Your memories of YHA Snowdon Bryn Gwynant
“That experience set me on a lifetime of hill walking”
I made my first hostelling visit to Snowdonia in spring 1965. I caught the train from Bristol to Shrewsbury then hitchhiked to Capel Curig to save money. I got a lift from a female driver in a sports car. From Capel I did a walking tour of the mountains staying at Idwal cottage, then Llanberis.
From there I climbed Snowdon and descended to Bryn Gwynant. It would have been about the end of April and was a beautiful spring day with wonderful inspiring views from the summit. That experience set me on a lifetime of hill walking and mountain climbing. I am still at it at the age of 73. I have climbed Snowdon about 30 times, most recently on a very fine day last January.
“A beautiful hostel”
In 1985 when we were doing a DofE expedition, one of our team fell ill and we had to abort. We had to wait for someone to collect us to return to Cheshire that night – it was late, pouring with rain and the hostel was full but the warden at Bryn Gwynant kindly agreed we could shelter in the drying room, which had an external door, until our lift arrived. What a great kindness – we were so very appreciative.
Thirty years later I returned to Bryn Gwynant with my own family (husband and 4 children) – a beautiful hostel and that wonderful drying room still the same. Thank you YHA.
I currently volunteer for YHA but back in 1995 I worked for YHA as a hostel assistant based in Bangor YH. On my days off I would explore the surrounding Snowdonia National Park as well as Ynys Mon on my trusty Honda Custom 125!
On one occasion I headed to Bryn Gwynant and stayed overnight in the outbuilding accommodation for YHA employees. My lasting impression was the amazing views and setting the hostel is in and the hospitality of the then Manager Nick. I recall an enjoyable evening with him and other colleagues/friends who made me feel welcome for my short stay at YHA Bryn Gwynant!
“This introduction to hosteling was first class”
I took small groups of primary pupils from Devizes, Wiltshire, to Bryn Gwynant each of two consecutive years, approximately 1993/4. The warden at the time was Geoff. This introduction to hostelling was first class for our ten and eleven-year-olds.
The location of Bryn Gwynant was unbeatable, the outdoor, recreational and historical opportunities made the near 200-mile journey in a minibus worth every bump and corner. Geoff was the perfect YHA warden for school visits, making sure the children gained as much as possible from a warm and good-humoured communal experience.
“I felt like I had come home”
My memory from Bryn Gwynant was from 2014. I had spent many years recovering from a chronic pain condition and had been supported to a hill walk as part of my recovery. I sobbed when I got to the top of the Watkin path and made the summit.
I stayed at Bryn Gwynant and I vividly remember the evening that I came down the mountain, lounging in the chair at the bottom of the stairs near the reception desk with a cup of hot chocolate, walkers milling around everywhere. It had been a sunny evening and a milestone of an achievement for me and I felt like I had come home, surrounded by family that I didn’t know but that I now felt connected to.
There was a gentle hum in the air. Walkers of all abilities, quietly proud of their personal achievements of the day, now retiring to rest with a well-earned drink. I’ll never forget it.
“We had an amazing week of memorable activities”
Myself and my husband stayed in the family room at YHA Bryn Gwynant for a week with our two children, then aged ten and seven years old, in the summer of 1999. The room was up under the eaves in an annex, and I seem to remember a game of Monopoly that lasted for several evenings.
We had an amazing week of memorable activities, including kayaking on the lake; visiting the hydroelectric scheme at Llanberis; a lovely walk near Beddgelert; and climbing Snowdon. Climbing Snowdon happened by mistake: we had intended to walk part of the way up, with a picnic lunch, but found ourselves so exhilarated by the walk that we completed the climb to the top, where we rewarded ourselves with a Mars Bar each and “I climbed Snowdon” t-shirts for the children.
Famously (in terms of family stories) our daughter was only wearing ‘jelly’ shoes for the climb, but her feet weren’t sore, and I suppose they had a good grip!
“It has been one of the best holidays I have ever experienced”
In 1960, when I was sixteen, I went on a school hostelling trip in Snowdonia for a week of the Easter holidays. It poured with rain every day except one, and the weather was so bad we went into Carmarthen instead of climbing Snowden. My typically teenage diary is filled with inky cramped writing about getting soaking wet, slipping over in mud and looking for shelter. On the way to Bryn Gwynant we found a sheltered hollow and ‘a gorgeous waterfall’.
I slept in a dormitory with the four girls in my group. I also joined in a group sing song with another party, who I thought couldn’t sing (I was tone deaf). By the end of the holiday I decided I liked the girl who had initially accused me of flirting with her boyfriend (probably a fair accusation in retrospect). A repeated entry is that I made a strong friendship with Margaret, another of our group but from a different class, and ‘we laughed and laughed until we wet ourselves’. The entry on my last day says, ‘I was sorry to leave Wales. It has been one of the best holidays I have ever experienced…. Margaret and I hope to go hostelling together.’
“An amazing first impression of YHA”
This was the first hostel I stayed in during the winter of 1978! I had just left school and a friend suggested going and climbing Snowdon staying at the Bryn Gwynant hostel.
We had a great time and found it the perfect base to take the route to the summit along the Watkins path and clambered up the ‘back’ of Snowdon. We had not envisaged the thick snow that lay on the ground and the last hour of this walk was thick, freshly fallen snow that felt like hard but rewarding work.
The views were breath-taking – dense cloud quickly moving, first revealed then hid the mountainside, cloud pillowed over the ridge to our right then down and up again, flying dramatically in the thermals! The magical experience of finally standing on the top was magnified by laughter when we were actually standing on the snow-covered roof of the Snowdon cafe (the original one) as the drop off in front of us revealed the front entrance to the cafe below!
An amazing first impression of YHA and my experience of climbing Snowdon mountain has lasted a lifetime.