Friday, May 22, 2009

Snowdonia, Wales, UK: 11-12 April 2009

Eryri (Snowdonia in Welsh) - Eryr (Eagle) or Highlands

The English name for Snowdonia derives from Snowdon, which is the highest mountain in Wales and England at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft). Many of the hikers in the area concentrate on Snowdon itself. It is regarded as a fine mountain, but can become quite crowded, particularly with the Snowdon Mountain Railway running to the summit. There are many path from easy to difficult, which takes from 5-8 hours return for the hikers to walk up to the summit. Unfortunately, i wasn't well on that day and the railway had too many people, so we did not go to the summit.

We did camping at one of the camp sites at Llanberis. At this time of the year, it is still quite cold and the camp sites had suprisingly many campers. At night, it was very very very cold. We had to bury ourselves in the blanket totally. The camp ground we got was not flat and sleeping on a slope wasn't that comfortable as well. But the views were good.

Snowdon Mountain Railway on the way to the summit. But in fact, at this time of the year, the steam train did not go to the summit, it stopped a few miles below. Some hikers think the rail track and train spoiled the natural views, but i think this is actually a good way for some people who aren't fit to walk up all the way, to enjoy the view and the feelings of "top of the world".

A small walk to some of the smaller hills could provide quite a good views of the surrounding as well.

Snowdonia used to be a mining place for slate. The slate mining closed down due to the running cost. It is said, the slate from this region can last as long as 200 years. The slate museum provides interesting displays of the tools and technologies people used years ago in the mining. The museum staff, an ex-miner, showed the visitor how the miner separates or cut the slate.

People holding advanced diving license can don into the lake to explore the old mining facilities now hidden under the water.

Snowdonia was our last tourist stop before we moved away from Wales. I was a bit disappointed with the views. In my mind, i always imagining trees on the mountain, but for almost all mountains or hills that we had been in England or Wales, there are basically no trees, just grassland for sheep or cows grazing. Even at the cold North East of Canada, there are still many trees on the mountains. So i suspected that, weather is not an issue. All the trees here probably had been chopped down long time ago to support the energy needs of the mining industries.