Protecting the Peaks Together

All posts by: Helen Pye

Snowdon Race

The Snowdon Race is a big day for Llanberis and the surrounding area each year. Hundreds turn out to watch and support the runners starting from the village and to cheer them on their way back down to finish. Many are also seen on the Llanberis path towards Snowdon summit to have a close look at the runners as they do their best to cope with the harsh elements of the race on the mountain. Read more

Volunteer Wardens return on Snowdon!

We’re very fortunate here on Snowdon to have a team of Volunteer Wardens and we were delighted to welcome them back early this year for Easter and the new season ahead!

The role of a Volunteer Warden is diverse with every day different to the next. It can be challenging at times especially in extreme weather! The role includes providing information, advice regarding route choice and the importance of safety on the mountain whilst out on the busiest paths. They also do some path maintenance and litter picks which goes a long way towards reducing the problem.

Some have been with us from the start but it’s also great to welcome new faces to the team!

This year there’s ten new Volunteer Wardens joining the team so before Easter we had a day to welcome everyone and provide some training whilst out on the mountain.

It was great to see the Volunteer Wardens that’s been with us from the start sharing their experiences with the new group. We had a few scenarios whilst out in different locations on our journey. This included providing information to a group at Bwlch y Moch regarding the conditions on Grib Goch and talking to mountain bikers by Llyn Llydaw about the voluntary agreement on Snowdon.

We really appreciate all their efforts and commitments here on Snowdon and we look forward to working with them in the new season and hopefully years to come!

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“Winter is Coming!”

Rhys Wheldon-Roberts from the Winter Conditions Reporting Team

By Rhys Wheldon-Roberts – Assistant Area Warden on Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park Authority

Autumn and winter brings a very different feel to Snowdon. By the time November arrives many of the things that add to the hustle and bustle of Spring and Summer have gone: the train and Hafod Eryri (summit building) have closed, most of the mountain birds are either gone or quiet and the number of hill walkers are now much less. However work continues on Snowdon throughout the year and late autumn gives the Wardens and Estate workers a timely window, between the busyness of summer and the snow of winter, to do some much needed repair work to the paths.

The PyG track in winter conditions
The PyG track in winter conditions

November marks the start of our Ground Condition Reporting which report on the winter conditions on Snowdon throughout the winter. The Wardens head up Snowdon to assess the snow conditions with the aim of compiling a simple report, for the public, of what the conditions are like. In addition the the conditions the Wardens will give some basic advice on what sort of equipment the conditions dictate. These reports are compiled 3 to 4 times a week and are submitted to the Met Office to display on their Mountain Forecasts.

The mountains are very different place in winter, the weather conditions and short days combine to make a hike a much more serious undertaking. Taking a look at the forecasts is essential for an enjoyable day in the mountains, as is the appropriate kit.

For information on the latest mountain weather forecasts you can visit:

Or follow the Ground Condition Reports on Twitter: @snowdonweather, @MountainSafe

For guidance on winter walking see:

Work to begin on Ben Nevis Mountain Path

Path Signs

Press Release: From the Nevis Landscape Partnership

Vital work has begun this week on Britain’s highest mountain to upgrade and repair over three kilometres of the Ben Nevis Mountain Path. This ambitious project will stabilise and improve over half the total length of the track between Achintee and St. John’s Wall as part of a £1m project lead by Nevis Landscape Partnership and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

In total the work will take three years to complete, with this year’s contracts running from now until March 2016 to avoid the mountain’s extremely busy spring/summer period. The work carried out each year will dramatically improve this world class route.

The work sites present major safety considerations, both for the contractors and the people using the path during the construction phase, due to the steep cross‐slope that the path is benched into which zig- zags up the mountain. Walkers may wish to consider alternative routes up the Ben during the this period such as starting at the North Face car park, however those choosing to take the Mountain Path should be aware of the works and follow the bypasses and instructions from the on-site contractors. We would also like to advise extreme caution for any night climbs or descents using the Ben Nevis Mountain Path during the construction period.

The Ben Nevis Mountain Path is an extremely popular and well-used route and very much in need of these works to improve long-term stability of the path and reduce erosion. Ben Nevis visitor numbers are in excess of 100,000 annually and in addition to individual walkers there is an ever-growing number of charity climbs, challenge events and Three Peak groups. The lower Ben Nevis Mountain path is currently in a very poor condition and we need to take action now in order to safeguard the mountain path for future generations to enjoy. One way to alleviate unnecessary pressure is to ensure you register your group events with The Three Peaks Partnership or Ben Nevis Visitor Centre.

