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Wales

Why you should take on the highest mountain in The U.K

After a few days spent sipping on pints and indulging in delicious pub meals, I felt that it was time to get some well needed exercise into my very relaxed body, and what better way to do so than climbing to the highest point in not only Wales, but The U.K. The 14km uphill journey took about 6 hours return, with about a 3 hour journey up to the top, 30 minutes to take it all in and then a steady 2.5 hours descent back to steady ground.

There are plenty of tracks to choose from, all ranging in difficulty, thrill factor and distance but we decided to play it safe and do the Llanberis track, which is the easiest of the lot. The weather conditions weren’t ideal and despite the rangers saying that it wasn’t safe to go up, the adrenaline in our bodies told us else wise and on we went with our layered clothing and bulk water and food supplies (thanks for taking one for the team Dad and taking it all up). Up until the last third of the hike, the weather conditions were great. Barely any ice around, or people and it was quite a steady uphill walk which didn’t cause too many dramas. Once we hit the last hour, it deemed to get quite difficult, but I can assure you that once you reach that point, there will be nothing that will want to send you back and it will all be up and go from there.

I’ll set this straight. I’m no experienced hiker, nor do I have the suitable gear to go trekking through the snow on the side of a steep mountain, but I sure did have a brilliant time and managed to get my adrenaline juices pumping. There were times of fear and anxious moments where I questioned my actions, jumbled with awe worthy moments, but the most valuable aspect was definitely the sense of accomplishment once I reached the very last step at the very highest point in The U.K. There was nothing else that could top this feeling (excluding the fact that there was mulled wine waiting for us at the bottom of the mountain).

If you aren’t a fan of heights, then this probably isn’t the trek for you, but if there’s nothing that you love more than a panoramic view and an adrenaline fuelling experience, then climbing Snowdon is right up your alley.

Just to give you a few tips before you set off on this adventure

  1. Bring water, even if it’s just one bottle. The journey takes six hours return and while most of it is spent thinking about just getting to the top, there are a lot of times where water is a massive necessity. If you don’t want to carry a gallon of water with you (which is understandable) there are fresh streams running most of the time along the way so you can top up your bottles while you go.
  2. Food. Okay, so I absolutely love food. I mean who doesn’t? But if you are going to do this trek, you really do need to pack up some snacks for the walk. There was nothing that I enjoyed more than grabbing a piece of chocolate out from the rucksack to give me a little bit more energy to soldier on to the top.
  3. Clothing. This does depend on the time you go, but even if it is in summer, it can still get very chilly up at the top of the mountain. I did the walk up at the end of March and layered up four times and still managed to feel the cold. Be wary, it does get pretty cold when you are 3500+ feet above sea level.
  4. If the weather isn’t too great, always tend to go for the easier track – Llanberis. The rocks can get slippery and can get quite dangerous. Unfortunately, lives have been lost climbing Snowdon in bad conditions, so it’s important to be incredibly careful.
  5. Check the weather reports for The Summit to ensure you reach the peak at the best time for visibility. There’s nothing worse than hiking for three hours to get to the top and see nothing but cloud.

If you do take the Llanberis path, be sure to stop into the tea room at the bottom of the path. It is run by a bloke called Steffan, one of the loveliest and friendliest Welshmen and boy does he know how to make a good mulled wine. We spent two hours lounging by the fire with refilled mugs of mulled wine, warm buttered Welsh cake and genuinely good company. There was no better way to finish the day.

Why Wales?

From living in Leeds for the past six months, I have always heard people talk about Wales, but not in the way that I had always wanted to hear. Now that I have been there and done that, I have a totally different perspective on this beautiful country which is way too often overlooked, so I think it’s highly important to share the wonders with you all.

Since arriving in this rainy, mellow and very slow-paced lifestyle of a country, my heart has been filled with nothing but gratitude and pure joy gathered from the friendly Welsh locals and sheep dotted, lush green rolling hills that mould the roads.

Thankfully for making this journey with my parents, I was able to get access to a car and jumped from the South of Wales to the North over five days, and the only downside to the trip was that I wish I could of had more time. If I had any advice to you it would be to take a week in Wales, at least, and please don’t dare to do different. There are so many quaint villages within mid-wales that deserved to be wandered, as well as the big and very well-known cities like Cardiff and Swansea. I can assure you that spending a week in Wales will not leave you with even an inch of disappointment and will leave your heart and soul filled with just as much joy as mine.

Wales is definitely best to be travelled by car, or if you have an adventurous bone in you, hiked or camped. There are busses that run in between the larger cities and tourist destinations, however there is so much in between that really does need to be seen as it’s these villages which really make Wales such a special place.

From the cosiest pubs and the warmest people to the unlimited walking tracks and outdoor activities, Wales will always be remembered, and I am sure it will be for you too.