Taking on Wales’ tallest peak
A South Carolinian stumbles into a quaint bar somewhere in Northern England. Well, well, isn’t this the set-up for a hilarious punchline! After braving my initial weeks in Stafford, I suddenly feel an overwhelming itch to flee the town. But as a foreigner, I’m as clueless as a kangaroo in a cricket match when it comes to picking a destination. And, naturally, when you find yourself in England, the ultimate oracle of knowledge is none other than a cozy bar.
For my grand escapade, I embarked on a weekend adventure to the delightful village of Betws-y-coed in North Wales. Population? A whopping 500 souls. Betws-y-coed is nestled right in the heart of Snowdonia, where Wales may not boast the tallest mountain peaks in the world, but boy, does it still offer a good ol’ challenge for hikers. So, off I went, marching uphill and testing the limits of my poor unsuspecting calf muscles.
It also has charming waterfalls.
But seriously, what brought me to Snowdonia National Park was the majestic Mount Snowdon, and boy, did it live up to the hype! You see, I like to consider myself a tough cookie when it comes to hiking. I daydream about conquering the Appalachian Trail or tackling epic treks like Aconcagua and Denali. But let’s face it, in reality, I’ve mostly done some overnight camping and the occasional day hike. Scaling peaks? Not exactly my expertise. However, back when I spent a whole summer in Great Britain, I was a fearless 19-year-old college athlete who believed she could conquer anything. And by anything, I mean attempting to climb mountains with zero preparation and only the bare minimum of supplies. Ah, the good old days!
Well, well, well! Take a look at those fancy little squiggles! Can you believe that’s the hiking path? Quite a sight, I must say. It’s a bit on the narrow side, and dare I say, a tad bit spooky the higher up you go. Little did I know that these peaks double as ski paths during the winter. Talk about a dual-purpose destination! Had I known what I was getting myself into, I might have been perfectly happy spending the entire day lounging by the lake. But alas, here I am, conquering the heights with squiggles and all. Life’s full of surprises, isn’t it?
Tips for Climbing Mount Snowdon
Entrance to the park is a whopping 0 pounds. Yep, it’s 100% free! Yep, you read that right. Zero dollars, nada, zip. But hold on, there’s a catch. It’ll cost you to park your car. Don’t sweat it though. Some fancy schmancy B&Bs offer shuttles to the park. So, if you can manage to snag one of those shuttles, guess what? The total cost is F-R-E-E. Who doesn’t love a sweet deal like that?
Now, let me drop some wisdom on you. When you venture up to the summit, make sure to bring lots and lots of layers. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Even in late June, it can get quite chilly up there. Picture this: you, shivering on the summit, regretting your life choices because you only packed a light windbreaker, a long-sleeved shirt, and a baseball hat. Yeah, not so smart, huh? Lesson learned: pack a water-resistant parka, some gloves, and a hat to keep yourself snug as a bug.
Pro tip: Go for the climb on a clear day. Your photos will be breathtaking! I got lucky, purely by chance. Turns out, the weather at the bottom of a mountain is not exactly a prophecy for the weather at the top. Who would’ve thought, right? So, save yourself from misty camera shots and go for that clear sky.
Oh, and don’t forget your survival kit. Snacks, water, and for me, ibuprofen are absolutely crucial. I might have learned this the hard way, but hey, at least you can learn from my mistakes. I went up there with just 1 liter of water, a few power bars, and some fruits. And guess what? I had zero painkillers. Needless to say, I regretted it. After stumbling back to my room, I curled up into a pathetic little ball. But thanks to a couple of hot showers and a hefty dose of motrin, I could finally walk like a normal person again.
Last but not least, believe in yourself! Before I embarked on this adventure, I never doubted my abilities. Did I do any research beforehand? Nah, why bother? I just heard about it and thought, “Hey, that sounds pretty cool!” And let me tell
This is the tallest peak in Wales. If someone had given me a heads-up that I’d be taking on a precarious ridge, I would have definitely thought twice before embarking on this crazy adventure. You see, graceful balance has never really been my thing. But hey, who needs to be nimble when you can stumble your way to victory, right?Climbing Snowdon is absolutely worth it. This is one of best adventures in Wales, and one that I’ll always remember.
Be prepared for anything when you are hiking in the Welsh mountains. The weather can change in an instant.
The view from the highest peak in Wales–will simply take your breath.
The Climb by Miley Cyrus serves as inspiration for this post.