Author Topic: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis  (Read 1106 times)

rural roamer

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Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« on: 18:16:36, 07/02/18 »
So weíve decided that instead of doing a long distance walk this year, we are going to walk the national three peaks over three separate holidays. We have a week from 7th May and so are planning on heading to Snowdon then. We will then possibly have a week in the Lakes end of June or beginning of July. Then when to do Ben Nevis? Unfortunately I canít have the middle two weeks of September as someone booked that off as soon as they were able to  >:(  (and my plan to retire hasnít materialised yet). Want to avoid the midges and the snow! Just starting to look at the paths up Snowdon, I think I would quite like to walk the Rhyd Ddu path one way. Thats as far as weíve got so any tips on routes and where to stay (probably a cottage), would be most helpful!  :)  Planning to avoid doing the actual peaks at a weekend for obvious reasons!

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #1 on: 19:49:54, 07/02/18 »
I climbed Ben Nevis two years ago, in the second week of October, in unseasonably fine weather.
Obviously it was bitterly cold on the summit, but an ascent of the Tourist path from Glen Nevis was a hard slog, and in some respects, easier than climbing Snowdon.
There was no snow, and up until the main summit plateau of the mountain, it certainly was not cold, considering it was my first time above 4000ft.

Both the Rhydd Ddu and Snowdon Ranger paths are great ways up Snowdon, considerably quieter than the mountains Northern side, and they offer a different and gentler alternative to the Pyg and Miners Path.

Several residents in the Fort William area, including one on the Isle of Skye, told me that the best times to visit the Highlands, was from early April to May,  and September and October.

The lady who owned the tea rooms on the dockside side on Skye, just opposite the Skye bridge, told me, i could almost guarantee some fine settled weather in late September early October.

The summer on Skye in 2015, was a total washout,  but on my arrival on October 9th, it was gorgeous.

I was either lucky with the weather, or the locals living in Fort William know a lot more about the weather that far North, than any of us here.


Good luck on your ventures.
« Last Edit: 19:54:06, 07/02/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

Mel

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #2 on: 20:25:24, 07/02/18 »
I got bitten to death by midges the first week in September 2016 when I spent a week in Glen Nevis with every intention of "doing The Ben".  Rumour has it there's Britain's highest mountain round those parts....I never saw it mindst because it chucked it down for the full week.


I did vow that if I was going to go to the Highlands again some day, I'd go earlier in the year (April/May time) because the midges at the beginning of September .... Were. Truly. Awful.
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #3 on: 20:32:46, 07/02/18 »
I recon October sounds a better month, even though i would have considered it a bit late in the year for climbing Ben Nevis, had i not been there before so late in the year.
The only midges ive ever encountered in Scotland, was on my trip to Dornoch.
On an outing to Ullapool, in late September, i encountered a small swarm of the blighters, and thankfully they did not stay around for long.

Until one has actually experienced the Scottish midge, one only hears stories or folklaw surrounding their viciousness.

I love my visits to the Highlands, but that quiet afternoon walking the prom in ullapool has certainly made me consider strongly,  the best times to venture North.

pdstsp

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #4 on: 20:40:02, 07/02/18 »
I love the Rhyd Ddhu path - but if it's a nice day I would think about up the South Ridge and down Rhyd Ddhu - just a thought but the views are wonderful when,  on the odd occassion, it's not peeing down.

Skip

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #5 on: 09:30:22, 08/02/18 »
. . . we are going to walk the national three peaks over three separate holidays.

A very good way to do them. It's certainly better than a mad dash to bag the lot in 24 hours. Staggering about on Scafell Pike in darkness and spending a dozen hours in a van on the motorway isn't my idea of fun  ;)

My advice is don't go to Scotland when the midgies are about. Everything you've heard about midge misery is true - only more so.

So don't head to Ben Nevis between mid-May and the end of August. In late summer midges tend to diminish as the nights get chilly and they almost disappear after the first frost of early autumn. On the other hand you may be lucky in the summer - the midge problem varies from year to year.  As to avoiding them, they prefer dawn and dusk but tend to avoid direct midday sunlight. Also, they like damp conditions and prefer still air  to even a gentle breeze.

As to routes up Ben Nevis, it depends to an extent how experienced you are. The 'Mountain Path' (formerly called the tourist path) is comparatively straightforward to navigate and easy to walk but it's lacking in 'wow' factor.  Instead, try googling the CMD (Carn Mor Dearg) route. It is described as: ". . . for experienced, fit mountain walkers who do not mind easy scrambling but are not climbers . . . the finest way up Ben Nevis" and as: ". . . contender for the title of grandest ridge walk in the country, the Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete straddles that fine line between rambling and scrambling."

