One of the things I love about Snowdonia more than anything are all the things you can do that will create memories. In a time where we are all going at 100 mph with so many distractions and glued to our phones, as naff as it sounds, life passes us by without knowing it. I am more guilty than anyone for this - it's February and I'm only just writing my first post for the year.....
From days spent on the beach, walking up the rivers, climbing mountains, star gazing to campfires and waterfall jumping, it is relaxing and calming, yet full of fun and adventure. One of my most memorable events for 2017 was an early morning trek up Snowdon to see sunrise with a group of friends and more importantly my daughter - it was one of those events that both of us will remember forever.
An early wake up call at 4am didn't sit particularly well with a 14 year old, but suited and booted with head torches on we met up with our group and headed out to the of the PYG track. Now the number one piece of advice for this trip is go with someone who knows the mountain well. Despite the fact that Snowdon is a very busy mountain and the ascent during the day is very straight forward (if you stick to the path) one thing you need to know is that the top of it is actually very tricky once the cloud fall comes in and very disorientating, so having someone with you (pay for a guide if needs be) is essential.
Make sure you have lots of water and snacks (it's the only time I don't feel guilty having the biggest bar of chocolate on me!) as well of course as making sure you have the right clothes. There are too many stories of people climbing up there in flip flops and needless to say that is asking for trouble. As I told my daughter who was not so keen packing extra hats, gloves and extra warm fleeces, you'll be pleased you did because once you pass over the ridge and on the top, the temperature can plummet which if you're not prepared for will make the whole event really miserable.
The journey up was quite surreal. It is pitch black and all you can see is the path in front of you and apart from the fact you can feel you are walking uphill, there are no visual markers to show you how high you have climbed. We were a group of 6 and all of us were strangely quiet on the way up. There were lots of points that we could have gone astray from the path and so that is why having someone who knows the route is paramount - as I said, the route during the day is very clear, but in pitch black, that path becomes hazy.
It took us 2.5 hours to get to the top and that was with a couple of chocolate breaks. We were lucky that as soon as we reached the top the cloud parted for just enough time for us to take in the view which was incredible, especially as we were the only people on the mountain top. It wasn't long before we were joined by others, including a couple of people who were doing the 3 Peaks Challenge, but for those first 10 mins, it was just us.
The temperature by the time we got to the sundial dropped very quickly, more than I had anticipated and so again, just make sure you pack waterproofs and warm layers because you need to be prepared for all weather conditions as they can change in a flash. Lex and I only stayed up ontop for about 20 mins as we were having a 'girls' day and had booked a manicure for 11am in Barmouth (!). It was daylight at that point so we bid our group farewell and raced down to the bottom. We had 1.5 hours to get the car so we would not miss our appt and we did it!
If you are looking for something that will give you that opportunity to do something special with your children, then Snowdonia really offers so many things. It does not have to be a climb up Snowdon, but just doing something away from it all is just the ticket and I know that all of us will remember that trip and for Lex and I, it is definitely one for the special memory bank!