Plas Isa Hotel, Hotel in Criccieth

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Photographs of Snowdonia

Few places have the variety of landscapes that you find in Snowdonia. At the centre of the area are the mountains, dominated by the peak of Snowdon itself. There are 15 mountains over 3000 feet high, which may not seem big in world terms, but many of these are real mountains with serious faces on them. Mountains such as Tryfan, Crib Goch and Glyder Fach can draw the walker, scrambler and climber back time and time again to tackle new challenges.
There are countless mountain routes to keep the walker amused for a lifetime. The higher mountains are grouped into 3 ranges - the Snowdon Horseshoe, the Glyders and the Carneddau. These are often very popular, as is Cader Idris to the south. There are other very wild ranges of mountains in which it is possible to walk all day without meeting another - the Rhinogs, the Arans, the Arenigs.

For the scrambler names such as Crib Goch Ridge (a famous knife edge with big drops either side), Bristly Ridge and Tryfan North Ridge are well known, but are just the tip of the iceberg. Crib Lem, Cyfrwy Arete and the Parson's Nose are less well known, but just as worthwhile.

Snowdonia is regarded as one of the most important places for rock climbers, and people will travel from all over the world to tackle anything from classic mountain routes to finger-ripping overhanging walls. Some of our planet's best known routes are here - Cenotaph Corner and Cemetary Gates to name a couple. If you are passing through the Llanberis Pass on sunny summer's afternoon, stop a while by the Cromlech boulders and watch the bightly coloured dots scaling improbable looking walls on both sides of the valley.

We do not seem to get many real winters these days, but this is also an area with some excellent snow and ice climbs. Snowdon under snow has to be one of my favourite places to be.
It would be wrong to suggest that Snowdonia has nothing of interest but mountains. Fresh white water streams run from them, often over majestic waterfalls and into lush green valleys. There are many areas of forest and woodland, some of the most attractive of these being of the natural oaks. Other forestry areas set up for mountain biking, orienteering, and with ropes courses.

There are countless lakes to discover, from little known mountain ponds to large lakes that fill the whole of larger valleys. The photographers favourite seems to be Llyn Dinas, near Beddgelert, which often offers mirror reflections in the early morning. Many of the larger lakes are popular spots for water activities.

Snowdonia is surrounded by beaches. One of the very best, Harlech Beach, is within the National Park boundaries. Other excellent beaches on the Llyn and Anglesey are within an easy drive.