If I said I’d always wanted to climb Snowdon, I’d be lying.

I did a bit of climbing as a teenager – I remember my cousin taking us out in his VW Campervan to climb some rock faces in Derbyshire pretty fondly – but not much since. So when some friends asked if we wanted to road trip over to North Wales and take on the peak, we jumped at the chance.

After an 8 hour journey from Norwich (thanks for that, A14) we reached our beautiful cottage in Croesor that offered fantastic views of the valley.

It was fairly well equipped, although the shower was cold and the road leading to the cottage sounded like it shredded the bottom of my car. The roads in Wales were great, for the most part, but there were a few dodgy moments on some of the single tracks like the one above. Not helped by a full boot and five people in the car.

We spent the first full day exploring some of the local area and spent a few hours walking through Porthmadog and Abersoch beach. We got really lucky with the weather all weekend and managed to avoid any heavy rain. Abersoch was lovely, and we spent a few hours wandering around the beach, stroking friendly dogs and skimming stones.

Sunday was climb day, so with a big breakfast and a close eye on the weather, we set off just after 9am.

I realised very quickly that it was a mistake to leave my camera in my hiking rucksack – the views were awesome within the first 5 minutes of walking.

I’d tried to find a balance between light kit and the camera being rugged enough to survive a few knocks, so I only took my Canon 5D mkII and 35mm f2 lens. I originally bought this lens for our travels in Japan, but have found I’ve not been using it since I re-purchased the 40mm f2.8. I really like the 35mm focal length, and the build quality seems pretty high so I need to use it more or sell it.

The walk itself went pretty smoothly, with only a couple of incidents. The top section of the climb was very icy and quite narrow, so got a bit nervewracking at points. Not least when, on the way down, someone slid down the icy path and almost took my legs out from under me. If I hadn’t moved in time, I might not be writing this. Soph also slipped and narrowly avoided a pretty nasty head injury, escaping with some scratches and bruises instead of something much worse.

We went pretty slowly, but managed the ascent and descent in 8 hours. Not fast, but not bad for our first proper mountain.

I was maybe too prepared, and as it warm and sunny all day, I ended up carrying countless layers in my bag. I had two jumpers, a woolly hat and gloves that all went unused. Still, I think I would probably take the same approach if I were to do the journey again, rather than trust the weather forecast.

I’m not sure we’ll do Snowdon again, but I think it’s opened my eyes to more UK trips.

12th April 2018

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