Fancy a walk up Snowdon? Join the line!
It’s not just Everest where concern has been raised about climbers queueing at the summit.
Hoards of holidaymakers, many of them from the West Midlands, are making their way to the top of Snowdon during the long summer days.
They include Labour deputy leader and Midlands MP Tom Watson, who took on the challenge last month as part of his ongoing fitness drive.
While the experience isn’t quite as arduous or dangerous as the Himalayas, it has created a similar debate about whether the mountain has become just too popular.
The “exponential” rise in visitors climbing Snowdon often causing long queues to reach the top has been blamed on Welsh Government’s “heavy promotion”.
The Snowdonia Society says while large visitor numbers are good for the economy, it also causes “implications”, including overcrowding, erosion to footpaths and litter up Wales’ highest peak.
And while visitor numbers have “at least doubled” over the last 20 years, The National Park says it has half the resources it saw 20 years ago.
The issue was highlighted after images have been shared on social media in recent weeks of scores of climbers queuing to get to the summit.
The footage was published on the Proud to be Welsh Facebook group by Ian Drew, from Birmingham, who regularly climbs areas of the National Park.Writing on Facebook , he commented: “Bank holiday traffic even on Snowdon this weekend, what a shame I have stood on here many times just me and my kids never seen it like this.”
Hundreds of people reacted to the post, with some describing the scenes as “ridiculous”, while others voiced concerns that large numbers of visitors are “destroying the beautiful mountain”. The campaign group says there is “no easy answer” to tackling the number of visitors it sees each year.
Chair of the Snowdonia Society, David Archer, said: “Snowdon is being quite heavily promoted by the Welsh Government and the tourism board as an adventure location which is great for local businesses and the local economy, but this does create implications.
“People want to go to the most popular places, and Snowdon being the highest mountain in Wales is the key factor.
“But if there’s hundreds of people up there at once, it reduces the pleasure you get from being there – and there is also the impact of litter and erosion.
“There’s also a limited number of people can get to the very summit at once, which of course creates queues.”
The summit of Snowdon boasts a modern visitor centre which opens after Easter each year and accommodates hundreds each day on its famous mountain railway. In clear weather, those numbers are supplemented by thousands of walkers who make it to the peak via its six paths.
Mr Archer who said the summit welcomes “well over half a million visitors a year” added: “What we do think is important is that the National Park Authority does have adequate resources to manage and maintain the area. Resources are being cut, and the National Park Authority don’t have the same budget or the number of wardens as they did 10 years ago.
A spokeswoman for National Park Authority, said: “We and other partners are doing our best with the limited resources we have.”
“All revenue from our car parks for example are invested back into managing footpaths on the mountain and maintaining facilities.
“But it’s not enough. Snowdonia National Park Authority has half the resources it had 20 years ago, and visitor numbers have at least doubled.”
As well as working with Gwynedd and Conwy tourism departments to encourage visitors to come at quieter times of year, the National Park Authority says it is working in partnership with the Welsh Government to launch the Snowdon Partnership Plan, which aims to protect the area.
The Welsh Government says it has released £2.2 million to improve our tourism infrastructure, including improvements to parking, cycle paths and toilets.