Part I: Lancaster to Llanberis
After packing, checking and repacking our bags, probably more times than necessary, we were ready to go. We caught a busy West Coast train from Lancaster to Warrington, and then one to Llandudno Junction. This was also busy, and we were stood up for a good while, but eventually got a seat. The final, and shortest, leg of the train journey took us from Llandudno to Bangor!
We took a taxi (*tacsi) from Bangor to Llanberis, in Snowdonia National Park.
All in all our journey took just under 4 hours, and we arrived in Llanberis around 4pm, giving us 8 hours to fill before meeting our guides.
The village of Llanberis, sits on the southern shore of Llyn Padarn and at the foot of Snowdon. Llyn Padarn is one of the twin lakes that cut through the mountain range creating the Llanberis Pass, the other lake is Llyn Peris.
We sat for a while by the side of Llyn Padarn, eating our packed lunch in the tranquil surroundings, and taking in the stunning views.
After lunch we took a stroll along the side of the lake, made sure we knew where we needed to meet the guides for the climb and then followed a footpath through some lovely countryside, with only sheep for company!
The tower in the photo on the right may be Dolbadarn Castle, but I can’t say for certain, as it was situated on a hill and we didn’t want to be climbing hills before starting up Snowdon!
We returned to the road via Padarn Country Park (*Parc Gwledig Padarn) carpark and walked back towards the main road.
We sat in the ‘square’ at the side of the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station, soaking up the atmosphere and watching groups of walkers returning from their trip to the summit of Snowdon while others were about to set off on their climb.
We took a gentle stroll up through the village, looking at the sights and spending time trying to work out how to pronounce many of the Welsh words that were on signposts, shops and hotels, as most were written in both Welsh and English.
We spent a delightful evening outside the Padarn Hotel with a soft drink, moving inside for coffee when the temperature started dropping. As the hotel bar closed at 10pm we moved a little further down the road and settled into a corner of the Y Gwynedd Inn to wait for midnight.
Listening to people passing by and spending time in both establishments, it was obvious that Welsh is the main language spoken in Llanberis.
As midnight approached, we set off to the meeting point, outside the Electric Mountain Visitors Centre.
We were the first to arrive, but as others arrived, things got confusing fairly quickly as it became obvious there was more than one group meeting up at the same place, and we panicked a bit as we struggled to find our group. However, we finally managed to get together with the guides, and the rest of the climbers, for our walk to the summit!
To be continued…