Snowdon South Ridge with Hannah and Zoe
August Bank Holiday Weekend. Snowdon. It was never going to be the quietest of trips! But we always strive to show our clients the very best of Snowdonia, and Hannah and Zoe had come a long way from London for their fundraising trip. They had chosen a sponsored ascent of Snowdon as a way of raising money for their two chosen charities – Combat Stress and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, and had come to SnowdoniaGuidedWalks.com to provide a guide and recommend a route.
I strongly recommended the South Ridge for a quieter ascent on this, possibly the busiest weekend of the year for Wales’ tallest peak. Starting from the small village of Rhyd Ddu the route starts with a gentle climb along an old quarry track before passing disused slate spoil heaps and old workings. Now the real climbing begins, with steep steps alongside a stone wall, and tantalising glimpses of the Watkin Path far below to the right.
Some easy scrambles provide just enough adventure for our novice mountaineers, doing their best to follow the instructions from their bearded guide. Some light rain and low cloud added into the mix, turning this simple walk into something a bit more challenging.
After a short stop for Haribo and other essential snacks we climbed the last few hundred metres along a narrow ridge and then a short and brutal final section to the summit – inevitably crowded with hundreds of walkers, train passengers and the odd SARDA Wales volunteer!
With the obligatory summit photos posed for and crowds successfully dodged we started to head back down the ridge, cheerful and smiling at those unfortunate enough to still be ascending. Once the narrow ridge had been re-negotiated we followed a narrow path that dove down towards the village of Rhyd Ddu, funnily enough called the Rhyd Ddu path! Here the clouds parted and gave us our first proper views of the day, with Caernarfon and Newborough Beach to the right and Porthmadog and the expanse of Harlech Beach to the right. The weather now improved with every step we took, passing dozens of walkers who had chosen to make their ascent late in the day, and the three of us made our way back down to the car park.
Fundraising events in the mountains don’t always have to involve dozens of ill-prepared walkers trekking up crowded paths and leaving litter and carnage in their wake. Sometimes it can (and maybe should) be small groups of enthusiastic fundraisers with the correct kit and choosing appropriately experienced and qualified guides. Well done to Hannah and Zoe – we will see you for the next one!