Let Running Fitness take you on a journey to discover some of Britain’s most spectacular mountains, forests and coastal trails, perfect for a wild run
My first experience of running in the shadows of the great mountains of northern Wales was the Snowdonia Marathon. It was my first marathon of any sort and an amazing introduction to the distance, racing mainly on the roads surrounding Snowdon with steep ascents, long, fast descents and a bit of trail thrown in for excitement. I’ve since run more than 50 races of marathon distance and further, but the race, the place and the pain of those final miles has stuck with me. I highly recommend it.
We have been back to Snowdonia many times. It’s a favourite place to lose ourselves in the mountains – running, walking and rock climbing. The great ridges of the Carneddau and Glyderau are exhilarating and there are the classic challenges of the 1,000-metre and 3,000-foot peaks.
The Snowdon Horseshoe is an outstanding route of about seven miles. There are epic races here, including the Welsh 1,000m Peaks Race that starts at Abergwyngregyn, near the foreshore of Conwy Bay, and finishes on the summit of Snowdon taking in all five 1,000 metre peaks en route. The Snowdon Race follows the classic route up Llanberis Path.
The Llanberis Path is the longest route with the easiest gradient for running up the mountain, but if you’re looking for something a bit different then there are some great alternatives. The Miners’ Track is the most popular route and takes in the two lakes of Llyn Teyrn and Llyn Llydaw.
The Pyg Track is short and steep and – for the adventurous – splitting off from the Pyg Track at Bwlch y Moch takes you to Crib Goch, a breathtaking scramble that’s a serious undertaking, especially in poor weather.
The Snowdon Ranger
Path begins at the youth hostel beside Llyn Cwellyn, to the west of Snowdon. It starts with a series of zigzags up the grassy hillside before climbing up to – and following – the ridge above the awe-inspiring crag of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu.
It joins several of the other paths just below the summit, where a rewarding hot chocolate awaits to fuel your way back down. The various routes up the mountain are generally straightforward to navigate, however it is a serious and exposed mountain so make sure you’re properly kitted-out and prepared for any weather. Even on a day that’s fine and warm at sea-level you might find icy gales blowing across the summit, and when visibility is poor it is surprisingly easy to lose your way.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway runs during the warmer months if you fancy checking out the summit without committing to the full run. There’s a huge variety of running all over Snowdonia.
Snowdon, Llanberis Path Distance: 9 miles (15km)
Start/finish: Car park, Llanberis, LL55 4TU
Terrain: Path, trail
Toughness: Moderate to challenging
Ascent: 956 metres
Good for: Ascents, classic routes
Route info: wildrunning.net/115