8th August 2009
I was staying at Gwynant campsite in order to prepare me for an early start on an ascent of Snowdon. I was walking at 05:50 and heading along Llyn Gwynant towards the start of The Watkin Path. It's a really good, low level, short walk along the lake towards Beddgelert, if ever you fancy it....
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
This is a view of the campsite, taken the evening before
Gwynant campsite is a very busy place and it was not easy finding a dry pitch after recent heavy rain. The facilities are acceptable, on balance, I won't be coming back in a hurry due to the sheer volume of folk about. A little splash of red reveals my position on the 'site.
Sleepy Campsite 05:52
The first couple of miles are on the level heading towards Beddgelert and the start of The Watkin Path.
Old mineworkings on The Watkin Path
I really enjoy visiting sites of industrial heritage and the early part of this route has plenty on offer.
On The Watkin Path
The Gladstone Rock
Much of the next hour or so was spent in cloud as the path ascended steeply.
A glimpse of Glaslyn before the final push up Snowdon
I left the campsite at 05:50 and reached the top at 09:40, to my disappointment, the last 1,000ft or so was in cloud. Summit views were non-existent; the cafe was open and I had a cuppa and bacon butty. Three-peakers were in evidence and I overheard a marshall relaying a message down the fell revealing her concerns about the preparedness of some of the participants. I decided to walk down to Llanberis, knowing quite well that I could find a way back to Gwynant.
Walkers on The Llanberis Path
Crowds heading for the summit of Snowdon as Llanberis Lake comes into view.
Congestion on the Snowdon Mountain Railway
Refuelling at Llanberis Yard
The time now is 14:45. I've been in Llanberis for some time, had a bite of lunch, put my feet up in a bar and decided to go back to Snowdon summit by train to enjoy the anticiapted cloud-free afternoon views. So I was waiting for my train, all seats have to be booked in advance and availabilty is limited at peak times.
In the Summit Cafe
Far too many folk in the cafe. I had just arrived by train and the summit was still in cloud. The time is 15:45 and I now had to choose another route down. It was to be The Miners Track.
Combined Pyg and Miners Tracks
Walkers descend Snowdon
Glaslyn and Copper Mines
I had descended through the old mining area and then walked alone around the back of the lake.
I had been on top of this ridge earlier in the day and now the cloud was lifting.
Walking around Llyn Llydaw
It's a great walk down The Miner's Track to Pen-Y-Pass and once I had reached P-Y-P and found that there were no more buses down the valley, it was a case of best foot forward again.
The route down and you can see the Beddgelert to Capel Curig road
The Power Station
Evening View of Gwynant Campsite 19:40
So, here I am about 14hrs after leaving the tent. I sort of collapsed and had an early night. I resolved to return to Snowdon again soon and find the top without cloud, wishful thinking?
Walkers: Just Me
Time taken: 14hrs, distance not determined
Route: Gwynant campsite, The Watkin Route, Snowdon summit, Llanberis Path, Llanberis, Snowdon Mountain Railway, Snowdon summit, The Miners Track, Pen-Y-Pass, Gwynant campsite.
Weather and conditions: Variable, cloudy up top, pleasant everywhere else, not too hot.
Greetings Count: Very High, the peace of the ascent was shattered and never recovered after reaching the top.
Richard's Refreshment Review: The Summit Cafe is very good and can serve a lot of people quickly. The link is to an article of interest about the new cafe building project.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2009 ©