Monday, August 2, 2010

Living the high-life in Northern Wales - Snowden

Mount Snowden is the highest mountain in Wales, at 1070 metres, and lies in snowdonia national park in northern wales. The area is a lush mountainous area rich in history, littered with historic stonework and buildings, castles and ruins.

Snowden mountain is part of an impressive horseshoe ridge, which encircles a lake. Every July a classic fell race is held on Snowden. The race is a 10 mile 'out and back' route from the town of Llanberis, at the foot of the mountain, to the summit and back.

Sadly i haven't had the opportunity to race Snowden yet, since one has to get in quick to get entry. However, i got my chance to run the Snowden race route on Saturday morning, en route to a wedding nearby.

The route starts in the village of Llanberis, and traverses an ascending ridge that rises to adjoin the Snowden horseshoe ridge. The trail runs alongside a railway line, upon which a small engine transports tourists backwards and forwards between Llanberis and the Snowden summit all day. The route is steep, so the train travels at approximately the same pace as I was running up the trail, though it zig zags up the mountain and ducks in and out of tunnels.

The climb was entirely runnable, though was steep and challenging in parts (especially the day after a marathon interval session!) and fairly rocky. The summit was cold and windy, so when i arrived at the summit after 57 minutes, i checked my watch and immediately began my descent.
The descent was fast and exhilarating, made even more exciting by the complication of having to weave through copious numbers of hill walkers whilst hurtling down the mountain. Great fun. Descended in 29 minutes. Total time 1:26:59. Here is the Garmin run report and map of route:

From there, I rejoined forces with Alison and her folks and retreated to Ruthin Castle (our residence for the weekend, built in the 12th century) to scrub up for the wedding. Thus experiencing the more civilised side of life in north-west Wales.

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