I am in a position where I live in Yorkshire but work for a couple of days every fortnight in Llanberis, North Wales. Of course, Llanberis is the village at the foot of Snowdon and a mecca for walkers and mountain climbers. But visitor numbers have surged this year and local residents are not all happy about the resultant disturbance.
A recent BBC article discusses the fact that as visitor numbers have rocketed from 500,000 per year to 700,000 per year this has meant that residents are facing more disruption than normal
Residents in Llanberis say they are being kept awake by walkers heading up Snowdon at 2am and this is keeping them awake. Residents on the road that ultimately leads to the Llanberis Path, a popular route up the mountain, are the ones with the biggest issues.
But doesn’t this surge in tourism boost a local economy that is largely dependant on it? After the last 18 months of lockdowns and travel restrictions, surely this boost is a welcome relief to some business owners.
On a recent trip to Llanberis, I headed off up Snowdon at 6 pm and the bulk of people were heading down the path. It’s busy, there’s no doubting that. Even on another trip as I headed off at 5:45 am to running up and around Moel Eilio there were walkers heading up Snowdon. But were they disturbing the local residents?
From my own, personal experience of spending time in Llanberis, I can categorise walkers into two broad types; true hikers and people just walking up Snowdon. Then within these two groups, you can split them again into those that respect the local area and residents, and those that don’t.
It’s as simple as that. It comes down to respect and being respectful. Sadly, some people just aren’t.
When I set off at 5:45 am I took care to make as little noise as I possibly could when passing peoples homes. Okay, I was alone so there was no chatter, but even in a group, it is easy to keep quiet until you are away from the houses and on the path up the mountain. I certainly didn’t see any noisy groups myself.
It seems that some of the residents the BBC spoke with are accepting of the disruption and some aren’t. The comments section on the BBC Wales News Facebook page where I first came across this article makes interesting reading.
It is true that Llanberis is busy in the summer months, no doubt about it. Llyn Padarn is often crowded with paddleboarders, kayakers, swimmers and people enjoying the lake. Even on a rainy day, there are people on the water.
Maybe some of these visitors who ar heading up Snowdon at 2 am, most likely to beat the crowds, could also try some of the other fantastic hill walking there is in the area too where setting off early to find peace and solve is not required.
Llanberis is a village of just over 2,000 residents. This population swells in the main tourist season and the local economy benefits from this greatly. But, it is a village and people do live there and so my final point is simply that visitors should respect the local area and the people that live there.