By: Blonde One
So, here’s the blog (eventually) about the walk up to the top of Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon.
Mr Blonde One and I started at the bottom of the Pyg Trail with some impressive views of the peaks ahead and the valley below. We were soon to lose this amazing view for almost the rest of the day! The Pyg Trail is known as the most challenging of the usual tracks up the mountain and begins quite harmlessly with some steps cut into the hillside. The path is clearly waymarked and, although steep, it is fairly easy going.
As the path gets higher you get some amazing views of Llyn Llydaw with its causeway below and the Miner’s Trail. Upon returning home I’ve discovered that before this causeway was built the horses and carts carrying the copper from the mines crossed the lake via a raft. After a death of a horse the causeway was built in 1853, but before this could happen it had to be partly drained. Much like Dartmoor’s own Fernworthy reservoir, this one had some interesting relics at its bottom. A 10ft prehistoric oak canoe was found.
At its steepest the Pyg trail pretty much disappears in places. The only thing telling us where to go was the string of other people going up and down! The going was tough from where the Miner’s Trail and Pyg Trail meet. Some points required some scrambling; luckily there were lots of handholds. The ice did impede our journey once we got to a certain height but it didn’t make it impossible.
The track all the way had various points of interest to keep us from focussing too much on the aching leg muscles, lack of view, and difficult terrain. I don’t know what the history is behind the wooden ‘Penny Posts’ in the photo, but there were two of them completely covered in copper coins that had been pushed into the wood. They were fascinating. The people that we met too were chatty and helpful. There was a broad mix of types of people: we met the experienced mountaineer who had clearly done this mountain numerous times, we met groups of young men with experience of mountains but not this one, we met family groups and we met complete novices.
After two and a half hours of fairly hard slog we made it to the top: all 1085 meters of it. We couldn’t see a thing but the journey was well worth the climb. It was quite busy at the top so we retreated to a bit lower down to enjoy our sandwiches and coffee.
We decided to take the Miner’s Trail back down and were really pleased that we did. The path down was steep and slippery, and we soon found ourselves at the level of Glaslyn, the smaller and higher lake and once again we could see more than 2 meters in front of us! The views returned and we saw some impressive vistas. Unfortunately the tops of the peaks were still firmly shrouded in fog.
Along the edge of the lakes we found some interesting horizontal lines of quartz embedded into the rock. It looked almost man-made, it was so straight a line. We also came across the ruins of the copper mine and crushing mill at the edge of the lake.
Finally we returned to the car park, 6 hours after we left it, feeling tired but exhilarated.