YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass, North Wales, June 2018

by Emma Bumpus on June 11, 2018

Adventure travel and amazing landscape spark the careertraveller wanderlust for YHA treasure in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass.

Located 1,000 ft above sea level at the base of Snowdon we enter a world of hiking mountaineering and wildlife fit for discovery and exploration. Surrounded by giant rugged crags, terrain and rolling green hills we step into this harbour of a hostel, which brimming with like minded fellow travellers seeking sustenance, tourist information and accommodation, credits the likes of famous Pen-y-Pass climbers Aldous Huxley and Geoffrey Winthrop Young.

No surprise therefore is the hostel’s Mallory’s Café named appropriately after English mountaineer George Mallory, whom we discover stayed in this former Gorphwysfa Hotel as a base for climbing Snowdon in the early 20th century.

A generous portion of carrot cake and coffee from the bustling bar lead us to the stylish Lounge where modern furnishings including fashionable tub chairs and pendulous pendant lights provide comfortable respite amidst the notable stack of YHA family favourite Trivial Pursuit, Chess and books galore.

A wander round the hostel leads us to the hiker essential Showers and Drying Room, not forgetting the Conference and Games Room that proudly hosts a snooker table amongst walls modishly decorated with Snowdonia facts!

Equipped with local trail details, up to date weather forecast and tourist information we discover this hip and popular hostel owes its success to a £1.3 million refurbishment dating back to 2014, all part of the YHA mission to: To inspire all, especially young people, to broaden their horizons, gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.”

Further treats appear in the form of a trendy upmarket Kitchen full of all mod cons for the independent with well organised recycling coloured bins that show YHA has a grip on environmentally friendly 21st century hospitality. A connecting side room provides a space for those who choose to make or order in their own cuisine as opposed to eating in the café or restaurant.

We enter our Bedroom, one of 16 en-suites, which delivers stunning landscape views of sheep grazing in the hills and the legendary Miners Trail, that sparkles with Snowdon charisma. A wardrobe divided in sections or lockers for storage is a backpacker’s necessity with modern partitioned contemporary toilet and eco friendly shower, whose push button offers a regulated temperature with no water wastage. Brilliant!

The customised YHA lime green bed linen radiates a positive energy most befitting for adventure and gives the room a fresh appeal for inspirational travel. Compact wall sockets and bedside wall lights are unobtrusive and add a swanky touch that make bunk bed slumber fun and cool.

Breakfast in the Restaurant is a choice of hot or cold, fit for all. We opt for the hot traditional breakfast that comes with tea, coffee and juice and toast to kick start our Snowdon ascent. Colourful, tasty and abundant, we enjoy sunny smiley food in the restaurant with impressive views of Snowdonia’s rocky PYG Trail amidst a dedicated wall display of historical Pen-y-Pass climbers and parties that makes this former coaching inn special.

With the option of ordering a pre packed lunch offered by the hostel, we make our own in the Kitchen and head for Snowdon, the daddy of peaks and the highest mountain in Wales and England standing 1058 metres high.

As we step out the hostel and cross the road we step into the land of Welsh fresh air and dramatic scenery, encountering primal jagged rocks and serene lakes whose colour in beautiful hues of green and blue change with the weather. Opting for the 8 mile Miners Trail we pass lake or ‘Llyn’ Teyrn and begin a gentle ascent in the elements and face mist, rain and sun. Mesmerising geography introduces us to a world of new skills and challenges from rock climbing to orienteering and we embrace the freedom and independence that comes with travel and youth hostelling.

En route we locate an abandoned mine that helps us retrace the roots of Welsh miners who once carried copper ore over the mountain. A welcome causeway takes us to turquoise waters in the form of Llyn Lydaw, translated Lake Brittany in English, and on the flanks of Snowdon lays this mystical lagoon which shimmers with King Arthur mystery and legend. Before long we are looking down from the summit of Snowdon where mist, space and natural beauty are a heady mix of triumph, effort and sensation.

Pride and a cheeky coffee in the Summit Café make way for a winning descent amongst troops of inspiring other climbers and as we reach YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass we recall the words of George Mallory “The greatest danger in life is not to take the adventure” and we become explorers!

Adventures in Snowdonia come in all shapes and sizes and staying at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass is an education and journey in itself. Superb!

Further information:

YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass
YHA England and Wales

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