What Next? Snowdonia 2020 Hiking Challenge (Why, What + How?)

Crib Goch Snowdonia at sunrise

After completing my E2W Challenge in 2019 I had an urge to set myself a new goal for 2020.

But what?

After returning home in July 2019, my mind was wandering about what I could do and where I could go next, I kept myself busy but towards the end of the year my activity tapered off.

Lots of people asked about what I was doing next, but I didn’t have an answer, I thought numerous times about what I could do as my next challenge, I knew there would be something but what would it be?

Last day on E2W Challenge in Scotland
Last day on E2W Challenge in Scotland

My main thought was it had to be something in Wales.

But I still wasn’t sure what.

And that’s as far as my plans got, that was until my winter Morocco trip.

After spending 4 days in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco over Christmas it seemed to reignite my passion for multi-day challenges and I went back to thinking about what I wanted to do in 2020.

Why Wales?

My 2019 E2W Challenge was from the furthest easterly point in Britain to the furthest westerly point. The starting point was Lowestoft in Suffolk and the walk ended at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse in Scotland.

Sunny days on the E2W Challenge
Sunny days on the E2W Challenge

I walked along the Norfolk Coast Path, then linked up with the Pennine Way in Edale to the Scottish Borders. And from there I walked west via various trails, then up the West Highland Way to Scotland.

In total, I walked over 950 miles, but I only covered England and Scotland on the walk.

Now for my next challenge, I decided it was time to give Wales some love! 

What ideas did I have for my challenge?

Snowdonia in Wales
Snowdonia in Wales

At first, I considered maybe another east to west challenge for Wales, but after researching I realised that those points were both far south of Wales and therefore wouldn’t have made a very interesting trip.

Again, it’s not about doing some that sounds cool, I want to see amazing scenery too!

I read about a trail that stretched the entire length of Wales, The Cambrian Way, hmm, a possibility but it didn’t give me that buzz, the level of excitement I was after.

Another long-distance trail is the Wales Coast Path, a route that would no doubt be beautiful, but for some reason, it wasn’t the challenge for me.

Welsh 3000s Challenge

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that when I returned from my E2W Challenge there was one tough adventure I embarked on – The Welsh 3000s.

In 2018, I attempted this for the first time, I was under-prepared and found it incredibly hard, which resulted in 25 hours hiking and an unsuccessful attempt at completing the 15 highest summits in Snowdonia. 

On returning from my E2W Challenge, I had an opportunity to join some friends doing the Welsh 3000s. I jumped at the chance, firstly, I needed to keep active and secondly, I felt both mentally and physically prepared to finish what I’d started the year before.

Sunrise on Crib Goch in Snowdonia
Sunrise on Crib Goch in Snowdonia

If you’re intrigued about what the Welsh 3000s is or want to read about my mistakes and tips for completing then you can check out my post here on the Welsh 3000s Challenge.

After a magnificent sunrise, almost perfect weather conditions I fell in love with Snowdonia and had a craving to explore more. I went back hiking in the Cadair Idris region, the Carneddau range and Molwyns.

After ticking off the Nuttall’s on my Hiking App, I had an idea that I wanted to hike all the Nuttall’s in Snowdonia (a Nuttall is a mountain over 2,000 ft, as classified by John and Anne Nuttall) but I didn’t consider when I wanted to complete them by.

My Snowdonia 2020 Hiking Challenge

What is my challenge going to be for 2020?

For me, the best way to work out what I want to do is simply research and initial planning. I use Ordnance Survey online to plan the majority of my hikes, so this was no different. 

I started plotting a north to south route in Snowdonia, but as soon as I started looking at the best path I naturally gravitated towards the mountains that I knew and loved. 

That’s when I combined my idea of a long-distance challenge and bagging all 125 mountains in Snowdonia.

The plan

So, this is the plan…

Start at the furthest southerly point in Snowdonia National Park, a place called Aberdovey. Then walk to the furthest northerly point in Snowdonia.

But the route I will take will tick off all 125 mountains in Snowdonia on the way.

I’ll be unsupported and wild camping for as much of the trip that I can.

Cnicht summit on Snowdonia
Cnicht summit on Snowdonia

How long will it take?

I’ve roughly worked out a route across Snowdonia, it needs some tweaking as much of the route is off the beaten track and I also need to factor in a few stops in towns along the way to refuel and recharge.

After calculating my mileage for the rough route, it totals about 310 miles/500 km.

Based on completing between 15-20 km per day, I’m thinking that it will take between 30-45 walking days. Then I will need to factor in a few rest days too.

But of course, unlike the E2W Challenge, which had some elevation on the 952-mile route (22,384 metres), this challenge has a few more metres to climb!

I’ve added them up and it seems to be a 30,000-metre challenge. Hmm, maybe I will need to add a few more days to get up to all those mountains.

What will I be taking with me?

MSR Hubba 1-Man Tent
Loved my MSR Hubba 1-Man Tent

On the E2W Challenge, I fitted everything into a 65-litre Osprey backpack for wild camping, sleeping, cooking and a few clothes!

I’ll be carrying all my gear with me for this challenge.

You can read my long-distance packing list here to see what I’m planning on taking.

But there are a few extra items that I will take. On the E2W Challenge, much of the route was via national and local trails so I chose not to take a map with me (I would have needed a ridiculous amount).

For this challenge, I will be hiking in remote parts of Snowdonia so a map and compass will be an essential piece of kit. And a map case, because you know how much it rains in Wales!

Carneddau range in Snowdonia
Carneddau range in Snowdonia

When will I be starting the challenge?

The plan, at the moment, is to start the challenge in May, but I’m still finalising the details so I will let you know as soon as I decide on a date.

What route will I be taking?

Here’s my very rough idea of the route I will be taking:

Start point: Aberdovey, south Snowdonia

Mountain 1: Tarrenhendre, Cadair Idris range

Mountains 2-12: Cadair Idris range

Mountains 13-34: The Arans/The Berwyns/The Arans

Mountains 35-54: The Arenigs/The Rhinogs/The Arenigs

Mountains 55-68: The Moelwyns

Mountains 69-79: Moel Hebog range

Mountains 80-91: Snowdon range

Mountains 92-104: The Glyders range + Moel Siabod

Mountains 105-124: The Carneddau range

Mountain 125: Tal y Fan, Carneddau range

Finish point: Penmaen-bach Point, north Snowdonia


What do you think about the challenge? Would you like to know anything else or maybe you would even like to join me!

Let me know in the comments or drop me a message via Instagram @beckythetraveller


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