Cycling down Snowdon

Last weekend the three of us hiked up and down Snowden and really enjoyed it. You can read about it here. Near the bottom, as you leave the road and start on the path there is a sign.

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Imagine my surprise as four mountain bikers sailed on through the gate. A bit later we had to step to the side so that another two could pass, and then later on another two, although I stopped to talk with one of them. I mentioned the sign that said there is a ban on cycling from May to September. He said that it was a voluntary ban. That’s a new oxymoron, one I’ve not heard before.

What a load of rubbish I thought.

Back home a few days later and my wife google’d cycling Snowdon, and fair enough there is a voluntary ban, although all cyclists must be off the path by 10am. The last two we saw most definitely were not.

What got me though, is why would you want to cycle Snowdon on a Saturday in the middle of the summer when there are many hundreds of people walking up the mountain. Trying to cycle through people is an absolute pain, I want to be able to go fast, and not have to stop every couple of seconds for walkers. The voluntary ban could be revoked at any time if cyclists don’t slow down or move out of the way.

As a cyclist, I think Snowdon should be for walkers only in the summer, definitely at a weekend, especially as there are so many other really great places to cycle in North Wales.

Walking Snowdon

A long weekend away camping in north Wales, what could possibly go wrong. The two hour journey took nearly five because of accidents, I forgot the inflatable mattress and the campsite was horrible. We stayed one night, ignored the festival toilets and the scary fight at 3am, packed up and drove to Llanberis.

Even though one of the biggest triathlons in Wales is based there, and the Brutal, I’ve never been. Looked like a nice little town, dominated by the mountain railway, which was completely sold out for the whole of August, even at nearly £40 for a return ticket. We wisely decided to walk up instead, along with hundreds of others. The weather was perfect, clear sky, no rain and not too warm.

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Walking from Llanberis is the most popular route, but not the shortest. It wasn’t like when I hiked up Scafell on a foggy day and didn’t see a single person. Snowdon was busy. Too busy to go to the actual summit, which was a teeming mass of people, with a queue almost down to the summit cafe, most of them taking selfies.

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Nelly enjoyed it as well, although she did want to know what the hell that train was. Nelly is the English Pointer.

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Helen, my beautiful wife, also enjoyed the walk. Just under 9 miles which took us about four and a half hours. We stopped often and took our time, although all three of us were tired as we walked back into Llanberis.

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I would definitely like to go back to the area, hopefully with a bike and explore some of the great hills. Also, at some point I need to walk up Ben Nevis so that I have the full set. We’ve cycled through Fort William and looked up into the mist where Ben Nevis probably was, but we didn’t have the time to walk up. Next time.