Cathy Mayne, Scottish Natural Heritage said,

“We are delighted that work on this iconic and much-used path is now underway. The team from the Nevis Landscape Partnership have worked hard to put together an excellent package of contractors, working through the winter to limit the impact on public access to our highest mountain.”

Lizzie Cooper, Nevis Landscape Partnership said,“We are extremely grateful to our funders for their commitment to the repair and upgrading of the Ben Nevis Mountain Path, it will make a huge difference to this mountain route and help reduce erosion. However, all mountain paths need ongoing maintenance to keep them in good condition, so we would encourage all those who want to help look after our iconic mountain to sign up for a volunteer footpath work party with Friends of Nevis and John Muir Trust. It is a truly amazing experience, if not a little addictive!”

To find out more about the work going on and around Ben Nevis, and how you can get involved and support it go to


The Nevis Landscape Partnership Program is a 5 year £3.9m scheme, consisting of 19 projects aiming to encourage the public to engage with the natural and cultural environment of both Ben and Glen Nevis. Across the program there are opportunities for people get involved through volunteering, school participation, experience events and training opportunities. In addition we have a major ‘leave no trace’ interpretation project to promote sustainable use of the area.

Our key partners are: Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, John Muir Trust & The Nevis Partnership who are the host organisation for the programme. In addition we have a number of smaller funders feeding into specific projects.

For further information contact Freja MacDougall, Communications / 07979671806 / 01397 701088

What it Takes to Look After a Mountain

Although we like to make it look like the mountain manages itself, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes on Snowdon. The 450,000 walkers a year ascending on foot to the highest point in Wales bring huge benefits to the local area, but also huge pressures. As Snowdonia National Park Wardens our job is to look after the mountain and the people who use it. We protect the landscape and wildlife but also work to ensure that the people who visit the mountain have a great time.

Here’s a few facts on how much people-power it take to look after Snowdon:

  • 1 x full time Warden
  • 1 x full time assistant Warden
  • 1 x seasonal warden
  • 1 x Pen y Pass site manager
  • 1 x Pen y Pass car park attendant
  • 8 x footpath workers full time through the summer months
  • 20 x volunteer wardens

Phew! And that’s just the staff and volunteers who work for Snowdonia National Park!

Here are some pics of some of the things we get up to day to day on the mountain:

A helicopter lifting stone for essential footpath work on the Snowdon Ranger  path
A helicopter lifting stone for essential footpath work on the Snowdon Ranger
The footpath team braving the weather to move aggregate for for lowland path repairs
The footpath team braving the weather to move aggregate for for lowland path repairs
A training day for the volunteer warden team
A training day for the volunteer warden team
Making the final edits to the new Snowdon map
Making the final edits to the new Snowdon map
Warden Rhys Wheldon leading a litter pick with the Snowdonia Society
Warden Rhys Wheldon leading a litter pick with the Snowdonia Society
Our daily report at the bottom of the PyG track
Our daily report at the bottom of the PyG track
Snowdon Race
Marshalling at Bwlch Glas during the International Snowdon Race
Gate Repairs
Warden Rhys Wheldon replacing a broken gate post – muddy work!


Snowdon: Grafters and Doughnuts

Volunteers and Warden Helen Pye on the PyG Track
Volunteers and Warden Helen Pye on the PyG Track. Photo by Dan Lane

On the weekend we embarked on a major challenge – carrying out repairs and maintenance on all three mountains of the Three Peaks Challenge. Sarah Lewis from the John Muir Trust has written a great blog on their adventures on Ben Nevis, there’s an update coming soon from Scafell Pike and here’s a little update on our adventures on Snowdon.

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PRESS RELEASE: An essential bit of kit for Three Peaks Challengers

Three Peaks Challengers Invited to use an Essential Bit of Kit

Three co-ordinated Mountain Care days are being held across the highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales this weekend to highlight the launch of a new piece of ‘kit’ for charity challengers.

The new kit won’t be found on the slopes of the nation’s favourite mountains, but online, as a central resource with useful route maps, environmental information, health and safety tips and a simple one stop registration process.

Thousands of people each year scale Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon, with many trying to summit all three peaks in one trip. The longer days of summer see numbers taking part rising dramatically, with consequent impacts on the paths and nearby communities.

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