Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 47 total)
  • Snowdon is dead :(
  • chevychase
    Free Member

    I live locally and had some friends over to do our annual April pre-end of voluntary agreement sunny ride on Snowdon.

    Traditional route. Up Llanberis, down Rangers, across Bwlch Maesgwm and then down ‘telegraph valley’.

    Complained a while back that the bottom end of rangers (from the turnoff to Telegraph Valley) had been ruined by the national park resurfacing in loose “motorway” material. I’m a very keen hillwalker as well as MTBer and I hate those surfaces, they feel like they may as well be tarmac – and I get into the mountains (and moved here) to get away from that sh1t in the first place.

    Anyway – they’ve done the bottom half of Llanberis in the same stuff. Makes for an easy ride to the halfway point but anyone who ever wanted to come down Llanberis – don’t. Not only is it even more dull than it used to be – it’s now more dangerous for everyone because you’ll get higher speeds due to the lack of technicality and *you can’t break* – you’ll just carry on sliding as it’s so loose.

    Came down Rangers. It was really loose (lack of footfall due to lockdowns I suspect) – so was more challenging than usual. Which was nice.

    Up to telegraph, across the top. Old surface. “Great” – or so I thought until I turned the first corner and there was the digger. The whole thing is gravelled. The water bars are buried. All the technical gone. Nearly shot off the side as I couldn’t slow down safely like I’ve always been able to.

    Now there’ll be people here who don’t care – who’ll say they never liked it or it wasn’t enough challenge for them. But Snowdon has for many years been my favourite big mountain day out on a bike this side of Scotland.

    Now it’s both dead to me on a bike AND as a walker.

    All I can say about Wales’s biggest tourist attraction is this: Don’t bother. It’s not worth it.

    bruneep
    Full Member

    Again?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11483331

    oh…

    oldnpastit
    Full Member

    Sounds like my decision to go to South Wales as soon as I can, rather than North Wales, was the right one.

    (Now I just need to work out how to improve my skills enough to ride those super-sketch descents).

    breninbeener
    Free Member

    Going up telegraph road is pretty awful too. The surface juist seems to sap power and be difficult to cross. We did it today and the easiest way up is up the grass verge on the left hand side.

    The only time ive engoyed this resurfacing was when it had snowed and frozen so the large gravel chunks stuck together.

    Ian

    nickjb
    Free Member

    Now there’ll be people here who don’t care – who’ll say they never liked it or it wasn’t enough challenge for them…

    Now it’s both dead to me on a bike AND as a walker.

    I’ve been there a few times and enjoyed it but I’m happy enough to write it off if it carries on doing a job of keeping a large group in one place and the rest of the hills pretty quiet. Still lots of great big days out to be had elsewhere.

    chevychase
    Free Member

    I don’t know @Nickjb – it’s an iconic mountain and the only other bridlewayed to buggery North Wales mountain I can think of is Cadair Idris, which is a nice out and back but not in the same league.

    Plenty of cheeky stuff but it’s a blow tbh.

    My worry is – it seems to be endemic – the lakes is slowly being nerfed and other paths are going the same way (Peak District).

    Plus, you should have this sort of stuff local, not be having to get on a plane or drive to Scotland.

    It’s a disease of the British brain IMO. The pussification of wild spaces.

    It’s not like Wales has got loads of nice little villages that attract middle-class rollers with loads of wonga like the Lake District. It’s attraction has always been that it’s a bit more wild and less manicured.

    The only thing that’s differentiating it – making it worth the journey – is rapidly being lost IMO.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I’ve ridden the classic Snowdon Llanberis – rangers – telegraph route a couple of times before Rangers was sanitised. It’s an interesting way to spend half a day and I especially liked Rangers and the ‘rocks of mordor’. Its a signature rise I guess.

    I’d already decided not to go back because of the conga-line up the main BW, queuing to get to the summit Cairn, the litter, and the smell of sewage wafting from the cafe hearing about the sanitisation just confirmed it for me.

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Opened this thread with dread that the seasonal voluntary agreement had been scrapped and a permanent ban imposed.

    peekay
    Full Member

    been ruined by the national park resurfacing in loose “motorway” material. I’m a very keen hillwalker as well as MTBer and I hate those surfaces, they feel like they may as well be tarmac – and I get into the mountains (and moved here) to get away from that sh1t in the first place

    Slightly facetious, but why not just walk 50m to the side of the track if you want a less good surface?

