Mount Snowdon peter's travels

At 3,560 feet, Snowdon Is the highest elevation in Wales. There are two ways to get to the summit: you can walk up one of seven footpaths, or you can ride the cog railway up from Llanberis. We chose to ride up and walk down because, well, we just weren't in good enough shape to climb up, but thought down was something we could do.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway has both diesel and steam locomotion

On the way up, you can see people walking up the steep, but well groomed trail on one side of the train, and on the other, spectacular vistas with the odd abandoned farm or mining building from time to time. The ride takes about an hour. The trail takes about three to four hours, if you're in shape for it. Some people walk up and then take the train down.

The peak can get quite congested with the surprising number of tourists who climb onto the small platform that represents the summit. Going from sea level to 3,000 feet in an hour kinda weirded us out, so we didn't brave the crowd ten steps above us.

We shot our portraits near the summit platform in a suitably scarey spot. The white line behind Donna splits into two of the longer trails down the mountain. I imagine the views from there would be pretty spectacular.

In the distance behind me is the Irish Channel, and the brownish looking water is the estuary at Porthmadog, where we were staying.

This is the first of the two small lakes, which took two hours to climb down to. The white line on the left is Miner's Track. The one drifting off on the right is Rangers Track. There are seven trails of varying difficulty leading to and from the summit. We chose to walk down Miner's Track which winds sharply down to a couple of small lakes, and then rather smoothly past abandoned copper mine buildings and sheep pastures to the bus parking lot at Pen-y-pass. From the upper lake, it takes another couple of hours walking to get to the trail head.

Snowdon's western slope

Sheep graze the entire height of Snowdon. The Snowdonia National Park Authority employs two shepherds to keep them from grazing on sensitive flora, such as the rare Snowdon Lilly. This one may have been contemplating a murder-suicide because as we climbed below it, it lept off the cliff and landed on the trail just in front of us. It then crossed the path and munched more of the landscape. We were....surprised.

For a trail clinging to the side of a mountain, it's surprisingly well groomed.

The views are spectacular. I imagine on the trails that walk the ridges, you probably get over the vertigo from sheer drops on both sides fairly quickly. Our route had the mountain on one side as a sort of comforting thing to hang onto. We'll have to go back and try one or two of the others sometime.

Donna is working her way down the cliff face. A surprising number of people walked the two hours to the base and then climbed for three more to get to the top.

Doing my thing

Halfway down and still going.

The upper lake. The mine for which the trail is named faced this lake.

Mine building remains

Just as I photographed this view of the former ore crushing plant, on the flattest part of the trail, Donna tripped, landing directly on her camera. While I was trying to see if she was okay she screamed, "Not me -- how's the camera!" The camera was fine. She just broke the lens hood.

Britannia Copper Mine ore crushing mill

A tramway once ran over the hill from the upper lake to this structure on the lower lake. Originally, the miners hauled the ore up the eastern slope of the mountain, to be hauled by sledge to Llyn Cwellyn, where it was transferred to a horse and cart and taken to Caernarfon. About ten years later the road from Llanberis to Pen-y-pass was opened, and the ore was taken out more easily.

Miners' quarters

The sheep are even more plentiful at the bottom of the trail.

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As we wander the world looking for artifacts, collections, and scenery to photograph, we like to share our experiences. If you liked this one, you'll love our entire series of travel blogs. Check out our web page: www.artifactphoto.ca and look for "Peter's Travels" for our continuing adventures.

Copywrite for this document and all images are owned by Peter S. Cramp of Artifact Photography (a division of 1350286 Ontario Inc.). All rights reserved.

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Peter S. Cramp
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