Come rain or shine

If you google “Snowdon images”, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of pictures of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), virtually all of them taken in glorious weather or conditions. No wonder, then, that some people are surprised to find that it’s not always like that!

I recently encountered a walker at the summit who had been up 10 times, and this was the first time that he had seen the sea. Now that has to be really unlucky! Not long prior to that, another walker was on his fourth visit to Yr Wyddfa, and commented on how he’d never yet had any kind of view from the summit (and he wasn’t going to get one that day either!). Again, I’d say that he was unlucky.

Certainly this season (2022) has seen some glorious weather. Northerly winds carry clearer air, and on several occasions southern Ireland has been clearly visible.  Maybe I’ve been lucky this year, but on my first 15 ascents I didn’t need waterproofs.

So what is the weather like on Yr Wyddfa?  Firstly, remember that mountains attract cloud. We know that Yr Wyddfa gets a lot more rain than the surrounding areas – the summit gets some 200″ (5m) annually – and in fact, Yr Wyddfa broke the  record when in December 2015 the gauge at 713m on the side of Crib Goch recorded a total of 1,396mm, one of the largest monthly totals ever recorded in the UK. The summit also gets extremes of wind, which has on occasion reached 150mph.

Not that Yr Wyddfa misses out on sunshine, for the summit receives some 1,200 hours annually, a reasonable figure, though fewer than other parts of Wales.

Actually, the weather on Yr Wyddfa isn’t so bad really, as the pie chart below shows. During the season I work every weekend on the mountain and consequently can’t pick and choose the weather (as I do over the winter, when I’m free to do my own thing on the days of my choosing). When I’m working on Yr Wyddfa I keep a record of the weather – categorised as one of 6 types – and the graph below shows the weather over 300 weekends between March and November, and can therefore be taken as a fairly reliable random sample.

Not bad at all, I think you’ll agree.

The weather on Snowdon on 300 Saturdays from March to November over several years

(See also our page on Snowdon’s weather and forecasts.)

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