A Snowdon circular

Two weeks today, I will be in the foothills of Mount Kenya and heading upwards.  Today’s walk was intended to test out a pair of boots which I may use in Kenya and also to see whether all my effort in the gym has made me even halfway fit enough to climb a 17,000 feet mountain.

I parked at the Rhyd Ddu carpark and, at first, followed the Rhyd Ddu path but ignored the Yr Wyddfa sign and kept going East for another couple of km before climbing up the South ridge.  This had seemed a good idea when I was planning the walk, but I was starting to remember my dislike of scrambling (and falling off mountains), so I was a little nervous of just how scrambly and razor-sharp the ridge was.  Luckily, the visibility was so poor I could barely see the drop to the right, so my fears didn’t get the better of me.  (Maybe I’ll tackle Crib Goch next time the cloud is low!)

Halfway across Bwlch Main I decided that my Micro-spikes would be better on my boots than in my pack, although they didn’t add much traction on the soft slippy snow.

Driving to Snowdonia, the views had been quite clear and I’d seen beautiful snow-dappled peaks.  Of course, by the time I got there, the cloud had closed in and I only glimpsed occasional peeks at the peaks.  I had seen Hafod Eryri, through a break in the cloud, when I was still about 30 minutes walk away.  I next saw it when I was about 3 feet away from it!

There were quite a few people at the top, including the usual mix of jeans and inappropriate foorwear, although I know they hadn’t come up on the train (as it wasn’t running) so maybe I was just overdressed?  There being no shelter, apart from the lee of the caff wall, I didn’t hang around before heading downhill again via the Snowdon Ranger route.  The thick snow at the top, coupled with the cloud, meant that it wasn’t obvious where the path was, but I guessed that a huge stone was probably a path-marker and I turned out to be right.

I’d come up the Snowdon Ranger path last time I visited Snowdon and it was tempting to have a dig around to see if I could find the Laser Competition toothpicks tent pegs which I’d unwillingly left behind.  That was such a windy night, whereas today was quite calm.

Anyone who has walked in the area will know how much the landscape is shaped by slate quarrying.  There are lots of ruined buildings and it’s obvious that the mountain has been heavily worked in the past. One of the footpaths I used was signposted up and over a spoil heap!

I wondered what this construction was for.  At first I assumed it was some sort of sheep dip, as there was a gap at the bottom at the far end, but I think it’s far more likely to be connected to quarrying.  In the photo, you should be able to make out two holes on each side, so maybe some machinery was mounted there?  Any ideas?

Today’s walk was just under 16km with around 900m of ascent.  Time taken: just under 7 hours.  Oh, the boots passed the test.  As for my fitness, well there’s still time to work on that!


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13 Responses to A Snowdon circular

  1. JJ says:

    Mount Kenya eh? Is that in the Monadhliath or the Cairngorms?

    Have a brill time!



  2. Stewart Brady says:

    The structure will be a wheel pit for housing a waterwheel.


  3. AlanR says:

    Judith, You never said how you got on with the boots and which ones you were trying out. What a great trip coming up. Is that with the organisation you are with or off your own back?
    It will be good training for the Challenge won’t it. I’m looking forward to the posts already.

    Can i suggest an alternative to Stewarts waterwheel. Not for one minute i am saying the waterwheel is wrong btw.
    The miners built structures similar to this and installed large drums of coiled wire. They were used to pull up and lower the slate sledges. Just a suggestion.


    • Judith says:

      Hi Alan. Are you still on your far-flung travels? (I’ve got such a big blog-reading backlog).
      The Kenya trip came about when I got chatting with someone I was on a course with. I think there are about a dozen of us, although I’ve only met one!
      The boots are Regatta, I think. They were cheap in TK Max and seemed to fit the bill ie lightweight, waterproof and comfy. Slight heel lift was sorted with my Superfeet Blues. I’ll be taking my Inov-8 Terrocs too.
      A wire drum? Yes, that seems feasible too. I should have taken more photos of the surrounding area to help figure out what the contraption was for.


  4. Alan R says:

    No, back to reality now unfortunately. Every year i hate the winters more. It may sound daft but i like the snow and even camping out in it but it’s the continuous cold and short days i hate.
    Can’t beat 20 degrees or there abouts in my book.

    That was a stroke of luck meeting the person going on the trip. Not many of us will get a chance to do that.


  5. Carl Mynott (@Locomountaineer) says:

    That’s an evocative photo Judith, looks ever so alpine.

    Take it you didn’t find the toothpicks, then?

    All the best.



    • Judith says:

      Hi Carl. The memories of repegging my tent in a storm in the middle of the night came flooding back and I decided to give those pegs as a peace offering to the mountain! As for the photo at the top of the page, I was pleased and surprised to see that there was a hill there when the mist cleared for a few minutes; a typical Snowdonia day.


  6. alan.sloman says:

    Enjoyed that! Thanks Judith. So much easier reading about hill walking rather than getting outside…


  7. Laura says:

    Your trip sounds exciting – hope you have a really good time! I’m looking forward to reading all about it on one of those ‘nights in with the blogs’!
    See you in May!


    • Judith says:

      Hi Laura. If I can get a phone signal I shall try “tweeting” @aroundthehills and maybe even blogging while I am there. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy my trip and have a week away from all the gadgets?!


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