Climbing Snowdon in March or April
My friend and I are planning to come to Snowdonia to hopefully walk to the summit of Snowdon.
We are both novice walkers and have no experience of climbing.
We were planning to come in March/April 2005. We would be hoping to arrive on Friday night and complete the walk throughout Saturday. I assume this is possible?
Could you advise us on a
1) Public transport from London to Snowdonia.
2) Places to stay (eg B&b/Hotels in the close vicinity)
3) Suitable walking routes
4) Weekends to avoid because of congestion
5) Weather conditions
Your advice would be much appreciated
Mark Lancaster, London
A. The easiest* way up Snowdon is via the Llanberis Path - which starts (not surprisingly) from Llanberis in Gwynedd, Wales.
For the route up - see Walks gw126 gw158 gw186 NB Both these walks detail an alternative (longer) route back down which visit neighbouring mountain tops - but you can easily retrace your upward route back down if you prefer.
To go straight up and down is about 15km (9 1/2 miles) with 1024m (3359ft) of Ascent. It is certainly 'do-able' as a day walk and should take a reasonably fit person around 7 hrs - longer if you are not used to walks of this nature.
The best (nearest) place to stay is Llanberis - and wait for a long summer weekend - preferably one with good dry sunny weather.
NB. Since Snowdon is the highest point in both England and Wales - the top is often shrouded in mist.
Even on a good day, expect a considerable temperature difference with it cooler at the top compared with the warmer Llanberis. Wear walking boots, carry some warm clothing and take plenty of water.
This link showing some photos of the walking routes up Snowdon should help you choose which one is best for you.
See Hill Skills for information detailing what to take and what to wear.
Public Transport is a bit harder to track down - the nearest National Network Railway Station is Betws-y-Coed (pronounced 'Better see Coy-ed'). See The National Rail Enquiries web site for train times from London.
You will have to get a local bus (or taxi) from this station - see this Travel Search site for more information.
With respect to which weekend to pick - every weekend of the year is very busy - particularly if the weather is good. This is a very popular walk and you will not be alone.
See this link Climbing Snowdon in August for more information about routes up Snowdon, some photos from the mountain and what to to take and wear.
Hope this helps
*Actually, the easiest way up Snowdon is aboard the The Snowdon Mountain Railway which runs from Llanberis all the way to the summit and back again - but this isn't walking to the summit so doesn't count!