Friday 10th May 2019 – Snowdon via the Llanberis Path

DCP invited International Mountain Leader Alan Ward, who has a long association with Milton Mountaineers, to lead this commemorative climb with the help of his colleagues Heather, Helen and Phil. This guiding team from South Wales, gave their time free of charge to The Milton Mountaineers.

So it was that 33 Milton Mountaineers took to the most wonderful mountain that is Snowdon, including several of our founder’s family, notably his eldest daughter Anne (also a Trustee), whose 83rd birthday fell on the same day as this ascent. Other family members included our Founder’s youngest daughter, Sue, along with her son, Phillip (also a Trustee and who has been coming on MMs trips on and off for 30 years); and her daughter, Ruth, on her first  MMs trip and last, but not least, 9-year old Charlotte, great grand-daughter of our founder.

Several of our party ascended the mountain by train on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, including  Edmund McKenzie, one of the blind members on the inaugural climb of Ben Nevis in 1969.

The rest of the group, climbed Snowdon by the Llanberris footpath, which is the longest route up Snowdon, 7 kilometres (about 4.5 miles), with an ascent of 950 metres (about 3135 feet).  It is described on the website: www.walkupsnowdon.co.uk

We set off from the hotel shortly after 8AM, climbed a steep tarmac road to the entrance gate and then up the steep, sometimes stony, sometimes rocky path, with occasional short breaks to catch our breath. Our mountain leader, Alan, always full of good humour and amusing quips, tried to dodge being photographed, but we managed to capture him in a ‘selfie’.

There was some cloud, but the weather mostly clear sunshine allowing great views of nearby mountains, including Tryfan, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and the knife edge ridge Crib Goch, all of which have been climbed by several of our members, including MMs leader DCP. After the ‘Halfway House’ (sadly closed), the path became steeper and harder. Even so, several of our blind climbers ploughed on, some largely without assistance for the most part, most notably Terry and Ray, whose confidence was breath-taking.

As we climbed further up, the ground fell away to our right into Cwm Brwynog and the smooth black water of Llyn Du’r Arddu came into view, where the sheer wall of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu was reflected; a popular destination for serious rock climbers.

We were accompanied by intermittent twitterings of a sky lark and the occasional puff puff puff of the steam train, or drone of the diesel train as they heaved themselves up the rack and pinion track to the summit. At one stage, young Charlotte chased after the train containing her Nanna, Sue, who remarked to her fellow passengers “There’s my daughter” (meaning Ruth); “How old is your daughter?” they asked justifiably unconvinced; “53” Sue replied, causing the rest of the carriage to fall about laughing!

After about 4 hours we stood on the summit ourselves, taking it in turns to climb the steep steps to the trig point where several group photos were taken

After eating our lunch we were about to exit the cafĂ© ready for the descent, when heavens opened and unloaded so much hail that it looked as if it were snowing!.  So it was on with waterproofs and indeed when we went out it was hailing hard and the temperature had dropped dramatically. After walking for about half an hour the hail abated and it was off with the waterproofs again as the sun came out to join us.

On the way down we met several runners doing a one hundred miles mountain marathon, and surprise surprise, one of our members knew one of them.

The final shock was the flat, but incredibly steep tarmac that led into Llanberis, which was a real work-out for the knees at the end of a long day. We were down and off the mountain in about three hours and back to the hotel for hot showers and our evening meal.