The Snowdon Horseshoe

Snowdon Gwynedd

“The best ridge walk in southern Britain” is a bold claim, but the famous ‘Snowdon Horseshoe’ in North Wales has a strong justification for snagging the title. At 12km in length and with some 2000m of ascent, it’s a serious undertaking and you need to be a fit and experienced hill walker to take it on, but the real challenge comes in the form of Crib Goch (‘Red Ridge’) a knife-edge east-west traverse which requires the use of both hands and feet as it takes you to the summit of 1065-metre Crib-y-Ddysgl  and eventually up to the walk’s high point of 1085-metre Yr Wyddfa – otherwise known as Snowdon.

If  don't like like looking straight down drops of several hundred metres either side of your feet, Crib Goch is probably not for you – simply take one of the easier routes up Snowdon such as the Pyg Track or Miner’s Track, although this does mean you won’t be doing the Horseshoe route properly.  If you do, then you're probably the sort of person who hates the new restaurant on Snowdon’s summit (is the top of Wales’ highest mountain really the place to pop in for a quick cappuccino?). But this is soon forgotten as you set off on the second leg of your adventure, along Y Lliwedd and yet more spectacular mountain panoramas before eventually descending to your start point at Pen-y-Pass car park.With winter almost upon us the Snowdon Horseshoe will become even more of an adventure – in snowy conditions you absolutely must know how to use crampons and ice axe to safely take on Crib Goch – but in these conditions this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting winter walks you’ll find in Britain.

PS You’ll be in need of a well-earned pint when you’ve completed this walk, so drive a couple of kilometres east down the A4086 to the famous Pen-y-Gwrd Hotel, which was the base for the 1953 Everest team whilst training for the first successful ascent of the world’s highest mountain. Check out the hotel’s photos and items of equipment from the expedition over your ale…

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