Shock as Snowdonia car parking fees double
Walkers arriving at a popular Snowdonia car park have been shocked to find some parking fees have doubled.
The Pen-y-Pass car park used to have a £5 rate for those staying up to four hours, and £10 for the entire day.
But the Snowdonia National Park Authority has scrapped the £5 charge with motorists now having to pay the £10 for however long they stay.
The car park is at the start of two of the most popular walking routes to the summit of Snowdon – the Miner's and the Pyg Tracks.
One of the best used car parks, it has spaces for 80 vehicles and is often full by 8am, particularly at weekends.
As well as getting rid of the £5 charge, the park authority has also brought in a £10 overnight charge. Previously it was free to park overnight.
It means those staying at the nearby hostel or camping in the vicinity are now faced with an extra cost.
Alternatives include a £5 charge for using roadside parking places about a mile further down the pass and walking, or the £5 Nant Peris car park and then using the Snowdon Sherpa bus.
The tariff at all other car parks for stays of up to four hours is £3, with a daily rate until midnight of £6.
The Snowdon Sherpa bus service, operated under contract to Gwynedd Council, runs hourly between Llanberis and Pen-y-Pass and half hourly at weekends and bank holidays. It charges a £2 flat fare with a day ticket, costing £5.
Emyr Williams, chief executive of the national park authority said the money raised from parking is used to keep the footpaths in working order.
He said: "The authority continues to invest proceeds from the car parks to provide and maintain facilities and access opportunities in Snowdonia, as well as undertaking works to reduce erosion and store Snowdon's footpaths. "
The National Park's budget from the Welsh government has been cut by an equivalent of five per cent a year for two years.
Mr Williams told a meeting of the authority that increasing income from car parks and the education centre, Plas Tan y Bwlch, could bring in £230,000.
Carwyn ap Myrddin, the national park warden on Snowdon has also reminded visitors to make sure they are prepared with the right clothing and equipment.
He said: "More often than not, the weather on the mountains is completely different to the weather in the lowlands. On average, the temperature drops about 1-3 ˚C for each 300m that is climbed, therefore, whilst it’s 7 ˚C in Llanberis, it can be -3 ˚C on the top of Snowdon.
“We want everyone who comes here to enjoy the experience of walking in the mountains of Snowdonia. Therefore it’s essential to check weather forecasts which are specifically aimed at walkers, in order to decide if the weather is suitable for hill-walking and to pack the right gear for the forecasted conditions. "