Start – Pen-y-Pass car park at SH647556, Distance – 11.7km, Ascent – 1190m, Time – 6hrs 30mins plus stops.
The Snowdon Horseshoe – one of the most famous hill walks in England and Wales. Not for the faint-hearted, it includes several grade 1 scrambles and the infamous knife-edge crossing of Crib Goch. The route is fairly obvious – just follow the crowds! For me personally, it was one of those days that reinforced my existing passion for hill walking, and I’ll be a very lucky man if I experience anything quite like it again. The day started in the mist at Pen-y-Pass, and I’d resigned myself to spending the next 6 hours or so in thick clag. As I scrambled up the eastern ridge of Crib Goch, I noticed the mist thinning out and before I realised it, I’d emerged onto the ridge in glorious sunshine, bright blue skies and a fantastic inversion. Truly jaw-dropping stuff, and I took over 40 photos just crossing Crib Goch. Not only all this, but as it was a Wednesday in October, it wasn’t even busy! This walk is justifiably popular and is only let down by the circus that is Snowdon itself. However, Crib Goch is every bit as good as reports suggest, and I also really enjoyed Y Lliwedd, which is quite spectacular and very quiet as well. Only attempt this route if you’re experienced and have a good head for heights (in which case you’ve probably already done it anyway!)
Crib Goch, looking from west to east. The inversion was just stunning, with cloud hanging onto the north face. One of my rare good photos!
Brocken Spectre off Crib Goch. I’ve been lucky enough to see one before in the Carneddau, but this time I was virtually followed by them for most of the day.
Garnedd Ugain (Crib y Ddysgl) on the right and Snowdon on the left. Before the walk, I was nervous about Crib Goch, having never done it before and doing it on my own. However, the biggest problem I had was the ascent onto Crib y Ddysgl, which is apparently best taken head-on.
Snowdon rears up from a sea of cloud.
On top of Crib y Ddysgl, looking back to Crib Goch. I followed a false path to the left of the initial scramble from Bwlch Coch and ended up climbing up the south side of the ridge – not recommended
Clouds boiling up around Y Lliwedd. The clouds were changing and moving all the time and the result was just stunning.
The clouds start to swallow Crib Goch as the inversion rises.
Starting the descent to the miners track and looking back to the twin peaks and impressive cliffs of Y Lliwedd. I thought everything else would be an anti-climax after Crib Goch, but Y Lliwedd surprised me with it’s easy (but fun) scrambles and breathtaking views.