Another busy ‘summer’ season has come to a close on Snowdon. You can tie in ‘summer’ with the opening and closing of the Snowdon Mountain Railway in many respects.
And no sooner has the summit visitor centre shut and the Snowdon Mountain Railway train has stopped running as of 30 October, November snow descends upon the summit, making the mountain feel very wintry indeed.
2016 – the busiest to date on Yr Wyddfa?
It certainly felt like that at times, with many reports of consistently busy weekends both in and out of school and bank holiday times from wardens, Mountain Rescue team members and Mountain Leaders working on the mountain, used to its weekly and daily patterns and rhythms.
Certainly the parking situations around the mountain on some weekends would suggest that more walkers were trying to access the paths than ever before. Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team received 43 call outs in August alone, averaging more than one a day.
Since 2014, Kate has supported this project by volunteering herself, as it’s a great way to help ‘give something back’ to a mountain that sometimes can suffer from its own popularity.
A general day for a Volunteer Warden will start at 0830 at the Warden’s Office at Pen y Pass – where the car park is usually full by 0700 on a busy weekend.
Volunteer wardens support permanent and season wardens on Saturdays and Sundays from April – October and there’s a really efficient online system to help manage sign-ups for the days you choose. We meet in the warden’s office and there’s always a chance to practise ‘siarad Cymraeg’ (speaking Welsh) as we plan who’s going to patrol which path.
The volunteer wardens tend to focus their operations on the busiest paths – Llanberis Path, Miners Track and Pyg Track – although we all felt the Snowdon Ranger Path was very busy this year, too!
A really important aspect of the role is to be a positive presence on the hill, able to give information and advice where needed and be a support to walkers should they need it.
This is particularly noticeable around the summit area and Bwlch Glas, certainly on poorer weather days, when some people ask to check which way to descend back to where they started from.
Another really helpful part of the volunteer warden role is keeping on top of keeping the paths clear of litter and debris. The team collected approx. 350 small bags of litter over the season – so that’s a lot of litter that’s not left on the mountain all season.
When the paths are kept clear, then people are less likely to add an item or two. Of course, some litter is dropped by accident, but some people do leave litter on purpose, so wardens are there to help educate and advise people to take their litter back down the mountain with them, in their rucksack.
For anyone that is locally based in North Wales and has relevant skills and experience to enjoy being a volunteer warden on Snowdon, contact Snowdon warden Carwyn ap Myrddin for more information and to register your interest for helping next season.