holiday parenting travel

Conquering Mount Snowdon (with kids in tow)

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A couple of months ago we decided to climb Mount Snowdon. Our kids are 11 and almost 8, they both have been doing rock climbing and bouldering for several years. It was time to take them up a real mountain.

MrB booked a cottage just outside a weird & wonderful ‘private’ town of Portmeirion and when the first weekend of the school holidays rolled up, we packed the car with food and hiking kit. And just in case more food.

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Portmairion

The weather forecast looked pretty good for the Saturday climb but MrB’s has had one or two near death experiences up in the mountains so now he packs All The Kit to be ready for anything. Our hiking day backpacks had lots of layers, hats, gloves, scarves and lots of food and water. None of us had hiking boots but trail sneakers worked just fine (might have been a different story if it had rained).

We got a little map of all the Snowdon paths and chose the one that was the shortest, 10km round trip and with least elevation gain. It was the Watkin path. To make the story short, Dorrigo Dinky Maps was very wrong about the information about the paths.

Watkin path turns out, is the hardest one to climb and it’s close to 13km round trip.

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The locals didn’t warn us that the way up via Watkin path was going to be hard

We started to suspect that when we were scrambling up to the peak for the last 500m on our hands and knees. Feet slipping and the drop down going a looooong way down :|

But we made it. And the kids did very well. They didn’t complain about being tired until we were about half-way down. Then their feet started to hurt and I have to say my calves were pretty stiff by then too.

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Made it. All fog and cold up there.

The scenery along the way was absolutely gorgeous. The little kiddo did extra rock climbing on all the ‘boulder’s he saw on the way up.  The couple with whom we started at the same time from the parking lot at the bottom, finished exactly at the same time as us so the kiddos must have been pretty much going at adult speed. In total with a short toilet break at the top it took us 5 hours and 50 minutes.

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The summit of Snowdon is in that dark cloud in the background.

I’ve never been a big hiker but I think it’s something I will be doing more in the future. There’s something about wide open spaces and mountains and sunshine.

When I climbed Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia, we got stuck in a blizzard and that was my near-death experience. After that I stayed away from mountains.

Until Snowdon happened and it was gorgeous.

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Is it possible not to love this?

 

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Almost at the top.

 

On top of the world (well, just England for now)

On top of the world (well, just England for now)

 

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Rest break coming down.

Verdict – when you luck out with the weather, the Watkin path is doable, with or without children, and he views are beautiful. In bad weather (wet, limited visibility) I would not choose that path because the end bit is very slippy and could be very dangerous.

Now – which mountain to climb next??

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  • Anna @AnnaTheApple Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 13:23

    On top of Wales, not England, don’t you mean? ;-)
    I love Snowden. My grandparents live in Llandudno which isn’t too far from it. My grandad used to work as mountain rescuer so knows the mountain well. I’m planning on doing the Snowdonia marathon next year if I get a place :)

    • MrsB Thursday, 3 November 2016 at 08:47

      I guess I should correct that ;)

      The Snowdonia marathon sounds amazing now that I’ve seen the landscape.

  • Francine Klotz Tuesday, 1 November 2016 at 15:07

    Somewhere in the Alps, perhaps in June 2017?

    • MrsB Thursday, 3 November 2016 at 08:48

      Yes! Let’s propose that to the reunion organising committee!