5 hours there and back
Papa has always wanted to climb Snowdon. As a born and bread Welsh lady, Mrs. Mac was slightly ashamed of the fact that she had so far avoided the experience. So over Easter they decided that it would be a good thing to do.
They were staying in lovely Aberporth for the week, but it’s a good 3 hours up to Snowdonia, so they decided they’d stay the night somewhere nearby. They had very happy memories of the Pen y Gwryd hotel from a stay about 20 years ago, and so decided that it would be nice to return. Pen y Gwryd has its own unique character. It was where the Everest team back in the early 1950s went to practise ready for the Everest ascent. They have all sorts of memorabilia in the cosy bar area and it still has a strong following amongst climbers and walkers. If you are into luxury and ensuite bathrooms, then DON’T STAY THERE. Now that is clear, everybody else will love it. Rooms are still wood chipped but clean and comfortable. No mini bar, no TV, wifi or even locks on the doors. All this makes it quite a haven away from modern living. It is situated about 5 minutes drive from the PYG and Miner’s pass at the foot of Snowdon, so you can imagine the glorious views.
At 7.30pm the gong chimes and guests file into the dining room – all white table cloths and silver cutlery. A short menu is presented and food comes quickly. There is a slight feeling of boarding school about all this – which is quite comforting in a way. This feeling continues at 8.30 when the breakfast gong goes and porridge or kippers are served.
If you want to get a parking space at the foot of Snowdon near the start of the PYG or Miner’s passes, go early as it was full provigil when the Papa family arrived at 10am. Fortunately there was a space a little further down the road. Going up Snowdon was in some ways easier than expected as there is a clear path and the Miner’s route is flat for a fair distance before become quite a steep “climb” up big rocks. Climb is in inverted commas as there were lots of older people doing it and a number of people with small children – so not really a big climb. The views, on this clear and sunny day were absolutely stunning – it was like being in a scene from the Hobbit. Chrystal clear lakes, dramatic mountain slopes – all bathed in the sunshine.
The summit, somewhat disappointingly is a built up platform and there were lots of people standing on it. As there are six or seven routes up to the top, people came from all directions. There is a train and cafe on the top – but fortunately it was closed or it would have been even busier. Nevertheless, the views are amazing and the feeling of achievement definitely makes it all worth it.
The Papa family decided to take the PYG route back which was pretty steep and tough on the (older) knees, but much quicker. They met one family that had been at the Pen y Gwryd the previous night who said they’d been up five times and this was the first time they’d seen the summit, as it is so often hidden by clouds.
Having not been very organised with food or picnics (bit surprising as they own a deli), the Papa family searched for somewhere nice to eat, finally descending on a Little Chef (the only place they could find) and filled themselves up before the 3 hour drive back, feeling that they had really done something with their day.