Travel Notes - Snowdonia

To only have to travel two hours from Birmingham in order to discover a different world seems unlikely, but Snowdonia proves you don't have to have a passport and a plane to discover beauty. Or a Covid Passport and £150 pounds worth of PCR tests but that's another blog for another day! Is this Wales' version of Narnia?

The view from the top of Mount Snowdon

Go back two years and I wasn't feeling too great in my own headspace, so I thought I'd do something, I decided to hike up Mount Snowdon. And because the outdoors cures so much I booked a week in Bala through "Ready Camp." Basically these are ready-erected tents with a little extra. I wouldn't call it glamping, but I wouldn't call it camping either. We'll call it clamping... wait no... gamping...that's rubbish too... camping with benefits. The benefits being standing space, proper beds, a fridge, kettle, microwave and a hob. But it ain't glamping... alright?!

I think some people get a little mixed up. Snowdonia is the National Park; 823 square miles of remote villages, towns, lakes, peaks, valleys and then you have the big ol' mountain - Mount Snowdon - the UK's second largest mountain. What I didn't anticipate was that I'd be in Snowdonia yet still be an hour and a half's drive from Mount Snowdon. What I also didn't anticipate was quite how stunning all of Snowdonia is. It's mind blowing. It's right next to England yet it is completely different.

A beached fish's view of Lake Bala

Day 1 - Arrive, set up shop within my big ass tent. Cook food, eat and drink on the decking area outside the tent... yes, it has a decking area. Okay maybe this is glamping.

Day 2 - Betws-y-Coed. A small village located in the northern-easterly area of Snowdonia with a very Victorian feel and a proper old-fashioned train station. A four-mile hike with some steep climbs lead to Llyn Elsi, a reservoir/mountain lake that offers stunning views of Snowdonia's mountain peaks.

Llyn Elsi

Day 3 - Mount Snowdon. Bala to Mount Snowdon is a bit of a drive, but my word is the drive stunning. I had to stop off in Beddgelert where a river ran through a beautiful break in the trees. Arriving at Mount Snowdon parking is pretty easy - I actually found a small car park near the entry on the Llanberis Path route - the longest in length but least challenging way up the peak. I'm a beginner alright, don't judge me. I had to stop off at the pub at the bottom to charge my phone a bit and the guys that run the place were bloody lovely. My phone was giving me grief so they gave me a portable charger to charge my phone as I walked the path.

A stop off near Beddgelert

The Llanberis Path, when at the bottom, almost downplays the height of the mountain and it looks more like a gradual slope but you do feel it in the thighs as you go further on. If it's your first time up a mountain, which it was for me, it's jaw-dropping. You soon realise you've made quite a climb and on the way down you can enjoy the views a little more, just watch that scree as you first start descending. The pub owners were even more friendly after the descent, offering up some free soup and Welsh cake - I think it's because I said I was from Cornwall so it was some sort of Celtic brotherly love.

Nicest train station view in the UK?!

Day 4 - Lake Bala. I stayed close to camp this day after my long day but still enjoyed a walk and lush views. Bala is a pretty small, kinda industrial town. Not too touristy. There's a huge car park on the edge of town so I followed the signs to Lake Bala and walked around the lake, finding a cafe and some higher ground and meeting a cat along the way - a habit of mine wherever I go. If there's an animal, I WILL befriend it - you have been warned.

Looking down to Lake Bala and across to Snowdonia's Peaks

I hear Snowdonia and Mount Snowdon in particular is pretty swamped these days, but maybe come September and October and pre-summer next year the place will be quieter and it's a great place to go to clear the mind through being active and outdoors. Highly recommend a visit - just keep it out of season.