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Trip Report Trip Report - Snowdonia Wales and Crib Goch

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Family of 2 adults and 2 boys, 12/14yrs and a little Bichon Pom dog just returned from a week’s stay in Snowdonia.

Came out this way couple of years back in February and stayed in Llanwrst, so covered a lot of Betws and Conwy areas, waterfalls, etc.

This time booked another dog friendly cottage but this time in Cwm-y-Glo, which is mid-way between Caenarfon and Llanberis. Good value and very secluded. The lane entrance is only wide enough for the car with the mirrors closed and the parking slot requires an 8-point turn to get the car turned around ready for driving out. No wi-fi which was fine for this visit.

Day 1 – Left home about 4pm for the drive out which was uneventful, except for the nice sea scenery on the A55 around Colwyn Bay onwards. Got to the cottage in daylight (which was useful for the little lane) and got ourselves settled in.

Day 2 – Normally, I militarily plan, but on this occasion I was a bit lazy, expecting to just go with the flow each day, dependant by the weather. So, on a hunch, thought we’d get our longest drive out of the way and do Cadair Idris. Took the scenic route through Snowdonia itself rather than the quicker A487 which skirted the first half of it. Had no supplies at this stage so stopped at a small deli in Garreg where we had some handmade sandwiches made up for us.

Got to the easily found trailhead/car park which was nearly full around 9am. Everyone prepared, we were soon on our way. Everyone found the steps at the beginning of the trail very steep and never ending. The waterfall adjacent was a nice accompaniment. However, after about 20mins of climbing, wife and doggy were done and could upward climb no more. I continued with the boys. However, after a further 10-15 mins, they were done too, so they went back down. I continued and after a while the trail levelled up, before climbing again. Half an hour or so later, I reached Llyn Cau.

I don’t think that with all the family having dropped off, that the rim trail loop was going to be in order, so I made my way up to the rim anyways and took in the views eating a very tasty sandwich. Plodded all the way back down.

From there, drove straight to Barmouth, which was heaving. The sun was out and every eatery was overfilled with customers on the patios. We did a loop to get our bearings then we parked the car up a hill with no name. Walked back down and did a leisurely walk to the end of Barmouth Bridge and back. We then strolled into town for a bit. We made our way back home via Caenarfon, getting out supplies from the Tesco in town.

Day 3 – Great weather was forecast so we already decided yesterday that Snowdon would happen today. We did the Miners Track couple years back but did not get to the top because of adverse conditions. This time, doggy would stay at home and we would head up the Pyg Track. I do a lot of hiking in Utah and Arizona every year and I wanted to scale Crib Goch, whilst the family continued almost parallel on the Pyg Track. As we park the car, again nearly full, this time by 8am we made our way up the trail. Mis-matched family hiking is slow, but the views were stunning, so plenty of stops were actually good. Eventually the trail splits and we said our good byes.

Now, I’d seen plenty of YouTube videos of Crib Goch and im not a scaredy cat, but today I must say that I nearly turned back. Crib Goch looked so high! I was able to see my family on the Pyg Track way below still at this stage. The initial climb was straightforward scrambling but then I hit a sheer wall. I wasn’t really expecting it to be this bad. At this time, no one else was on the Crib Goch trail with me, or nearby, so I started to make the near vertical climb. It started ok, but with no identify route signals, I came unstuck more than once and just could not find any safe way up. Thius was the point I was getting very frustrated at myself and was ready to turn back. Only then did I see a group of 3 coming into view. I calmed myself down and ate the slowest sandwich ever to make my stop look deliberate. Anyway the guys were soon by me and I questioned the route. They were more than happy for me to tag along. The route they took, somehow now seemed so obvious, although it was still proper mountain climbing stuff looking for suitable nooks and crannies to grab hold of.

Also at this time, met a lovely solo lady climber complete with her little Jack Russell. These two ladies would almost accompany me through the whole of Crib Goch and watching her work with the bravest little Jack Russell was fascinating. The dog had a harness/lanyard and a carry handle on his body vest and she would just lift and carry her above her head and place her on the ledge above and so on.

Climbed to the top of Crib Goch and was very proud and relieved of getting past the initial climb. Now the fin and the Pinnacles were in the way ahead. It was not windy and the rocks were dry. Two of the 3 guys I’d initially tagged with had dropped off on the vertical climb and backed out, so I was on the top of Crib Goch with this guy who had done this trail a few times and in both directions. He was very informative and was happy to guide me and speak of his past experiences. I was so happy he was there. The pointy rocks are sometimes difficult to get your feet to pass over but foot and hand holds were plenty and the views were immense. We didn’t bypass the Pinnacles through the lower route, but climbed right over them. Crib Goch was completed. However there were still other rock climbing areas to navigate before finally turning round to see what you’ve just climbed. Wow!

