Yr. Wyddfa, the highest mountain in Wales, a mountain which happens to be higher than any mountain in England. It attracts crowds. Yes it is, without doubt, the busiest hill in the UK and I’m sure there can’t be many busier ones anywhere else. The national park has counted well over 600,000 people on the hill annually. The path from Llanberis carries upwards of 240,000 people and the PyG and Miners path carrying a similar number between them. But there are very few hillwalkers. Hillwalkers have learnt to avoid the summit area and the main paths, certainly at busy times.
I was privileged to lead a lovely group of people on their ascent of the mountain yesterday, a Sunday of an August Bank holiday weekend. I knew it would be busy. We actually had very quiet ascent. We went up to Bwlch Maesgwm, there was no one else on the path at all. We cut across the open hillside, using sheep trod’s to join the Snowdon Ranger Path avoiding the need to descend and reascend. There were barely a handful of people on this path. And then, the summit ridge. Busy, very busy. The summit had its queue, which has now become a bit of a feature of Yr. Wyddfa. I do find it rather fascinating. People arrive and stand in the line to get their summit shot. It’s actually quite lovely, a well-mannered, patient line of people all, in a very British way, waiting to take their turn on top. Of course this is an anathema to hillwalkers and mountaineers who have to resist the urge to just walk round the other side and disrupt the whole system. We resist the temptation out of respect for others. We also know that the summit is artificial, and by just standing next to it, you are on the highest bedrock in the land. Nip round the back, eat your lunch, surreptitiously take your summit photos next to the summit cairn and head back down.