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Snowdonia-Active News Item

Snowdon Waymarkers 23/07/2013

Walkers on Snowdon may notice the addition of some newly erected stone pillars waymarking the popular paths. The Snowdonia National Park project involves seven pillars located at strategic places on the mountain and one at the foot of each of the six main paths.

The Park's hope is that the pillars will help walkers to follow the correct path in order to reduce the number of call-outs for the mountain rescue.

Snowdon is relatively unique, in that as the highest point in Wales and England, it attracts among its approximate 366,000 visitors (2012 figure), both those with little or no hill walking experience as well as regular hill-goers.

The project met with general agreement during the National Park's prior consultation with the MountainSafe Partnership, Northern Snowdonia Local Access Forum and British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Cymru. The potentially controversial placement of the pillars was discussed two or three times at BMC Cymru meetings during 2012 with very little objection although the over-riding proviso was that the practice didn't spread to other peaks.

At the start of the year however, news of the subsequent addition to the list with a pillar at Bwlch y Saethau and a further one above Bwlch y Moch, caused some concern.

The BMC have an article on the issue of waymarking with reader's comments.

The stone pillars have been placed at locations that have proved to be problematic with walkers in the past, such as the intersection of the Llanberis Path and Snowdon Ranger Path, as walkers often mix up these two routes in descent. A small pillar behind the café at the summit is hoped will help people correctly identify the direction of the Watkin Path so they don't descend the east ridge - an accident blackspot - unknowingly.  

Mair Huws, Head of Wardens and Access at the National Park explaining the scheme, said:

"Obviously, we can’t ignore all the incidents that occur on Snowdon. Erecting signs all over Snowdon is not acceptable, therefore placing these stone pillars on the mountain is sustainable, it is a convenient way to keep people informed without being intrusive, and will not affect people’s enjoyment of the mountain. By placing them in this way, our hope is to create as little impact on the landscape and the atmosphere of the mountain as possible, encouraging walkers to be safe and responsible at the same time."


top: Junction of Snowdon Ranger and Llanberis Path, summit pillar indicating Watkin Path and junction of Watkin and Rhyd Ddu Path. © Ray Wood

lower: Pillar being erected this month where the Watkin Path joins the route from Rhyd Ddu. © Ray Wood

Topic: Snowdon Pillars, Waymarking, Signage in the Mountains, Snowdon.

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