    If you really want to “get away from that sh1t” then maybe don’t visit Wales’ number one tourist attraction. There is a cafe near the top. You can hardly be surprised that it isn’t like the North Face of the Eiger.

    It now receives such a large number of people visiting it (including you) it has needed to be upgraded to make it sustainable (ie able to withstand the heavy foot, bike and horse traffic), it needs to be safe for the flip flop wearers, and such an obvious track that inexperienced mountain folk don’t wander off and get lost.

    Gribs
    Full Member

    I’d already decided not to go back because of the conga-line up the main BW, queuing to get to the summit Cairn, the litter, and the smell of sewage wafting from the cafe hearing about the sanitisation just confirmed it for me.

    All of that wasn’t a problem when I last rode up there. Midweek and the times of the year that agreement allows all day riding should be ok. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to try and ride it when it’s even slightly busy.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    It’s a disease of the British brain IMO. The pussification of wild spaces.

    Tend to agree.

    why not just walk 50m to the side of the track

    Wider, wider, wider…

    garage-dweller
    Full Member

    , it needs to be safe for the flip flop wearers

    I fundamentally but hopefully politely disagree.

    The height and potential exposure on a big hill or mountain means it emphatically should not be made excessively safe for half wits with no preparation.

    The success of the outdoors and growing participation is no doubt putting pressure on some of the tick box / honey pot locations and driving the need for trail armour/sanitation. The further you get from Tourist spots the more natural stuff gets back to IME but reckon we will give Snowdon a miss when in the area later this year.

    At least they can’t tarmac the sea!

    nickc
    Full Member

    means it emphatically should not be made excessively safe for half wits with no preparation.

    I understand the point you’re making, but as others have pointed out, there’s a railway (opened in the 19th C) and a cafe (opened in the ’30s).

    That ship sailed a long long time ago.

    peekay
    Full Member

    why not just walk 50m to the side of the track

    Wider, wider, wider…

    As I said, I was being a bit facetious with this comment, as path erosion and widening is a bad thing.

    But…. People want to walk on a path, but not too good a path. But not no path. Ergo a path needs to be built and maintained. And the path needs to be suitable for the number of people that want to use it.

    If you are one of the people walking on the path, you can’t complain that the path is there, and is suitable for walking on.

    It is similar to sitting in a traffic jam and complaining about traffic. You are the traffic.

    , it needs to be safe for the flip flop wearers

    I fundamentally but hopefully politely disagree.

    The height and potential exposure on a big hill or mountain means it emphatically should not be made excessively safe for half wits with no preparation.

    I generally agree with you, but it is now so popular that it has to be made like this.

    Imagine digging up the path again, scattering it with rocks, removing the steps and culverts and ripping out the signs. That unprepared family now get lost and mountain rescue need to be called out.

    Snowdon being the honeypot that it is does not mean that the rest of the mountains are closed to you.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    The UK honeypot areas are going to get hammered this summer by flip flop wearers and entitled people on MTB’s

    Sounds sensible to me, try and protect the mountains for the future, not just this summer

    thepurist
    Full Member

    Experience shows that our climate tends to win over path repairs anyway. This year it’ll be a gravel bike honeypot, so go ride your gnarrpoon somewhere else. In a few winters time the loose stuff will have either compacted or washed away, steps and features will start to appear and gradually the path gets worse/better depending on your POV.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    It’s a disease of the British brain IMO. The pussification of wild spaces.

    It happens everywhere there’s lots of people, Grandad.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Snowdon being the honeypot that it is does not mean that the rest of the mountains are closed to you.

    Excitedly awaits the posting of some alternative North Wales high mountain routes using legal bridlepaths…

    welshfarmer
    Full Member

    [strong]kelvin[/strong] wrote:

    Excitedly awaits the posting of some North Wales high mountain routes using legal bridlepaths…

    Have a browse through EGMBNs back catalogue. Should find plenty there to excite you’ Oh, hang on. You said LEGAL bridleways. Sorry scrap that 😉

    mrlebowski
    Free Member

    It’s a disease of the British brain IMO. The pussification of wild spaces.