The trail drops down and meets the intersection of Llanberis and Pyg/Miners Track which have just come up the switchbacks. I was expecting the rest of my family to already be at the summit and waiting for me. However, a few minutes of climbing up the summit route, I caught up with the out of breath wife. A little further up, I saw the smiling faces of my two boys. They told me that a lady and her Jack Russell dog saw them keep looking backwards and when questioned asked if I was her husband. She told my wife that I was not far behind, so they were actually expecting me. They said the lady and dog ran up the summit trail to the top.

We finally got to the summit which was rammed with people, dogs, dogs and more dogs. Found a nice grassy spot to sit for our lunch. We had panoramic views all around. Amazing views.

After an hour or so at the top and grabbing a tasteless hot chocolate from the Café, we made our way down via the Miners track. Downwards was uneventful except for the beautiful lake views and took longer than we remembered than last time.

Grabbed fish and chips from Llanberis and headed home to a sad doggy who had missed all the events of the day.

Day 4 – Again beautiful weather forecast so decided to head out to Llandudno. Took the toll road up to the top of Great Orme and spent a couple of hours just taking in the views, picnicking and rock climbing, before continuing the loop road the Orme and coming back down into town. Spent the day lazing around town, walking the pier and generally people watching.

Day 5 – The weather had turned and I wanted to go and check out a cove that looked so picturesque on googlemaps. I still don’t know its name but it’s on the Lleyn peninsula next to Tudweiliog. The rain and wind were bashing us about, but even then made no difference. The cove looked nothing like the aerial shots and somewhat litter strewn.

Headed back to Caenarfon to RedLine go karting where we had been before, only to be told they were booked out for the day, so we rebooked for 11am tomorrow. The day was horrible and everyone was soaked, so just headed home to dry up.

Day 6 – Had some free time in the morning so headed back up to Llanberis. Spent half hour or so at Dolbadarn castle before driving up Llanberis Pass. Looked for a suitable place to stop and parked up in a lay-by. Had great fun rock climbing, and playing the streams finding different ways of crossing using the rocks without getting our feet wet. Needless to say, I didn’t get my feet wet, but everyone including doggy did.

The whole family did karting at Redline, and although only a small track, is very fun.

Did some mooching around in Bangor, before looking for a scenic route to take home. It is then when we stumbled across Llyn Idwal. And wow, what a stumble. If only I’d known about it I could have planned a whole day here. The weather had improved and the whole family took a stroll around the lake. Beautiful scenery and an impressive ribbon waterfall. Wife and youngest boy took the low road, and me and the eldest took the high road up to the waterfall. You actually have to cross the falls to continue and that was fun. We looped back down to catch up with the other 2 at the beachy part of the lake. Really need to allow a whole day here, perhaps next time.

Day 7 – Believe it or not, the family had decided the night before that they wanted to do Snowdon….again! So with rain spitting down and a poor forecast, what else would normal people do…other than climb Snowdon? So we went for it. Llanberis path. The steep tarmac initial roadway is veeerrry steep. So much so that the wife and youngest and 4 legged one bottled it. The wind was howling and our rucksacks soaked through, but me and the eldest were still up for it. Got on the trail proper and the climb was supposed to be a gradual climb, the easiest of all the trails? It was hard work, the wind beating against us didn’t help, and after about another 20mins, I could see that the boy was struggling. When I offered that he could turn back, he was already off down the trail in the distance before I’d finished the sentence. Just me again. No-one else climbing in this mad weather and it was hard work. The wind just comes in blasts, from being constant, to stopping and then from nowhere a side blast that nearly takes you off your feet like a jet engine going off right beside you.

Visibility was down to about 30 metres and it was not pleasant. Saw my first company just at the intersection of the trails for when I just plodded straight to the summit. 2hrs exactly. I needed the loo and my sandwich eating ant thought a quick break in the Café would be ideal to get out of the wind and rain….but it was closed. So I grabbed my sandwich, swigged my water and made my way back down. From the intersection of the tracks all the way to the car park, I jogged down. Without stopping about 4.5miles. Carefully and sometimes slow, very slow, but neverthess found it easier to jog than walk. I made it down from the summit to the car in 52minutes. Less than 3hrs for the return climb in very adverse conditions. Made our way home to relax.

Booked our session at GYG for tomorrows homeward trip.

Day 8 – Tidied the cottage as said goodbye to the narrow lanes, hairy horses and cute sheep who had been our neighbours.

Me and the eldest did a couple of sessions at the outdoor karting track near Corwen where we had visited last time, and although damp and greasy, the circuit was still great fun.

And then we were home.

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