8.20am on Saturday we pulled up to the car park at Pen Y Pass to head up for an early morning run of the Snowdon Horseshoe. We figured we’d be among the first setting off and therefore not have to bypass people on Crib Goch. After all it was a sunny day with plenty of daylight so no need for walkers to get an early start.
It was full!
Full at 8.20am. What’s happening? Why do so many people need to be there at 8.20 in the morning? Presumably to bag a car parking spot! So we drove down the pass to go park in the layby by the Cromlech boulders.
It was full too!
As was the next layby down.
We finally found two spots in the bottom of the layby’s. Which meant a hell of a slog up past Cyrn Las to get onto the Horseshoe. By the time we got to the Bwlch there was a crocodile of people coming off the pinnacles so we opted to skip going back up onto Crib Goch and headed right instead. At least we managed to get the hop on most, barely seeing anybody for the rest of the day.
It’s a strange state of affairs when you can’t park at Pen Y Pass at 8.20 on a Saturday. It must be a very frustrating set of affairs for anybody wanting to climb a route on any of the Llanberis crags! You have two options: camp by the boulders, or get dropped off (it is possible to get the bus in from either Beddgelert or Llanberis, but we all know the frustrations of missing the last bus back to the car.
I’d suggest that something needs doing to spread the load within Snowdonia, pulling people away from Snowdon onto some of the other peaks which are equally beautiful, and, on Saturday, were probably largely deserted. That and a decent park and ride service implementing. I never thought I’d think this, but I can see some sort of American-style national park restricted access setup in the not too distant future if everybody keeps focusing solely on Snowdon.