Exploring Wales – Snowdonia with Where’s Mollie Global Travellers
“IS THIS PHOTO REAL LIFE?” I hear you exclaim. Did I go back to New Zealand for a day? No my friends, this is actually in the UK, specifically in the stunning Snowdonia National Park in North Wales at the very first Where’s Mollie Global Travellers adventure.
Last weekend, Mollie arranged for 60 of us to meet up in the mountains and climb to the tippy top of Snowdon together. I had first discovered Mollie’s travel blog through some of her videos I found whilst searching for backpacking tips. She writes very helpful, informative and honest articles on her site for travellers visiting places all over the world, and has a very engaging personality in all of her videos (it feels a bit like you’re getting advice from a big sister) – I’d recommend following along if you’re interested in travelling! When she began to build the WMGT community and announced the date for the first event, I decided to go along to meet fellow travellers and look for inspiration in the mountains. Here are some of my favourite photos and a little diary from the trip.
YHA SNOWDON BRYN GWYNANT
We stayed lakeside for the night before the hike at the beautiful YHA Snowdon Bryn Gwynant; a homely little hostel with an epic view out over the lake (complete with garden throne from which to admire the scenery). We paddled in the lake, toasted marshmallows on the fire and sipped on hot chocolate whilst chatting with new friends. On the morning of the hike there was a magical mist hovering in the air outside, scattering the hazy morning light around as if we were in a movie. The water in the lake was peaceful and still, the mountains reflected perfectly on the smooth glassy surface.
CLIMBING MOUNT SNOWDON
Following breakfast and a cup of tea or two at the hostel, we packed the cars and drove in convoy up the winding road around the edge of the lake. The car park at Pen-y-Pass was unfortunately all full up by 8.30, but we were able to park a bit further down the road and shuttle up to the starting point of the Pyg Track where the whole group was gathering before beginning the climb.
The first part of the walk had a lot of steps, so we stopped every so often for quick rest breaks and to admire adventurous sheep. Once we made it over the ridge and onto the other side of the first hill, we were met with stunning views of the lake below. We were very fortunate with the weather as the sun shone all morning, making the water below shimmer and glitter in the light on my favourite part of the walk. Here is my BADGE (it has a little watercolour mountain on it above my name, how adorable is that?)
The path started to get a little steeper as we climbed higher and higher above the lake. There were lots of opportunities along this part to get “me on a mountain” photos, so we made sure to take a few of those whilst admiring the views. I just wore leggings, trainers, and a few layers of tops, but if you do have hiking boots then they would be a good shout (especially if you’re walking in bad weather). Make sure you take lots of water and a warm, waterproof jacket just in case (I was very glad that I had this when I got to the top because it sure is moist inside a cloud).
From this point onwards, the route got very rocky until we reached the ridge at the top – I won’t pretend it wasn’t a bit of a struggle for a muggle like me who doesn’t hike very often, but we eventually made it up into the clouds and to the summit of Mount Snowdon! Here is me, standing inside a cloud. MADE IT. GOALS.
BACK DOWN TO EARTH
After a little sandwich refuel and a rest (if the skies are clear you’ll probably want to hang out up here for longer!) we began the descent down the Miners Track, which takes the same route as the Pyg track at the top before veering off to the right, following a different path down the other side of the ridge towards the lakes.
Once you make it down to the first lake, the rest of the walk is along that windy path that you saw from way up above earlier in the day, which is very peaceful. It’s a slightly longer route than the Pyg Track but the scenery is beautiful and the last part is fairly flat, so it’s a nice way to end the loop circuit. I made occasional stops along the way to film some cinemagraphs, before finally arriving back at the cafe by the car park in time for some yummy chilli with the rest of the group.
Through the event I was able to meet some really lovely people who encouraged me to make it to the summit, talked me out of sneaking onto the train to get back down, listened to my dodgy jokes and helped me with the photos of myself (yay thanks guys). I only wish that the event had been longer so we could’ve all spent an extra day together and had more time to get to know everyone! I am a fairly quiet and introverted little bean (INFJ over here) so I do find it daunting to turn up alone in the middle of nowhere and introduce myself to a big room of people I have never met before. However, after having met so many inspirational people both at the Live the Adventure Summit back in January and whilst hostel-hopping around New Zealand, I came to realise that it can be very rewarding to step out of your comfort zone and just try something different. You’re bound to meet all sorts of people, most of whom are in the same boat as you and who are more than happy to chat to you and make friends.
If you live in the UK and haven’t been to North Wales yet, add it to your list – it’s definitely worth the drive! Sometimes it can be easy to assume that in order to be “properly travelling” you need to get on a plane and fly to a far away land, someplace where there are volcanoes and glaciers or where monkeys wander the streets. If you’ve been to New Zealand and fallen in love with the mountains and lakes on the other side of the world, you’ll be able to see a lot of similarities between there and here in Snowdonia. It was very refreshing to remind myself that there are also lots of beautiful places much closer to home if you take the time to explore.
Huge thank you to Mollie and the Where’s Mollie team for organising the event, and to everyone else who attended for being so friendly and welcoming – I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one. I did make a cheeky trip to Portmeirion on my way home, so be excited for my next post because I have many, many photos of adorable coloured houses and beautiful gardens coming your way soon.
Love Marie x