in UK |
(mentioned 3 times on Naviquan)
National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables |
(mentioned 3 times on Naviquan)
Official Portmeirion village web site
Outdoor Adventure Activities in Snowdonia
Snowdonia Green Key
Snowdonia Outdoor: Hill walking, rock climbing and outdoor activities in Snowdonia, North Wales
Snowdon Mountain Railway - a train journey to the Summit of Snowdon
The Cambrian Lines
The Welsh 3000s Challenge
Traveline Cymru - public transport information service for Wales |
(mentioned 2 times on Naviquan)
UK Met Office: Weather and climate change
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Virgin Trains - train tickets online & train times
Whitewater Rafting and Adventure Activity Holiday Breaks at The National Whitewater Centre
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