Hiking: Llanberis – My First Time Conquering Snowdon

A year or so ago, if you would have told me that I was climbing Snowdon I would have laughed (cried).  But actually a few Sundays ago I did indeed climb Snowdon and I made it to the top! I can’t tell you how proud I feel of myself.

Yes – this is me!

Originally, we had planned to hike the Pyg path but due to bad cloud coverage we were warned off from doing it so we chose the Llanberis route instead.    The rain had been heavy at the start of our 8 am journey but thankfully as we moved through counties it stopped. Still the sky grey, it looked unpredictable and we were hoping that despite packing waterproofs, it would stay dry.

Once we got there, we paid £7.00 to park (all day) and did a last minute loo and drink stop. The Llanberis route has a few cafes and shops in town which is perfect if you need any drinks or food.  We headed out of the town and did a right which brought us up to a VERY steep tarmac road.

I later learnt that is not even the start of the path, it’s just the bit leading up to it but boy my calves did not like it!

The actual start of the Llanberis route was OK. It’s a sturdy path with a few steep inclines made up of large rocks. It was nice to stop for a moment or two to take pictures and admire the scenery but with a three hour journey ahead of us, we had to keep a constant pace.  It eventually started to level out which was a welcomed feeling on the legs and we stopped off to greet a horse grazing in the vast landscape. He was friendly and looked glad to see us – it must be a very peaceful but a lonely existence on these mountains. I  probably should have inserted a picture of me making friends with the horse  but I feel you can’t cope with my hiking hair…. ! Or maybe I can’t.

Llanberis, Snowdon

The weather stayed dry and although grey, it was pleasant. It got hotter as the journey progressed with a forecast of 100% humidly yet it was 1 degree on top!     I’m super glad that I wore a beanie hat and shades to keep the wind out of my ears and eyes.  I’ll be writing a kit list at some point soon for anyone thinking about hiking up Snowdon.


The views were just sensational – grassy mountains with clear running streams and waterfalls.  The colours were a feast for the eyes and they got even better the higher we went.   The great thing about the Llanberis path is that it has a café over half way up. Stocked full of sweets, chocolate, water and sarnies – it’s a welcomed treat.


Me being me and very thirsty decided to guzzle my water in one go. I was sternly told by the café assistant  that they didn’t provide tap water and would have to charge me for a bottle. Of course I didn’t have my purse on me and thankfully had friends to sub me!  The moral of the story is don’t expect the natural world resources to be free – someone will always be making a profit out of them.

And actually, when you’re dehydrated you should:

  1. Never get yourself into that state
  2. Keep hydrated by drinking small sips constantly
  3. Drink slowly

Naughty me!

After a lovely cheese and pickle sarnie, we all sat outside and fended off the seagulls, tightened up of our boots, put more clothes on as it was getting colder ( I was getting hotter and taking more off!) and we carried on.

snowdon pools

Up until this point, the hike was moderate for me. I had no doubt that I could make it to the top until I hit the first proper incline. It was a monster!  The top of it was covered in clouds and the black shadows of the mountains cascaded around the lower parts. It looked scary; especially as the sky was getting darker.

Still it stayed dry.

The air now thinner, I took small steps and tried to ignore the dull ache in my legs. I distracted myself by talking to fellow hikers including a group of guys doing the three peaks challenge for charity. They’d done Ben Nevis the night before and I felt very lazy!  I watched the trains pass by and waved to waving children and said hello to other red in the face hikers – I was trying to enjoy the surrounding views. It was hard not too – I was in awe but I was tired too.

Snowdon Train
The first big monster climb is just after this bridge!

However this part of the mountain was not kind on my legs at all and I began to suffer with cramp in my thighs. It felt harder to breathe and a one point I considered going back down but I mentally cried ‘I’ve not come this far to go back down’ and so I marched (hobbled) on.    The vegan chocolate bar that I was carrying in my packed lunch motivated me to one of the big corners where we’d planned to sit and rest.

It’s amazing what chocolate can get you to do!

I must admit, I did not like that section of Snowdon, it felt like it went on forever and I was so envious of the people coming down.  Yet after a sit down, a munch and a bit of rest I was ready to go.  Now the cloud had settled around us and it was hard to see what was in front of us – I’m glad that I had my hiking sticks to guide me. The air was cold yet I was still hot and reluctantly put on my windproof jacket to stop it turning into a cold sweat.

