It was the first time I have had to queue for the privilege of standing on top of a mountain. There was no view apart from cloud, mist and more cloud, but a 200 yard long stream of people had formed a line and were patiently waiting for their chance of a ‘summit selfie’. The irony is that most of them had not actually climbed the mountain.

We were on top of Snowdon- Wales’s highest peak. As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had elected to climb the quieter Rhyd Ddu path and to descend by the Ranger’s Path. When we started our climb the weather was glorious but by the time we reached the South Ridge leading onto the summit the cloud had descended like a blanket, leaving us to traverse the (mercifully straightforward) ridge in near white-out conditions.

After a lot of climbing and huffing and puffing we reached the café steps where we sat for lunch. I braved the café to fetch a hot drink, only to find it packed to the rafters with people wearing flip flops, shorts and frilly blouses. As we sipped our drinks a couple of young girls clad in designer jeans stepped out for a selfie…

One of the last views…

Yes I know that the train has given people the opportunity to stand on top of a mountain who wouldn’t otherwise get the chance, and I know that it will probably give them a greater appreciation of upland areas, but… I don’t know, it somehow seems wrong to have a café and gift shop with flushable toilets on a mountain summit, not to mention a train all the way up… we felt like shouting ‘we walked up! We should have a fast lane in the café, priority on the summit and a view!!’

Queuing for the summit for the all-important selfie!!

We set off amidst hordes of people streaming up the popular Miner’s Track- it was a relief to turn off it and cross the train tracks to the much quieter Ranger’s Path. However there’s something about Snowdon that seems to attract people who wouldn’t usually climb a mountain… we were constantly being asked how long it was to the summit by people we passed on their way up. People who were mostly clad in plimsolls and carrying their minimal gear in drawstring gym bags, or, my personal favourite, clutching a carrier bag.

With two hours of walking left to do it started to pour and we finished our walk sodden and miserable, even in our waterproofs- I did wonder how those ill-equipped walkers had fared.

There was a view earlier…

Sunday dawned brighter although the hills were still shrouded in cloud. We chose a route which unfortunately required us to navigate over rough ground and force a really steep ascent through small bushes and heather. Realising that we were again walking up into cloud and feeling exhausted, we decided to head back down over open country to pick up a track back to our starting point at Capel Curig. This track proved to be pleasant, easy walking- or at least it was until we saw a herd of huge, muscular cows headed along it towards us… we decided that a sudden detour over a small crag was in order!

We decided to get out of their way…

Monday was wet- well it was a Bank Holiday after all- so we decided to walk the three mile ‘precipice’ walk near Dolgellau, around a hill with a steep drop to one side, which I nearly explored closer up when I turned my ankle at the edge of the path. Although we did get some misty views, they would have been amazing had it been clear.


It was, however, after our picnic lunch in the car park that our real adventure began… I didn’t realise that a) Helen’s partner’s car has a function whereby just the boot can be unlocked rather than the whole car, and when the boot is shut it locks and b) the key was in the pocket of Helen’s jacket- which was in the boot. As a family had hi-jacked her to take their photo I put my stuff in and shut the boot, resulting in everything being locked in the car expect for Helen’s phone and debit card… and of course there was no signal.

Both of us had breakdown cover that only cover us for our own cars, and although the car was covered by a breakdown service Helen did not know which… luckily a kind family offered to take me to nearby Dolgellau, where I tried various numbers whilst sheltering from the rain in the Spa shop. After a few dead ends, I tried the AA, who agreed to come out at vast expense as we were non-members, but they refused to come until they’d been paid… luckily the nice family had gone back to pick up Helen and Spud, and whilst Helen spoke to them they discovered that the car was actually covered by the AA.

A lovely clapper bridge on Sunday’s walk

Helen went back to the car with the AA man, where I later discovered they had to remove a back window and try to hook her jacket through a tiny gap. It was a cold wait for me and Spud as my fleece and waterproof were in the boot, but when Helen returned- with the car- we had a hot drink and headed off to the Black Rock Beach at Porthmadog. This was quite a spectacular sight as it is a huge, flat expanse of sand where vehicles can be driven and parked- I suspect it can get quite rowdy at night!

Come on mum, throw the ball!

At least Spud could indulge in a bit of ball catching, which I suspect was the highlight of his weekend…

A good weekend (well, apart from locking the keys in the car!) and, of course, excellent training for the Coast to Coast!

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