    Some truth in this. Half the fun of getting out into the wild is the very fact that’s it’s a challenge & easing that challenge cheapens the achievement. Bit like giving everyone medals on sports day..

    molgrips
    Full Member

    The good thing about the tourist honeypots is that they keep everyone away from the either 99% of the countryside.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Very true. Unfortunately we don’t have legal access to most of that countryside on a bike, at least not in North Wales. It’s not impossible that this could change…

    rsl1
    Free Member

    Is there a trail advocacy group in Snowdonia? If not I suggest Chevychase looks at how to start one. Roych Clough in peak District had some excellent MTB friendly repairs after rushup edge (and others) were flattened and peak District MTB trail group worked on stopping it from happening again. (I’m sure there are people on here who can tell the story better than me)

    tetrode
    Full Member

    Why not try riding Crib Goch? 😉

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Unfortunately we don’t have legal access to most of that countryside on a bike, at least not in North Wales.

    Yeah, I used to visit my mate up there whilst in uni and there wasn’t that much what you’d call good biking.

    tuboflard
    Full Member

    Why not try riding Crib Goch? 😉

    Hopefully they’ll be installing a hand rail, one way system and a mid-point coffee hut on there next. It’s too dangerous as it is and definitely not safe for a family with a push chair.

    Edit. In fact I’m thinking they should build one of these on Crib Goch. Be a hit with the Insta bangers.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    If they’ve buried the water bars on Telegraph, then the surface material won’t last long. That was the whole point of the water bars. That, and inflicting punctures on hapless riders.

    P-Jay
    Free Member

    Snowdon is a funny old place, I’m not sure they actually like people visiting there, or at least people who don’t fit into a quite narrow PLU bracket.

    I notice on the news this morning that to combat people parking badly and causing “chaos” they’ve increased the cost of the official car parks to £18 and require people to book at least 24 hours ahead of time. Yes, I can see the logic to an extent, dissuade people from making an unplanned trip, but experience, certainly during Covid has made me think it will fail the law of unintended consequences and they’ll never manage to get the message out and I don’t think enough people will think “well, I’ve packed a lunch, bought / brought out walking shoes and driven 2 hours or more to climb Snowden, ah well seems I can’t park official, I’ll go home”, I don’t see it.

    As for the OP, yeah it sounds shit. I’ve fond memories of riding it 2 summers ago, even if the reaction of others was akin to seeing Garry Glitter and Rolf Harris striding down the road hand-in-hand, it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s always crap when someone loses a riding spot they love.

    nickc
    Full Member

    even if the reaction of others

    I did it in April just before the voluntary ban a few years ago. I couldn’t believe that I still had to explain to folks after all this time, that yes, I was allowed. No there was wasn’t a “Ban” ban just a part annual-just-in-these-times ban. Going down Rangers was an exercise in frustration, but I had laugh at the overweight women throwing herself off the trail (like a soldier on a grenade) while shouting “MOUNTAIN BIKER” in a way that suggested what she really wanted to shout was “BABY RAPIST”

    Won’t be back in hurry, but yeah, if it’s your spot; sympathies, must be shit

    Stainypants
    Full Member

    There’s a railway carved into to the north face of the Eiger

    peekay
    Full Member

    There’s a railway carved into to the north face of the Eiger

    Haha. You are correct. Of all the mountains in the world, that was probably the poorest example that I could have chosen

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    I saw this tread yesterday and Id already planned my Snowdon trip I wasnt phased , i went I had a good time, I even saw and chatted to the grumpy digger driver .

    Whats not to like Big mountain feel , glorious weather , no wind quiet with maybe 20 people on the mountain that I counted . Ranger path a techy boulder field challenge and yes I dabbed LOTS. A few hairy moments , Telegraph trail sanitized .. well for me it was a flat out flow , didnt care.

    Lets face it this year Snowdon will have more visitors than Katie Prices back doors so they have to do something , I dare say after the foot fall and rains in August come 1st October I may be back to how it was.. Didnt spoil it for me in the slightest

    b33k34
    Full Member

    Experience shows that our climate tends to win over path repairs anyway. This year it’ll be a gravel bike honeypot, so go ride your gnarrpoon somewhere else. In a few winters time the loose stuff will have either compacted or washed away, steps and features will start to appear and gradually the path gets worse/better depending on your POV.

