Scotland or Wales?
My aching body is finally recovered from a brilliant weekend of scrambling in Snowdonia with my mate Rich. So my mind is again in a position to start working, at least to some small degree. After years of him making the long trek up to Scotland we finally decided that it was my turn to do the driving and sample his regular stamping ground of Snowdonia. I am ashamed to admit that this was my first experience of the mountains of Snowdonia as my first instinct is always to head north to the Scottish Highlands when a weekend in the mountains beckons.
So which is better? Snowdonia or the Scottish Highlands?
The Case for Snowdonia (Wales):
- A coffee shop, fancy information centre and clean toilets in the car park - does it get any better?
- 30 minute walk in to a cracking scramble that went from valley floor to mountain top - pure luxury!
- Once the Saturday morning mist cleared we had unbroken sunshine until Sunday evening - sunglasses and suncream weather :-)
- A really interesting scrambling route up Milestone Buttress, Milestone continuation and Tryfan North Ridge, I can't think of a better route I have done in Scotland recently.
The Case Against Snowdonia (Wales):
- Midges! I didn't think they existed outside Scotland, how have the Welsh kept them so quiet.
- People, and more people and even more. Hey, I know the weather was good but wow the mountains are busy.
- Polished holds - a result of the above.
The Case for Scotland:
- Mountains, mountains and more mountains. Walking in Snowdonia really made me appreciate just how vast the Scottish Highlands are.
- Scenery! Yes, Snowdonia is lovely but it is somehow manicured and too ordered and just doesn't match the wild untouched feel of areas of the Highlands such as Kintail, Knoydart and Sutherland.
- Snow! Yes, I know Wales doesn't get much snow anymore because of global warming but snow and ice just has to be the best part of Scotland's mountains.
- Lack of people! Apart from the very busiest of mountains such as Ben Nevis, walking in Scotland is a fairly quiet experience and in the remote regions you are unlikely to meet anyone all day.
The Case against Scotland:
- You won't find too many coffee shops at the car park, (actually, maybe this is a pro, although as a coffee addict it's difficult).
- Midges! You might have them in Wales but they are mere amateurs compared to the Scottish variety.
- Walk in - 30 minutes from the car on a level track is unheard of.
- Fort William, Aviemore and other towns whose development has been planned in a less than sympathetic manner.
- Travel & Time. It takes a long time to get anywhere and ticking the Munro's is a lifetimes work.
The Verdict? For me, it has to be Scotland. But hey I am very biased and will definitely be mounting the occasional swift raid back to Snowdonia as it's just all so accessible and the hills are great. Let me know what you think.