I could just make out the edges yet I didn’t feel as though I was 1085 m up because the cloud lulls you into a false sense of security.   Sound is a lot denser up here and you can’t hear much except for your own breathing. We continued the climb up large stone steps until we officially made it to the top where the summit was.

I felt marvellous albeit knackered, I was so chuffed!

Snowdon, LLanberis,Wales
This awesome guy got me up Snowdon safe & sound!

We took a half hour stop where we visited the café’s toilets, took pictures and I gobbled my pepper, avocado and hummus sandwiches – oh they tasted so good! It was a 9 mile hike which took us 6 hours and 20 minutes (with stops). The hike down was interesting as my feet were rubbing on my socks and you use a whole host of other muscles resulting in sore calves this week!

Can you believe someone got married on top of Snowdon on Sunday? The whole wedding party including bride in her dress walked up to the top!

So there you have it – my first time up Snowdon and I’m doing another route at the end of this month just because I’m a sucker for a good view or a thousand. Which reminds me, I’ve teamed up with Mountain Warehouse to try out some of their outdoor products which I’ll be testing out on my next Snowdon adventure and of course reviewing!

What have you achieved this month so far?

C L Haden


9 thoughts on “Hiking: Llanberis – My First Time Conquering Snowdon

  1. Can’t beat a good walk. Never done any of the Wales mountains but Snowden is on my list. Currently creeping my way through the Wainwrights in the Lake District (all 214 of em!!). I’ve found that the down is sometimes harder than the up. As you said it takes a different muscle group which for me ends up with a jelly legs effect!! Well done though, keep up the walking

    1. I had the pleasure of cycling around the Lake District early this year and wow it was amazing (albeit steep!!!) to be honest with such beauty there, there’s no rush to come up here! I do love Snowdon but I’m sure other less tourist spots are even better, so I’m on the search. Next year – Lake District is on my to-do. Where should I start?

      1. Where to start in the Lakes? Impossible to choose really, if you are a confident walker and can follow a map route, then you could go anywhere in the Lakes. The lakes can be busy and popular however I would always advise people going walking in the Lakes to start small and work up. A base in Grasmere or Ambleside allows great walks up Loughrigg Fell (via Loughrigg terrace) or Silver How (via Allen Bank) or even just a walk round Grasmere lake itself. Otherwise head for Keswick and climb Catbells (via Skelgill Bank) or Barrow (start from Braithwaite and head up to Barrow Door first). You can also look at books for guidance, Walking the Wainwrights by Stuart Marshall is good or the Wainwright guides themselves are brilliant. If you prefer websites then stridingedge.net is fantastic, with maps and photos of the walks (there’s also links on that website to other walking sites). Or you can ask, there’s a facebook page, “to climb the 214 fells wainwrights”, I’ve asked questions on there about routes, parking places, and views (I’ve read on your blog you like a view!!). Or ask me or likeminded people, I’ve only done 30 of the 214 but have a decent idea of what to expect on the ones I’m planning this year when I head up to the Western side. Hope this helps a bit.

      2. Fantastic thank you! Ah Keswick was the town that I stopped off at, it looks beautiful there. Wouldn’t mind doing some wild camping actually combine with those walks you mentioned. Thanks very much – I’m sure you’ll have a few questions from me nearer the time! X

      3. There’s some great wild camping spots in the Lakes. Plenty of tarns, such as Angle tarn above Patterdale, or Styhead tarn, Easedale tarn is a cracker of a spot or you could go for an early summer sunset view on Fleetwith Pike, where the sun sets along the Buttermere valley.

  2. I’ve always wanted to climb up Snowdon! I had the chance to a couple of months ago but I was busy unfortunately! The pictures you took are great as always and it looks like such a fun place to explore!

    As for what I’ve achieved this month so far, I’ve written over 4,000 words of my new book (yes, another one, haha!) which I’m quite chuffed about!

    Great post!


    1. Aww another time Liam, I think you’d really enjoy but make sure you prepare before hand as it is work out! Wow well done I’m super glad you’re keeping up with it. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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