The Summit of Snowdon

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The Summit of Snowdon

By Dave Roberts   

Published – August 23, 2016

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The Summit of Snowdon

The Summit of Snowdon

You’ve made it!

There are steps either side of the summit and it can often be quite a melee to get to the top on a busy summer’s day. If you do, then you may be able to see the brass plate on the trig point that can be used to identify all the different summits.

Here’s a panorama image of the view.

If you face down the railway you’ll see Llanberis and its lakes, then clockwise towards Elidir Fawr and the Dinorwig Quarry that scars its surface. Inside is a massive pump storage power station which you can visit on guided tours and is well worth the few hours it takes. Across to Y Garn and the Glyderau with the Carneddau behind. The next peak, standing alone is Moel Siabod, and then the views become more distant and more difficult to discern.

You can certainly see the Arenig Hills, Aran Fawddwy and Cadair Idris far to the south and then Cardigan Bay, Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge. The solitary lump of Mynydd Mawr and finally the grassy ridges of Moel Eilio stretching off from Yr Wyddfa itself and you are back in Llanberis.

Even if the cloud is obscuring the summits, you will certainly be able to see the new summit building, Hafod Eryri – or Summer Dwelling, which while some do not welcome its presence on the mountain it is certainly much easier on the eye than the previous lump of concrete. There has been a building on the summit for a couple of centuries, and it was William Clough Ellis – who built the most beautiful Portmeirion – who built the previous café. He must have been having an uncharacteristic bad day. This building was described in many ways, usually negative, given  the unflattering tag of ‘highest slum in Wales” by Prince Charles. However, it did survive 70yrs of extreme conditions and the ravages of modern tourism

Anyone who remembers the old building, regardless of their philosophy, would agree that Hafod Eryri is certainly less intrusive and much easier on the eye than the carbuncle it replaced. Remember that some people still refer to it as a hotel but be under no impression that it is, there is no accommodation available on the summit and the building closes after the last train.

The present building is open for refreshments and an exhibition, but is also the station for the railway. You may be able to get a return ticket down, but it is not guaranteed and you are recommended to ring and book if you intend on doing that.

You may also notice, to one side of the steps, there’s a plaque to Princess Gwenllian – The “only child of Prince Llywlyn ap Gruffudd, Lord of Snowdonia, Prince of Wales”.  Llywelyn was the last native Prince of Wales.

Lliwedd (2 of 23)

After Llywelyn was killed in an ambush at Cilmeri in 1282, his brother Dafydd Ap Gruffudd took guardianship of Gwenllian, barely a year old. However in June 1283, Prince Dafydd and his family were caught in the mountains above Aber in North Snowdonia, he was taken away and executed while Gwenllian was placed in a convent in Lincolnshire to prevent her having children who could lay claim to the welsh throne. They’ve since renamed Garnedd Uchaf in her honour, which is rather confusing as the old name will still be used by most people.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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