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My Most Memorable Walks #1: Wales' Mt Snowdon Fiasco!

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I've taken zillions of nice walks in Europe - thru cities and nature and to me they are some of my fondest moments in decades of European travels. The ones that are most memorable to me may not be the most scenic or whatever but stand out in my mind because of various things - weird incidents that happened on them and especially ones that turned scary! Like my hike down Mt Snowdon in Wales which turned into a real nightmare.

Being a train nut I took the old tiny steam train up to the summit of Mt Snowdon along with a zillion other folk and was awed by the vista that unfolded up top. I could have easily walked up that slowly ascending wide path but it seemed rather boring as there were a line of walkers on it and I had more ambitious plans for my walk.

I would normally have walked up the steep but wide and very safe path along the course of the railway but I was saving myself for a long hike down the other side of Snowdon to where I could catch a bus back to Betws-y-Coed (love that name!) where I would catch a train back to Llandudno and my cheap B&B.

I have gone to Snowdon via train to Bangor and bus to Caernarfon to visit that sweet seaside town with famous castle and then took a bus to the start of the Snowdon Railway.

So once done with the summit I looked at walking trails down Snowdon's east side to Pan y Gwend Hotel where I could easily catch a bus to Betws-y-Coed, according to my info.

OK the walk started fine - a wide path that soon diverged with the wider part going straight and the one I wanted for the Hotel diverged rather steeply downhill. It was fine for a while before it turned rather wild- I must have missed a sign or something because the path kept getting more difficult and perilous to my nervous system - I was soon hopping from huge boulder to huge boulder and a slight wobble or misstep could have sent one of my legs down in between the rocks - I gingerly stepped from one to the next, always whilst steeply descending in my beat-up and nearly worn out old running shoes.

I knew then that I had lost the trail and other hikers but I could see the lake I was due to end up far down the cascade of tumboling boulders - I just hoped I would make - especially since it was rather late in the afternoon (August) and I was not sure of bus schedules from the Hotel to Betws-y-Coed.

I could not stop and rest but had to plug on - well with the comfort of an end in sight - I could see nice flat tracks leading from the lake in the direction of the Hotel. So I inched down - literally at some points from boulder to boulder on my rear - ah finally I was nearing the end and those wide fairly flat trails were at hand.

I dashed half running to the Hotel and found I was just in time for the last bus ending the most harrowing 'walk' of my life- trekking in Nepal was no match for this nerve-racking descent.

But as usual these type of experiences are later the ones you cherish the most. I got the bus and the train from Betws-y-Coed to Llandudno Junction only to find the last bus had left for Llandudno, just a few miles away.

So back on a hike - this one following footpath signs that led me thru farmers' fields and rural scenes as the sun was fading away - again would I find my way out of this morass before nightfall. Ah soon a regular road appeared that went along the coast all the way to Llandudno and my comfy B&B.

For details on Snowdon walks check: http://www.visitsnowdonia.info/snowdon_walks_-_6_routes-95.aspx

As noted in the link there are 6 routes up and down - the one I took was one of the Pyg Routes and I obviously at some point missed the trail - or did I?

It's been several years since I took this walk but believe me it will never ever fade from my mind!

NEXT - NORTH WALES HIKE UP THE GREAT ORME!

Has anyone done the Snowdon hike(s) - if so I'd love to hear about it.

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