You’ve probably (and if you haven’t, you can here) read about our long weekend in Snowdonia National Park early in the year. We had an incredible time exploring the area, and we’ve already booked our next trip, this time to Scotland to wild camp in the Highlands, explore the National Park and climb to the summit of Ben Nevis.
We’re aware that camping for a week and reaching the highest peak in the UK whilst carrying all our equipment is going to be quite a challenge in comparison to Mount Snowdon, but I cannot wait!
I won’t go into too much detail about our trip to Scotland right now but what I will say is, keep an eye out for our upcoming series on wild camping this summer.
Despite camping during the summer in Cornwall, I’ve never pitched a tent in the wild – potentially in snow! This will be a completely new experience for S and I, and one we will really have to make sure we are prepared for.
Before we booked, we did loads of research so we knew exactly what we were getting ourself into.
We’ve found it incredibly useful to read about what other people packed when wild camping, especially since we haven’t been to Scotland before. With that in mind, I’ve decided to put together a list of what we took to Snowdon (March 1st – 4th) for those thinking of doing the same.
Once we get back from Scotland, I’ll do the same for our trip then too – which will be significantly longer as we are going twice as long and won’t be in a toasty warm cottage!
For your feet
Invest in some appropriate footwear and you won’t regret it! I wore my leather Sorel caribou snow boots with thick thermal socks and it was the best decision I made. I really feel the cold and I knew that it was going to be a snowy (and likely wet) hike, so this felt like the best choice for Mount Snowdon. They were incredibly warm and so comfortable – not to mention, after watching Fargo, I really wanted a pair anyway.
Despite these boots not coming cheap at £79.99 a pop, I couldn’t recommend them more – I also wore these boots during our recent trip to Norway, and they’ll be coming with me to our road trip in Iceland, too. However, when we’re doing lots of walking in Scotland we’ll be taking our waterproof hiking boots that we recently got on our ‘wild camp shopping spree’.
Before I went to Reykjavik in 2014, I bought a synthetic orange bomber jacket – you’ve probably seen it in a few posts from our trips in Scandinavia. This jacket is ridiculously warm, it fits like a glove and to be honest, I’m quite a fan of bright colours. I cannot recommend more finding a coat that fits properly and keeps you warm. Go into the shops, try them on and don’t be shy to invest in something that’s going to last.
Unfortunately, like most down coats, it isn’t waterproof – whilst it’s okay in a shower, I’ve got another shell coat from Finisterre to go over the top in case the heavens open. It’s super light-weight, compact and good quality, which is perfect when you’re trying to travel light.
It’s not just about keeping dry though. It gets super cold at the summit of the highest peaks in the country, so a coat isn’t going to be enough. I recommend piling on the base layers – they make all the difference and you’ll be glad you remembered them when you’re fighting 45 mph winds.
The right equipment
I’m not saying to get all the gear when you’ve got no idea, but there are a few piece of equipment that will make your trip to the summit a little easier. Depending on which month you head to the peaks, you may need crampons and an ice axe to assist you to the top, as recommended by the warden.
You’re unlikely to need anything else since Snowdon isn’t a climb but more of a hike, you’ll be able to leave behind the ice screws and carabiners. Plenty of people walking up the mountain had hiking sticks with them, but we chose not to.
With a belly full of chocolate croissants from breakfast, we stupidly forgot to pack food when we headed off for the day. We anticipated it but I guess it was overlooked when we left the house not hungry! This was certainly a fail on our behalf but luckily we had some snacks with us and our stomachs didn’t grumble till at least half way.
Don’t be stupid – pack food and remember to take lots of water with you, especially if you go in the summer.
During our hike I started to get a bit of a headache, which is the last thing that you want 1,085 m up a mountain. I think it was down to the cold wind battering against my head and my hair freezing to my face.. but regardless, I’m just glad I had some paracetamol with me.
You shouldn’t head to the top of any peaks until you’ve broken in your shoes. I’m no mountaineering expert, but that’s hiking 101. That’s not to say that taking plasters isn’t a bad idea – they weigh nothing so why not!
I lost my mitten half way up the mountain (but found it on the way back down again). Luckily, S gave me his gloves so I wouldn’t get cold hands when we slide back down, and I don’t know what I’d have done if he didn’t do that. I had a pair of normal gloves underneath my mittens to keep extra warm, but they wouldn’t have cut it.
This time, I’m not only strapping my mittens to my coat but I’m also taking a spare pair. When I eventually found my mitten, it had actually landed in an icy puddle, so I’d rather have two pairs in case something happens!
Tip for the ladies: your hair WILL get annoying. I found wearing a hat far too warm (I told you base layers and that orange bomber jacket would do the job!). But not wearing a hat meant that my hair was flying everywhere! Since I have a long fringe and hair that goes half way down my back, I regret not taking a hair band and clips.
Those optional extras
Take a camera, it’s so beautiful, you’ll 110% regret it if it you don’t. I took my phone and my Sony compact camera and S took his big, fancy DSLR. Unfortunately my phone decided to delete all my photos from my memory card so I’ve only got what I took on the compact, and even that ran out of battery on the way up!
Dependant on when you head to Mount Snowdon, you might want to take a few pennies with you. There is a cafe up the top apparently but it’s only open in the summer season when the train service is running. Obviously we went out of season, so this wasn’t open when we went.
Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