Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Every year I sit down and set out goals that I wish to achieve in that upcoming year. I had always dreamt of trekking a mountain with my beloved dogs. The thought of sharing such an amazing experience together meant that it was top of my list for 2018. Not only would it give me the opportunity to create beautiful memories but also to embrace my passion of landscape & pet photography along the way. I can tell you that Snowdonia National Park fulfilled those dreams and gave me so much more.
I was yet to trek a mountain in the UK and I had heard such fantastic things about Mnt. Snowdon that I had to do some research. The first item on my list was to find out if it was possible and safe for my dogs to trek with me. The simple answer is yes! That being said there are plenty of things you need to be aware of before taking your four legged friends with you. Parts of Snowdon are dangerous and your dog(s) needs to be well trained and fit to tackle the trek.
The following links have some of the information that I read before choosing my route and packing list for my dogs. Obviously you will need to check the weather (and time of year) when planning your trip along with any other research you feel necessary.
I have an 11 year old Collie (Bailey) and a 10 year old Husky (Maya) who are both well trained and fairly fit. I decided it was best to trek in June as the weather wasn't too hot for the husky and the chance of snow at the summit was slim. I selected the Snowdon Ranger Path as it was listed to be quieter with nicer views than the more popular Llanberis. Naturally, this suited my passion for landscape photography. The route is listed as one of the easiest paths which was most ideal considering this would be mine and my dogs first mountain trek together. I packed up the car with the dogs and my two childhood friends, Tom & Chris and off we went!
When I planned the trip with my friends I warned them it may take a little longer as I needed time to feed my photography addiction on the mountain. We decided to go rugged and pitched a tent at Snowdon base camp the night before the climb. The drive into Snowdonia National Park from the south towards Mnt. Snowdon is absolutely stunning. The peaks, lakes and greenery mixed with dark, rocky cliffs are in abundance. I could not have wished for a better first impression. The campsite itself is situated on a beautiful lake at the bottom of the Ranger path, perfect for our trek. We were up at at sunrise (after a solid three of hours sleep) embracing the beautiful crisp view on the lake. We grabbed a coffee, a protein bar and hit the trail just before 7am.
Now it has to be said that trekking with 2 dogs, a DSLR camera, tripod & camera gear, food & water for threes of us and a first aid kit meant that I was getting a solid work out. If you are going to pack all of the above items then you'll need a solid backpack! I bought myself a Lowepro photosport BP 300 AW II for the trip. It's a trekking pack with a dedicated camera section and space for a water bladder (camelbak). It's fantastic! It definitely ticks all the boxes and comfortably fits everything I need. I cannot recommend this backpack enough for the trekking photographer that wants something lightweight, yet sturdy.
Anyway on to the trek itself. It started with many fields of sheep. Naturally, this lived up to the stereotype of Wales I had envisaged in my mind. After further fields of sheep we hit the rocky part of the climb that winds around a beautiful lake set in the foot of the main peak. The views are simply breathtaking. Having never been to Snowdon or Wales, I really had no expectations for what I would find. But honestly, if you are passionate about the great outdoors then I cannot recommend Snowdon enough. As naive as it sounds, I had no idea that Wales held such incredible landscape and astonishing terrain. As we neared the top, the cliffs became steeper and the views became more vast and extraordinary with each step.
Finally, we made it to the summit. Frustratingly, the three strapping young lads looked worse for wear and the dogs looked like they could run up down another ten times. We took pictures together at the peak and enjoyed a packed lunch with possibly my favourite ever view. On the way back down we took our time so I could complete my photography mission and record the vast, stunning views from the Ranger path.
That evening we headed to the local pub for a much deserved pint and dinner with the dogs. We finally tucked into our sleeping bags after enjoying the sunset and I remember feeling content with the fact I had just achieved my goal with my dearly loved dogs and two best friends.
In a nutshell; if you love the great outdoors then you need to visit Mnt. Snowdon. If you love photography then take your camera gear with you. If you have dogs that are fit enough for the climb (and you're silly enough to do it all together) then pack them in the car too!
I'm so grateful for the weekend we spent together, the memories that were made and the pictures that were taken as a result. I hope you enjoy the gallery below.