a guide to scrambling in Snowdonia

About North Wales Scrambles

– 50 of the best mountain scrambles in Snowdonia
– 224 pages
– 116mm x 170mm
– it’s not that heavy and will fit in your pocket (just)

All the well-known classic scrambles of the area are included, such as the North Ridge of Tryfan and the traverse of Crib Goch. The book also features a selection of excellent ‘off the beaten track’ scrambles – routes that will take you to the
less-frequented cliffs and cwms of Snowdonia.

The selected scrambles all lie within a 20km x 15km area of northern Snowdonia – a relatively compact area as far as mountains are concerned, so dead easy to get around. As well as high mountain scrambles, the book includes a few shorter scrambles nearer to the road, which can be done in a couple of hours. There are also suggestions for linking scrambles, to create day-length journeys across Snowdonia’s rugged landscape.

The book has a clean and simple layout that is easy to read on a mountainside. The hard cover is cloth bound and feels good in the hand. The weave is the same as that used on the classic Welsh climbing guidebooks of the 1930s. A slight tweak is the addition of a thin polymer laminate, which creates an extra bit of protection when on the hill.

Background to the book – Until recently most of my work has been as a climbing instructor, teaching all things related to the hills, from mountain navigation through to Scottish winter climbing, and of course scrambling. During this time I got to know Snowdonia’s mountains really well, intimately I suppose. It would be great to say there was a lightbulb moment of ‘wow lets make a scrambling guide’, but that’s not what happened. There was just a need for a decent, up to date guidebook and for some unknown reason I ended up being the person writing it.

Now, at this stage I knew nothing about publishing. The days out getting photos and descriptions were brilliant fun. Getting my head around the various publishing and map-making software did, at times, take some serious mental application. The shocking part, to me, was that North Wales Scrambles took three years to produce. And it’s only a wee book.

Nothing would have seen the light of day without the help I had from friends, from advice on design and typesetting, to hours of back-and-forth proof reading. And, of course, all the great company when out on the hill. Inevitably the whole project morphed into something quite personal. The book reflects this.

Since its publication, North Wales Scrambles has had small but steady monthly sales. As these sales rely completely on word of mouth, I’m taking it as meaning the book continues to hit a spot. With this in mind and when the initial print runs sold out, I decided to give the book some more love. Each scramble was re-visted to check for any changes and descriptions were revised where necessary (although little actually needed amending). As I also knew more about cartography, the maps were improved. The current 2nd edition was published in November 2018.

North Wales Scrambles was printed by Gomer Press, a family owned company based in Llandysul, in West Wales. It was important, for no other reason than provenance, to have the book printed in Wales. Coming across Gomer was a godsend; they’d been producing beautifully bound books for years and were able to hold my hand through the whole printing process, making sure the book I envisaged is what actually rolled off the press.

Northern Edge Books is the publishing name I came up with in order to get an ISBN number; an essential requirement before any shop will consider stocking a book. I’ve kept going with Northern Edge Books and have written a second guidebook Scotland’s Winter Mountains with one axe – a guide to thirty journeys through the Scottish mountains. Despite being way more tech savvy, the book still took me three years to complete. A third book is in the offing but may be some time!