Woody, Hen, foster dog Snoop and I recently took a trip to see our friends Cockapoo Marley upcountry. During our stay, we travelled to North Wales to climb Mount Snowdon with the dogs. I’d never climbed a mountain before, let alone with 3 dogs, so was eager to take on the challenge! We took the Miner’s Track, which joins the Pyg Track for a steep ascent to the summit. The route is completely dog friendly and we had a whale of a time. We’ve definitely caught the mountaineering bug!
The Miner’s Track is an 8 mile walk, which starts at the Pen y Pass car park. It cost around £10 to park there for the whole day and the hike takes around 6 hours to complete. The paths are well maintained and flat at the beginning, however you will have to clamber over loose rocks and sharp steps in places. I highly recommend wearing sensible footwear when climbing snowdon with dogs. Though I did complete this hike in trainers (I need to find myself some proper approach/hiking shoes, fast!)
The dogs remained on lead for the majority of the walk. I used my EzyDog Road Runner lead, which straps around my waist and keeps my hands free. It’s incredibly useful for climbing Snowdon with dogs, as I did have to use my arms to steady myself in places! I also used a lead coupler from Pets at Home to attach Woody and Hen. Snoop’s lead slipped through my waist belt, which worked incredibly well. I was slightly anxious about walking with 3 dogs attached to me, however they all did amazingly and were so well behaved throughout.
Mable, the 6 month old cockapoo puppy, travelled in style. Her owners tucked her into their backpack for the majority of the tip, as she’s still too young to walk long distances herself. She was as good as gold throughout the hike and super cute too, popping her head out the side to take in all the views!
Woody carried the majority of the dogs’ supplies during our hike. It was a great opportunity to properly test out our Ruffwear Palisades Pack. He happily carried 1 litre of water (split into two bladders, so the weight was evenly distributed,) a collapsible bowl and a couple of bags of treats. I also packed poo bags, a few first aid items and some paw balm just in case. Equafleeces and Ruff and Tumble Dog Coats were left in the car, which was great because we didn’t use them and they would have just been unnecessary weight!
I completely forgot to pack snacks for myself! When we reached the summit, I treated myself to a ridiculously overpriced Snicker and Twix bar to celebrate. That’s right, there’s a vending machine and café at the top of Snowdon! You can even catch a train up to the summit if you prefer, the service has been operating since 1896 and is the only rack and pinion railway in the UK.
The Miner’s Track takes you through some beautiful lakes and causeways en route. There are plenty of old mining ruins too, including crushing mills and barracks where miner’s stayed during the working week. You’ll pass some pipes along this route too, which supplies water from Llyn Llydaw to Cwm Dyli hydro-electric power station in Nant Gwynant (the oldest power station in Britain!)
Mount Snowdon stands at 1,085 m tall. The Miner’s Track starts at 359m above sea level, so we technically only climbed 723m but that was definitely plenty! The descent was much more challenging with the dogs. They wanted to run back the entire way! I did let them off lead during the steepest sections. It was the far safer option for everyone involved…
There are a few hazards en route, including the obvious steep drops, as well as livestock. We passed Mountain Rescue on our way to the summit. They were called out to a hiker who had taken a substantial fall. It’s really important to stick within your ability, especially when hiking with dogs, as there’s so much that can potentially go wrong! You need to take care of yourself first, so you can look after your dogs. I was fully aware that if I fell at any point, the dogs would be falling with me. Walking in a group with Cockapoo Marley and her owners definitely helped. We all walked at our own paces but kept a close eye on one another.
We also encountered sheep on our walk. Woody unfortunately found one off lead before I did… Luckily I managed to catch him but it was a firm ‘all dogs on leads’ rule after that! I’m fully aware of the laws around dogs and livestock and didn’t want to take any more chances. I’d highly advise keeping everyone on lead while climbing Snowdon with dogs, as sheep did have a tendency to creep up on us!
Have you climbed Snowdon before? What are your tips for hiking and mountaineering with dogs?
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