A few weeks ago, the extended family decided that they wanted to summit Snowdon. Aside from finding a date that suited everyone, the toughest challenge was trying to do it in a way that catered for everyone; many wanted to walk it while others, due to age, felt it was a step too far. The ages of the group ranged from 5 to 68 so we needed a route that allowed some to walk it and others to summit via the train and join the rest of us on the walk down.
As it was a family trip, it was important that we had a starting point for the whole group rather than two separate ones for the walkers and non-walkers. Normally, when I climb Snowdon, I start from the car park at Pen-y-Pass but for this, we decided that everyone would start from Llanberis.
There are several carparks in Llanberis that cost around £5 for the day. These are opposite the train station and next door to the Electric Mountain Visitor Centre . If you want to cut costs, free parking is available a 10 minute walk up the road at Llanberis Lagoons
The more senior members of the group and the youngsters caught the train and would take it to Clogwyn, about two thirds of the way up the mountain, and walk the remaining mile to meet us at the summit. The rest of us caught the Snowdon Sherpa bus opposite the station up to Pen y Pass.
A single costs £2 and the bus timetables can be found here. Heading up one of the most picturesque roads in the UK on a double decker loaded with walkers is quite an experience.
BUS TIP –
The bus stop is opposite the train station. You cannot pay for the bus by card but don’t worry, there’s an ATM a stone’s throw away, on the right hand side of the EM Visitor Centre’s front door.
At Pen-y-Pass, we opted for the Pyg Track route up Snowdon; a far more interesting and engaging ascent than the Miners Track. The Pyg provides some stunning views down towards Llanberis and the sea but also of the lakes at the foot of Snowdon. As a route, it’s not a difficult one at all, especially if you take regular stops along the way, but it provides enough challenge to give walkers a sense of adventure.
We kept in regular contact with the other group so that we would meet at the top of the Pyg Track where it joined the Llanberis path and walk to the summit together. I should point out that for some, taking the train all the way to the summit is advisable as the final third can be quite a tough walk for those who are very young or struggle with walking ascents. Depending on what time of year you do this walk, it’s also worth checking whether the Summit Visitor Centre is open. Fantasising about tea and cake at the summit after a climb and discovering it’s closed is not something you want to do. Take it from someone who’s made that rookie mistake.
The whole group walked down the Llanberis path together but some of the younger kids were flagging a little so decided to catch the train back down from Clogwyn. This is a good back up plan if you tackle this route as the walk down can take a couple of hours.
The Llanberis path is a straightforward one with a gradual descent. There’s also a brilliant cafe at the half way point on the way down but again, like its summit counterpart, it has seasonal/weather dependent opening times so don’t finish all your supplies on the way down in the hope it’ll definitely be open.
The path brings you out on the main road right next to the station and those walking should arrive roughly at the same time as those who caught the train.
If you’re looking for a day out that caters for a mixed ability group who want to summit Snowdon in different ways then this is the perfect route to do it. Everyone gained something from the day and all left feeling they’d achieved something and that no one was left out, regardless of the method they got to the top or back down.
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