Snowdonia Hike via Miners Track 25/11/2018
A story of our Snowdonia hike.
6.30 am. My eyes pop open. Oh no! We’re late. We wanted to be on the road for 7am. With a great flurry of clothes, food and shoes we made it to our obligatory Costa stop for 8.00. The map was set, the car was loaded, so off we set on our 2 hour journey from the Midlands to Snowdonia in the heart of Wales.
As the car park at Pen Y Pass started up ahead, Molly informed us she was feeling a bit unwell. As I motioned to her that we would be arriving at any moment, a scream of horror wafted through the car as the boys recoiled from Molly trying not to be sick all down her legs. The poor girl had just thrown up.
We pulled into the full car park, threw Molly out of the car and tried to use baby wipes to clean the mess while Finley had his head out of the window trying not to heave. I took Molly to the toilets to clean up and upon our return found the very nice warden had opened up a car parking space, just in case we had to quickly return to the car. Thankfully it was just a one off and Molly recovered promptly.
We suited and booted as normal (see post on how to dress kids for hikes) and after making sure 3 times that we had everything from the car; took the Miners Path which started at the gates at the top of the car park. I was eager to see Snowdon in all her glory, but at the moment, there was a cloud enveloping the summit. I crossed my fingers this would disappear.
On we walked, slowly ascending, past Lake Glaslyn and the grand Llyn Llydaw. Of course, we had to stop and allow Finley to throw his beloved rocks into the water. His dad is trying to teach him the art of skimming. He is getting it, albeit slowly. Once he’d gotten a few throws out of his system, we carried on a slight incline and over the causeway of Llyn Llydaw. The water was so still and looked very inviting. The weather was cool but not bitter and we were slowly cooking in all our winter weather gear. Off came a hat, some gloves and even my coat as we trekked on for about a mile or so.
Excitement Sets In
We took in the views, excitement creeping over my initial nerves and the kids were in very good spirits. We seemed to hit a dead end so asked a gentleman who had stopped for a sandwich which way to go. He advised us that we were to go up, follow the path and we would hit the summit straight above us. But, he said, it was very icy at the peak and very windy too. We took in his advice and started up the scrambling section of the miners path. The kids absolutely loved this part and strode up and over the rocks, with no fear of falling off.
We stopped at the intersection for the PYG track and Miners track for a chocolate bar and a drink. People passing by commended the kids for getting so far up. Many people look at how small Molly is and wonder how she does the things that she does. To be honest, even I wonder how she manages.
Once we’d recuperated from the first leg, we carried on up and followed the path once again. The weather had started to dip colder and walkers passing us by on the way down were starting to look concerned about the children. One gent in particular looked so worried and advised us that the train wasn’t running. I told him we were aware and that the kids were absolutely fine.
Snow and Ice
About half an hour later, the clouds rolled around us and visibility was really low. Ice had formed on the ground and was reaching quite dangerous levels for a family of 5 to be navigating blind up a 3,569ft mountain. Dicky and myself were exchanging looks at one another for approval to stop and turn back. I was getting quite stubborn and knew we were nearly there. Eventually I realised it wasn’t meant to be today. I didn’t want to put the children at risk and we would also start losing light soon, as the sun was due to set at 4.00pm.
At 2.30, we made the decision to head back down. We had another snack and chatted to a few other walkers around us who, again, commended the children on their determination. One guy shouted ‘legends!’ at them, which pleased Oliver greatly!
I got upset at this point, as I knew we were so close and I still hadn’t seen the top of the bloody thing! But, after a little cry I pulled myself together, got back into ‘Mom Mode’ and helped navigate 3 little mountain goats off the side of the mountain.
We work very well as a team. Dicky guides the front with Finley, as he gets a little sidetracked by rocks and dirt and anything shiny. Oliver stays in the middle; being the eldest, he can hold onto himself. And I bring up the back with Molly, who, despite having low muscle tone and hyper mobility; tracks her way up and down the rocks with a very bouncy spring in her step.
We get back down the Miners track very quickly and once again, stop at the lake to throw a few stones. A lady who we had seen when we’d decided to stop, caught us up and exclaimed just how close we had been and actually, the ice wasn’t as bad as some had made out.
There’s always next time.
The final push of the walk was the straight road back round the lakes in the cwm. It was now dark, the sun had set. So, using the torch on our phones (because there’s always one thing we forget) we sang our way back to the car.
Overall, we were walking for 7 hours, with several breaks for dressing and undressing, drinks and toilet stops. The weather was dry and, all round, a pretty nice day for a Snowdonia hike.
I am so proud of my 3 little mountaineers and the way they conquered the challenge with such grit. This was a day that had no moans, no arguments and no accidents; which, lets face it, is a miracle in itself!
Snowdon, you may have beat us on this day. But, we will be back. I promise you that.