There is a PHOTO GALLERY here .. with lots of photos and captions
That said, what do I think of Snowdonia, and of the Cicerone Snowdonia Way guide and the two routes it contains? Well, all of them have plus points and minus points:
Points in favour:
- Snowdonia National Park and its environs certainly are highly scenic and attractive areas, worth a visit in anyone's money
- They include some proper hill walking, climbing and scrambling.. proper mountaineering too, if one is so inclined
- The Snowdonia Way guidebook is well written, concise but not overly so. I could find no fault with it, apart from a couple of trivial points
- The two routes are distinct and different. The lower route is suitable for any walker, but you will get only distant glimpses of Snowdonia proper. The mountain route on the other hand has some quite hard days and some quite difficult navigation, especially in poor visibility. But most of Snowdonia's higher points are included.
- It is good that the routes overlap and can be intermingled according to preference (or the weather)
- The Snowdon massif was impressive and enjoyable, despite the crowds. It helped that it was sunny then!
- It is fair to say that despite its popularity, much of Snowdonia really is not well geared to tourists and visitors. Of the towns I visited, some (Dolgellau, Colwyn, Machynlleth) were welcoming and had good facilities. Some on the other hand, (Beddgelert, Penrhindeudraeth, Bethesda, Trawsfynydd) were not, and I have to say made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I will avoid these places in future. If you intend staying or eating in any of them, I recommend that you book up in advance, or use campsites, which are plentiful and tend to be friendlier and more flexible.
- The weather! Crib Goch according to Wikipedia is the wettest place in the whole of the United Kingdom, with over 176" rain per year .. 1/2" day on average! I was lucky there, but over the sixteen days it rained on every day but three. In July! It will rain a lot, in Snowdonia..
In summary, I definitely would recommend Snowdonia and the Snowdonia Way. You will have to be philosophical about the weather, and it will be best to book accommodation and meals in advance if you can, or use campsites. My turn-up-and-see approach did not work very well for me.
I stayed at, or ate at, or visited, the following establishments. I have done reviews of most of them on the invaluable Tripadvisor, and posted links to them below:
Dolgeylynen B&B, Machynlleth (Elinor)
Torrent Walk Hotel, Dolgellau
Tafarn y Gader Tapas, Dolgellau
Cross Foxes Hotel, Trawsfynydd
Cae Adda campsite, Trawsfynydd
Busy Bees Caffi, Penrhindeudraeth
National Trust campsite, Hafod-y-llan
Victoria Bunkhouse, Bethesda
Y Llangollen gastro pub, Bethesda
Bryn Guesthouse, Conwy (Alison)
Erskine Arms, Conwy
Castle Hotel, Conwy
Joys of Life, Bethesda
Campsite, Nant Peris
Vaynol Arms, Nant Peris
Royal Goat Hotel, Beddgelert
Tanronnen Inn, Beddgelert
White Lion, Machynlleth
Of all the above, the best hotel was the Torrent Walk, the best campsite was Cae Adda, and the best B&B was the Bryn, in Conwy. Easily the worst hotel was the Royal Goat. I wouldn't say I had a bad campsite or B&B, one or two of the pubs were perhaps a bit iffy.
Well that's it for the Snowdonia Way. I have some unfinished business here, in particular a wish to go over the rest of the Glyders and the Carneddau in good weather, and to go to the top of Cader Idris. So one day I will return.. in the meantime I have also done a brief equipment review.
If you have any questions, please do get in touch.. you can comment on any of these pages, and it will get to me. If you include an email address, I will reply to that