The most direct route up Scafell Pike starts at Brackenclose near Wasdale Head and ascends via Hollow Stones. However, it is crowded and - in many people's opinions - a dull plod.  A more interesting route from Wasdale runs alongside Piers Gill - google for this route. As an alternative to Wasdale, you can start from Seathwaite Farm near Seatoller in Borrowdale - from here there are several good routes so a circular walk is possible - google for the Corridor Route from Styhead Pass and for the route via Grains Gill, Esk Hause and Broad Crag.

You're really spoiled for choice with Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There are at least half a dozen main routes and several more minor ones. The Llanberis Path is arguably the most straightforward but probably the dullest and most crowded. At the other extreme, the Crib Goch route is among the most challenging - it demands skill and experience but is really exhilarating. As before, google is your friend.

Hope it all goes well.


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BuzyG

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #6 on: 18:36:38, 08/02/18 »
When I climbed Ben Nevis it was late May.  Blog here

http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=32596.0

Not a Midge in sight. :)   I've been up Ullapool way in August and been eaten alive by the blighters, never had any trouble else where.

Snowdon was earlier this winter.  Blogs here.

https://z4-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=102207
https://z4-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=102219

Of the two Ben Nevis was a far greater challenge.  Though Snowdon is no pushover, for the old bones. O0

Scarfell is still there on the bucket list, waiting to be ticked off.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #7 on: 18:57:23, 08/02/18 »
I found climbing Ben Nevis from the Glen Nevis visitor carpark, very straight forward, and up until one actually reached the vast stone plateau of the mountain, there was nothing challenging about the climb.
The weather was kind, fairly mild for early October, no wind, and a little sunshine.
Having climbed the mountain, i can envisage the severity of the challenge, if the weather was unfavourable, particularly if it was windy.

There is no shelter whatsoever throughout the relentless slog, so i can imagine the climb up the tallest mountain in Britain, in poor weather, can be a serious undertaking.

Even though i was not really aware of the altitude i had gained , you simply knew you were on a much higher mountain than Snowdon.

My suggestion is to tick off Snowdon and Scafell Pike as quickly as possible, as within reason,  they are very straight forward in bad weather,  still a challenge, but due to their fairly low elevation, they pose little difficulties in poor weather, for a well equipped and dressed walker.


The moment i took my gloves off, on a totally calm Ben Nevis summit trig point,  for a photo shot, it took ages for my hands to regain their temperature.

It stands to reason, Ben Nevis will pose the stiffest challenge, if your not blessed with a fine dry day.

As we all know, guaranteeing such weather, is a bit of a lottery,  especially if your time off to climb the mountain is limited.
« Last Edit: 19:02:05, 08/02/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

rural roamer

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #8 on: 22:21:20, 08/02/18 »
Thanks for all the advice so far.
Yes I think we will definitely go for Snowdon then Scafell Pike and then leave it until September and see what the weather is doing before deciding on doing Ben Nevis. We will at least have a choice of days as in each case we hope to be there 5-7 days. If we have to leave Ben Nevis until next year so be it. In a way I would like to do the West Highland way as well while we are there.
Iím guessing that Snowdon in May is usually clear of snow but there may be a small chance of some?

clyoung

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #9 on: 23:22:15, 08/02/18 »
Haven't climbed Ben Nevis or Scafell Pike yet but when we climbed Snowdon using the Rhyd Ddu path we stayed in this cottage:

https://www.stayinwales.co.uk/detail.cfm?i=7155

Reasonably priced, great views from the garden and well placed for climbing Snowdon. You do have to travel elsewhere for a shop but if you want a quiet week of hillwalking I'd recommend it. I also did a quick walk up Mynydd Mawr from the village on my own and my husband dropped eldest and me at the far end of the Nantlle ridge so we could walk back to the cottage. Beddgelert is a short car, bus or steam train ride away.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis
« Reply #10 on: 11:58:10, 09/02/18 »
In fine settled weather, with no wind or annoying rain to spoil the outing, Ben Nevis by the Tourist path from Glen Nevis, should pose no problems for a fit walker.
There are only two real issues i can see that will not guarantee success.

Mist on the main plateau summit, and heavy rain.

Even in clear weather, i found navigation on the main rocky plateau leading to the eventual summit trig point and weather station, a bit of a challenge.
The plateau of Ben Nevis is a vast area, with numerous paths going in opposite directions.

If visibility had deteriorated whilst i was on the summit, i would easily have lost my way, and due to the colour of the granite, making out the return route was not easy, even with clear visibility ahead.

Treking up Snowdon or Scaffel Pike in poor weather is a nuisance, but do able, as the elevation of the mountain is not extreme, and distance not that far, and your way never in doubt.

I saw several walkers in totally the wrong clothing for such a high mountain, so late in the year, even a kilt was present on the summit,  but the weather, even though it was close to freezing, was dry and clear.

Had it been cloudy and damp, in hindsight i would have turned around before the main summit, as navigation above the 4000ft contour was not easy.

Try Ben Nevis in dry clear conditions, your virtually guaranteed of success.