It seemed wrong to visit Snowdonia without at least attempting an assault on Snowdon. We needed to be realistic given the time of year and we would be walking with George (5) and Eliza (1).
The weather was to be dry but cold on Wednesday and dry on Friday so we planned to have two attempts on each of these days. On Friday we would be joined by my father-in-law Mal Tabb and he would bring the wealth of experience that comes with being a Mountain Leader.
It would be dry so the kids were in down. Eliza in her Spotty Otter Chillibug and George in his Spotty Otter Patrol Jacket and Trousers. The mountain weather forecast in Joe Brown was checked the night before and indicated freezing point at ground level and the snow line at 400m. A cold day.
I am aware of 10 routes up Snowdon. Only a few are suitable for kids and we traded distance for a less steep ascent. The Llanberis Path was our chosen route and would provide good views of the Snowdon Mountain Railway along the way. The path is well marked on OS Map OL17.
It is not well advertised but the Mountain Railway, the Summit Cafe and Halfway House Cafe are all closed in the winter until about Easter.
Ascent from Base Camp
In our case Base Camp was the lovely cottage we were staying in on Ty Du Road. A quick stop in the village to pick up some snacks for the kids and we were on our way.
George had a reluctant start but once he found his resolve it was miraculous. The first few kilometres out of the village were much steeper than they appeared on the OS map. The key to keeping the kids going was regular snack stops. Every 30 minutes they would get a few sweets and hourly we would get Eliza out for a short potter around which also helped to give my shoulders a rest.
We had a brief stop for lunch between Halfway House and Clogwyn Station. Only stopping for 20 minutes we all started really feeling the cold and estimated it was around –5oC. By the time we reached the fork in the path to begin the ascent up to Clogwyn the snow was getting deep and Eliza was upset. We decided to turn back. A few hundred metres down the path and Eliza fell asleep in the back carrier and stayed that way until Llanberis was back in sight.
The views were superb and I got plenty of footage with my head mounted GoPro, I will share the end result when I have finished the editing.
12.5km, 600m of ascent and 5 hours of walking made it an epic expedition especially for George. He was very proud of himself.
We had a great dinner at Pete’s Eats as a reward to the kids for being fantastic and to allow us all to refuel. Generous portions of chilli, spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and chocolate tiffin were exactly what we needed.
Star Kit – Spotty Otter Patrol Trousers
For a long time George has used Muddy Puddles waterproof sallopettes. When he outgrew this range we decided to get him a full Spotty Otter Patrol suit. It is fleece lined and fully waterproof making sure he stays warm and dry. They are also very rugged and able to cope with the abuse inflicted by an active 5 year old. The adjustable waist and ankle cuffs make sure they are a good fit and able to effectively reduce gaps between kit. Both the trousers and jacket are highly recommended.
Route and pictures
Llanberis Path Information: http://shawtrekking.com/snowdon-footpaths/llanberis-path/
Techy Geek Corner
So far so good with Windows 8. I’m starting to find my way around it and just spent some time rearranging my tiles. Now using Microsoft Windows Live Writer to compose blog posts offline and it’s actually very good. It is especially useful since I only get an intermittent Wi-Fi signal on the train. Using my iPhone as a hotspot also works well but likely hammers my data consumption.