One of the best things we’ve done this year, and something we’re all proud of, was to climb Mount Snowdon. We are keen walkers but it’s the first time we’d ever climbed a mountain, let alone with kids! 😂
Which route is best?
There are a number of routes up Snowdon, but we chose the Snowdon Ranger Path – this is because it was deemed suitable for kids but still offered us brilliant views across Snowdonia National Park as we climbed. Even right at the start of our trip, we were blessed with this gorgeous view…
Where do you start?
You start and end the walk at the Llyn Cwellyn Car Park, off the A4085. This is pay and display but it was only a couple of quid for the whole day. There’s a portaloo here but beware – when we washed our hands they smelled like stagnant water! Luckily we were able to wash them off in some streams along the way as it was awful. If you use the portaloo, opt for hand sanitiser instead! 😂
From the car park you cross the road and follow the path past an old farm house to begin the trail. The first part of the trail is a steepish zig zag, but after a while there’s a period of more gentle climbing before the hardest section of the walk begins.
What’s the trail like?
As I mentioned, the first part is fairly steep, and then there’s a nice section which is easier on the thighs, and passes streams and sheep in the fields. Don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security though, because once the accent properly starts the route can be quite hard work.
The pathway becomes really narrow in places, the stone underfoot is loose and there are some big steps up for little legs. The end of the route, for at least the last hour, is quite hard work and very steep. There’s a grassed area about halfway through the tricky part, so this is where we chose to have our lunch and rest the kids’ legs to break it up a bit. Not a bad view for lunch eh… 😉
Finn was tired but determined to finish, but Lola at this point was ready to give up. She took the last bit slowly and really pushed herself to finish the climb. We do a lot of walking and hill hiking as a family, but this was definitely the biggest challenge the kids have taken on and we were so proud that they completed it.
Who’s the climb suitable for?
Finn and Lola are aged 8 and 10 and, although it was tricky at times, the climb was certainly manageable for them. The last bit was tough, but they were perfectly happy heading back down and seemed to get a second wind. The next day, when Jay and I ached like mad, the kids acted like they hadn’t even climbed a mountain! 😂
In fact, after dinner on the day of the climb, they wanted to go and play in the park at the Holiday Park and were running around as normal – at this point Jay and I were exhausted! So, although they found the climb trickier, they definitely recovered a lot more easily than we did. I work out regularly, but my calves still ached for days!
Personally, I don’t think I would want to do the climb with a child younger than about 7 years old, and I think really small children would struggle enormously with the last section of the climb – it would be dangerous and hard work if you needed to carry them too.
I also think it would be a bit much for elderly people, or anyone unsteady on their feet, so for the older generation I would only tackle Snowdon if I was really active and fit. There’s also the option to get a train up the mountain three quarters of the way, so that might be a good option for those who want to see Snowdon without the climb, or to shorten the route.
How long did it take?
We stayed at Hafan y Mor Haven Holiday Park which was about 30 minutes drive away from Mount Snowdon. We wanted to leave ourselves plenty of time so that we would be back way before dark, so we woke up at 6.20am and by the time we’d got organised and driven there we started our climb not long after 8am.
I’d pre-packed our backpacks before we’d left home from Kent, so that they were organised. We climbed the mountain the day after we’d driven to Wales, due to the weather forecast looking less happy towards the end of the week. I’d made lots of flapjack and goodies at home which we brought with us, and then I just made sandwiches etc to be chilled in the fridge overnight to save time in the morning.
The walk took us about 7 hours in total, up and down, and we probably had at least an hour’s worth of breaks along the way – so it’s perfectly doable in a day in a decent amount of time.
What were the views like?
The views for the entire climb on the Snowdon Ranger Path were incredible. It was breathtakingly beautiful and 100% worth the effort of climbing it. We’ve since been told that we were really lucky as we had a brilliant view from the top, which is apparently often blocked by the clouds.
When we started heading back down around lunchtime there were some clouds creeping in and, as we looked back on the summit from lower down during the afternoon, the clouds had completely covered it! So I think we definitely had luck on our side!
What supplies are needed?
The best advice I can give you is to invest in some good walking boots. The path is often loose and uneven, and the last thing you want on the side of a mountain are damaged feet or a twisted ankle. Not only that but they’ll be sturdy, waterproof in case of a change in weather, and they’ll keep your feet warm and comfortable. Make sure you break in any new shoes too – we did some hill hiking in the couple of weeks before to prep our shoes and our bodies!
You’ll need plenty of water and food for the climb, particularly foods that will keep your energy levels up. We also, as a precaution, packed a whistle, some torches and some plasters – which was handy as Finn got blisters bless him so we were able to pad out his heels.
We started in trousers but packed shorts (and soon changed into them!), waterproof trousers and raincoats – even if the weather looks fine at the bottom of the mountain, it may not be the same at the top. Not only that but it’s a lot colder at the top. Be sure to check the Snowdon Summit weather forecast before you set off. You’ll basically want to wear layers, and bring extras like sunglasses too to keep you comfortable.
Just be prepared, start your climb early morning and you’ll have an incredible experience exploring Mount Snowdon. 😍