    This. Garburn Pass is the one for me. It was the first ‘big pass’ I did in the Lakes when I first starting riding off road. That first trip was great but was then followed a load of really disappointing ones after sanitation where it was unridable loose gravel, or unrideable ‘crevasses’ carved out of loose gravel. Then last time we went it was a techy and fun rideable climb all the way up and a big rocky blast down the steep side.

    burko73
    Full Member

    All these threads are like someone’s deliberately gone out to irritate us mtb’ers.

    It’s amazing with really capable bikes now that can travel at a decent speed down most anything (if you’re a riding god like most of us on here) that we haven’t been banned from the shared paths network full stop.

    I was going to start a thread about it but thought it sounded a bit moaney but looking back to when I started riding mtbs in the late 80’s it was just about getting out into the countryside and going places. Brakes were bad, geometry was bad, no suspension (not even a flex stem back then), Ron hill tracksters for protection etc. You couldn’t go downhill that fast unless it was on some wide fire road or pre wind farm double track.

    It was a new sport and we got looks and moans from ramblers and horse riders etc but we weren’t really a serious safety threat. Fast forward to now and it’s a whole lot easier to buy a capable bike and want to hoon down everything. I’m sure most people are in control and can stop etc but from those on the other side, people with dogs, kids, horses, red socks etc we just look like people on scramblers hooning by, roosting loam, out of control. I’m not surprised access is a challenge. We’re not helping ourselves as a sport/ pastime.

    Perhaps the rise of the gravel bike will save us! Back to 80’s/ 90’s mtbing!

    Seriously though, our desire for more capable, faster bikes just isn’t helping our case, I’m sure. Imagine your feeling 30 yrs ago picking your way down a techy rock garden with no suspension and some idiot on a crosser hoons right down the side of you at 30 mph or more? That’s us now, at least to some other countryside users, at least minus the noise!

    RustySpanner
    Full Member

    Pfffft, all the best bits are on the other side of the valley anyway. 🙃

    molgrips
    Full Member

    You couldn’t go downhill that fast unless it was on some wide fire road or pre wind farm double track.

    It was a new sport and we got looks and moans from ramblers and horse riders etc but we weren’t really a serious safety threat.

    I dunno. We used to ride up to the top of the big hill and tear down as much fire road as we could find flat out. We spent much of that spinning out at 45mph. I wouldn’t do that now, and then it was 1.9″ tyres and cantis etc as you say. I’m pretty sure this annoyed walkers just as much, and we had as much aggro then as I do now.

    Most of the hooning round by me is done on trails that the MTBers have made deep in the woods well away from walkers which is great – we get better trails and they don’t get bothered by us except as we tootle past on the way in/out/up. Only now the walkers have started to notice them and explore, which could be awkward again as they are no more ‘official’ for the walkers as for the bikers!

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I discovered the same thing last week, it’s a horrible surface for walking or riding (and probably for horses too) so there are no winners here – apart from whoever got the contract to dump all those stones over the trail.

    The Ranger Path is still proper gnarly FWIW, so it was still worth the ride – if you like getting up in the mountains. But I might just go up/down Rangers next time, or try Rhydd Du.

    I did it in April just before the voluntary ban a few years ago. I couldn’t believe that I still had to explain to folks after all this time, that yes, I was allowed

    I did it last week, in warm sunshine, and everyone was totally cool and friendly.

    If they’ve buried the water bars on Telegraph, then the surface material won’t last long. That was the whole point of the water bars. That, and inflicting punctures on hapless riders.

    I thought this myself. I didn’t notice if there was any buried drainage, but I can’t see it staying like a garden centre path for long.

    Actually another biker I spoke to said he’d got a flat on the new stones.

    ichabod
    Free Member

    Yeah real shame, the daft thing is on the Llanberis path they have covered over bedrock and solid rock steps with this loose gravel so no argument about making the path more hardwearing or erosion resistant!

    ElShalimo
    Free Member

    Re walking up Snowdon

    Rangers, Llanberis & Rhyd Du paths must be the dullest ways up. There are lots of other paths and if you leave very early you won’t see that many people

    chevychase
    Free Member

    Rhyd Du a dull way up/down snowdon? A nice ridge walk with drops on both sides?

    Maybe I’m just not “edgy” enough.

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