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Snowdonia Peaks

Monday, 3 September 2012

Snowdon Horseshoe 1st september 2012

This is one walk that my daughter Terri had been looking forward to doing for some time and we had put it off a couple of times this year because of the weather. It wasn't until Friday evening about 6.30 that it was decided that Saturday was going to be the day. As my car is off the road for sometime it was decided that if I took Jill to work at 5am then I could have the her car for the day. So, up at 4.30, into Manchester at 5.20 and then off we go. A quick stop off at Plas y Brenin for a photo of my favourite view of the Snowdon Horseshoe showing us the promise of a great day ahead then parked up at Pen y Pass for 7.30am.

Now I don't usually pay £10 to park the car here but as it was such an early start and I had my daughter with me I swallowed me pride and coughed up the fine as it was going to be a long day in the mountains and on the road. A complete rip off especially given the state of the toilets!!! I wonder who gets the tenner everyone puts in the fine box, because they could certainly use some of it to clean up the facility's that's for sure!! Rant over.
So we get going about 7.45 on a good sunny warm and quite clear morning. There was a bit of low cloud knocking about but nothing to heavy as we made our way up the slog that is the Pyg Track towards the East face of Crib Goch

As we got higher, a quick look back shows us the clouds rolling in off Moel Siabod and the lower reaches of the Glyderau Mountain Range

This first section of the Pyg Track is no favourite of mine, although there are some good views to be had of the Pen y Pass and down to Llanberis and across to the Glyders, so it was with much relief when we finally came out at the top where the paths meet and the whole of the horseshoe was laid out in front of us
 This is where we turned right and made our way up onto the East Face of Crib Goch for the first of the day's climb and where I noticed that the English spelt warning sign has disappeared from the ladder style!

We were making good steady progress in the excellent conditions and it seemed that all the clouds were further down the valley back towards Capel Curig and beyond. There certainly seemed to be some serious inversions going on as we enjoyed the best of the warm sun

 It was certainly good going and we were able to be right on the spine of the ascent ridge as it was perfectly dry and at this point there was only a hint of wind making it ideal to enjoy this first early part of the climb. It was also very quiet with not a lot of people about at this time. Most seemed to be taking the more gentle lower Pyg & Mines Paths far below us

The weather was certainly a big bonus for us and the views when we got to the top of the ascent and looked out over our entire route laid out before us from the start of the Crib Goch crossing were a sight to enjoy for a while. We rested here for a while as there was a party of 5 infront of us so we decided to let a bit of space open up between us before making our way across

I have done this crossing about 7 times, all last year, and this was the first time that I had seen all the route laid out infront of me. There is usually low cloud over all, or part of the way. For Terri, this is her first time so she must of bought some of her lucky charm with her as it was certainly a view to savour. The wind had picked up a notch but not enough to put us in any danger. We were looking forward to the ridge walk and I gave Terri all the encouragement and advice that was needed to make sure we enjoyed it to the maximum. And enjoy it we did as we made our way to the summit of Crib Goch which at 923metres high, is the 14th highest summit in Wales

It was turning out to be a great day as we made our way across the ridge with some great views of the surrounding mountains and down to the blue lake of Glaslyn far below with a bit of cloud hiding Snowdon summit from our view

We had come across Crib Goch with flying colours and on looking back, there were one or two others enjoying the near perfect conditions

We were already looking forward to our next climb of the day which would see us reaching the 2nd summit of the day, Crib y Ddysgl, which is the second highest summit in Wales @ 1065metres, and offered good views all round.

Snowdon, behind us, was still all clear of cloud as we got to the trig point

After a well deserved break here, it was time to join the mass of people making there way to the summit of Snowdon from all the various paths and those that chose to come up on the Mountain Train.  
 This was the last of the good views as we got to the "finger post" that marks the descent path of the Pyg Track, seen below Crib y Ddysgl & Crib Goch, with the Miners Path running along the shores of Glaslyn & Llyn Llydaw

After posing for the summit photo, we took advantage of the summit cafe to have a warming hot chocolate, our packed lunch and have a bit of shelter from the now strong winds. No views were to be had from here as the cloud had now rolled in which was a shame as up till now it had been clear all day!

There was the odd glimpse of a view when the mist parted for a minute or two just to get a quick photo of the Pyg & Miners paths below our crossing of a now misty Crib Goch

After our lunch stop it was the next step of the horseshoe and the dreaded descent of the Watkins Path. Now I say dreaded as this part is no fun IMO as it is a steep loose scree path that requires more attention than any other part of the route. When I see the faces of the people coming up this way, and there was quite a few, I think to myself that they must of committed some sort of crime and its their punishment to climb Snowdon by this route! Luckily for us we were only going part way down to Bwlch Ciliau where we were to start the next and final climb of the day that takes us onto our final summit and the twin peaks of Y Lliwedd

most of the views had gone but when the clouds did part there was some quite clear views down towards Llyn Llydaw and the rock face of Y Lliwedd

 As we started our final climb and made it to the summit, the mist rolled in again and stayed there until we made our way down.

There was a few glimpses of the sun but by now the cloud was ruling the skies and also the wind was quite strong but not cold. As we made our way down there was no sign of any summits we had just completed

 As we got towards the bottom of the path and joined the Miners Path on the shore of Llyn Lydaw, the wind was making waves as the view was now looking quite moody

The views down towards Plas y Brenin was still good and clear despite the cloudy skies

We got back to the car at 3.30pm, so a good eight hours doing this most fantastic walk, in, for the most part, fantastic weather. A quick stop off at Plas y Brenin for the after walk photo shows how much the weather had changed since 7.30am!

We got home about 6pm and had a 'chippy tea'. A quick shower and change then the pub for a well earned pint or two.
What a great day and just what the doctor ordered ;-)
A short video showing the views from Crib Goch & Lliwedd



  1. The horseshoe is a great walk, must have been fantastic to share it with your daughter. I'm hopefully taking mine on her first wild camp soon, she is very excited. I know what you mean about the £10 rip off car park.
    The picture of the cloud rolling in over Moel Siabod showing inversions is superb.

  2. Cheers Phil. It was a top day out and enjoyed to the max despite the weather change. Wild camping, what i want to do next year sometime. Have a good one