Snowdon in Autumn

Snowdon in Autumn

We said we would return and here were are, back at SNOWDON LODGE GROUP HOSTEL in Tremadog.  The hostel is lined up for a refurb, but the rooms are generous and well equipped, the furniture comfy and the heating on.  For a just  under £17 a person its good value to have  this solid old house to ourselves.   Snowdon Lodge has a great location.  It is situated in the centre of the  village of Tremadog, well known for a wide variety of climbs and  its gentle micro climate.  On the  softer  side of  the Snowdonia Mountains and close to the sea,  Tremadog is 30 mins from the ascent of Snowdon and 20-40 mins from the seaside towns and villages on the Llyn Peninsula.  This website shows the location of Snowdon Lodge and other hostels and bunkhouses in Snowdonia.

Porthmadog Estuary view, close to Snowdon
Porthmadog Estuary view, close to Snowdon

It is the end of October and we were blessed with three days of glorious of weather.  On arrival a quick trip to Porthmadog to stock up at the supermarket ended with a walk along the harbour with stunning views up the estuary, where the Festiniog railway starts its journey into Snowdonia.

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Crib Goch Route up Snowdon

We planned to climb  Snowdon the next day, blessed with warm temperatures, clear skies and absolutely no wind, if there was ever a day to do the Crib Goch route, this was it.  Up and out early we were on the mountain by 9am, conscious that on a short autumn day we could well be coming down in the dark.  The route was demanding, nearly climbing in places,  made more of a nervous scramble by the open aspect and long drops.  In this glorious weather the mountain was placid and the views were stunning as we traversed the razor sharp edge.  This would be a dangerous scramble in wind or cold weather, a reduction in visibility would make finding the best route through the pinnacles and buttresses difficult and ice or wind would be lethal.  We reached the top of Snowdon around 2pm, and followed the crowd back down along the Pyg Track, a man made rocky pavement which descends the mountain from summit to car park.   Down with a little light to spare we rewarded ourselves with spag bog and chocolate cake back at Snowdon Lodge.  Then an evening in the lounge around the log burner.

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Chocolate cake at Snowdon Lodge

The next day we visited Portmeirion, a strange toy town built to resemble a pretty Italian town by Clough Williams-Ellis.  The houses are all to scale but not quite life sized although they are large enough to go inside, in fact many of them are holiday cottages.

Portmeirion, close to Snowdon
Portmeirion, close to Snowdon

The setting is stunning.  Built in woodland along the side of an estuary, there is a water’s edge promenade and an arboretum of  unusual trees.  As we climbed the wooded hillside back to the village the water could be seen glittering through the trees.

Amazing trees at Portmeirion, close to Snowdon
Amazing trees at Portmeirion, close to Snowdon

We spent a few hours on the estuary beaches and many more exploring the woods and houses with a  visit to the coffee shop for ice cream.  That night it was stew and mashed potatoes followed by banana loaf, then a few minutes’ night air to the local pubs.  There are two pubs in Tremadog so we felt we ought to try them both!

The next day was our last full day, so we headed along  the Llyn Peninsula to a favorite beach from childhood holidays.  Abersoch is about 30 mins’ drive from Snowdon Lodge and five minutes beyond this a toll road goes down to a large south facing beach.  The beach is known from my childhood as having warm seas and being excellent for surfing due to the long shallow slope of the beach.

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Surfing on the Llyn Peninisula

I  walked the length of the beach and back splashing though the sea in my bare feet.  The children were in the water for an hour in their wet suits and one of them braved the water in her swim suit for 5 minutes.  Difficult to believe it was 31st October.   Back to Snowdon Lodge to scare the children.  It was Halloween and the teenagers were anxious to prove they could not be frightened.  We had the perfect venue, an old house, plenty of hidden adults to grab at ankles from under the beds and the lights turned off!   It was a Halloween we will all remember.

Halloween at Snowdon Lodge
Halloween at Snowdon Lodge

It was our last day and the sun shone like summer.  We decided to spend one last day in the heart of Snowdonia before going home.  Parking at Idwal Cottage, 40 mins’ drive from Snowdon Lodge, we walked up another man made pavement to the corrie on Tryfan.    This is an easy 20 mins’ walk into a mountain landscape, having had the benefit of driving to a good height by car.  Once at the corrie some of us climbed, some lay in the sun.

Climbing the slabs by the lake on Tryfan in Snowdonia
Climbing the slabs by the corrie lake on Tryfan in Snowdonia

No one wanted go to home.  The shadow of the mountain covered the whole corrie by 4pm and we reluctantly wandered back to the cars, feeling like we were leaving summer behind.  Strangely 40 mins into the drive home we drove into a bank of fog and stayed within its damp depths all the way back to Derbyshire and for the 5 days that followed.  A real contrast to our autumn holiday by sunny Snowdon.

The lake in Tryfan corrie, Snowdonia
The lake in Tryfan corrie, Snowdonia