Defaced by the tourism industry.

This was the first time I had allowed myself to climb Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales. So many times I had put off climbing it, because it is the mountain that has been trashed by the tourism industry. Its vast number of visitors alone is enough to make the popular routes and the summit unpleasant. Then add the mountain railway to the top, so granny and her Zimmer frame can get there, where there is an eyesore cafe that blights the landscape, and it takes away all sense of achievement and appreciation of nature.

We had originally planned to follow the Snowdon Horseshoe route via Crib Goch's North Ridge - a serious and exposed scrambling route for experienced walkers. The already strongly gusting winds and heavy drizzle ruled out the Crib Goch part of that though, so we did the second half of the horseshoe in reverse, and returned in safety down one of the more popular tourist routes. The total ascent for this route was about 990 metres. There was no parking space left at the start point (even though it was ridiculously early), so we had to park further down and use the bus service.

The weather was impressively bad, with winds as high as 25 m/s (55 MPH) at the top, thick fog, and constant, heavy rain. The mountain railway was closed before reaching the top due to the weather. Still, vast numbers decided to brave the weather and make it to the top. Those who knew what they were doing wore warm clothing, full-covering water/wind-proofs, and had proper footwear. Even so, it did not stop the idiots. Many were climbing in trainers, plimsolls, jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, tracksuits (ones designed to keep you cool while exercising), barely rain-resistant coats and polythene bag ponchos that they bought that day (because they went to the mountains without a coat). Huge numbers had no waterproof trousers, some had nothing to cover their heads, and many simply had no coats at all. One person we saw was using a black dustbin liner as a coat. These people are a liability to themselves, and their would-be rescuers. Dare I ask how many carried a map or compass, or a way to signal for help?

On the day we were there, there were rescues of unconscious hypothermic walkers, and we helped a hypothermic child whose coat was useless, and whose jeans rapidly (predictably) turned into a skin-removing, soggy mess. Many other children had been dragged in tears to the top by their idiotic parents, without anything like enough windproof or waterproof clothing. The day afterwards, when the winds were 27 m/s (60 MPH), a hypothermic 2 year old child was rescued after being carried to the top - how is a child supposed to keep warm in these conditions when they are doing no exercise?

It is quite clear why there are so many reports in the news about accidents on this mountain; it seems to draw so many unprepared visitors, hoping to get a taste of the tallest mountain in Wales, and its potentially breathtaking sights. They seem to forget - or not even be aware - that it is a real mountain, and a serious undertaking. Even for those who are properly prepared, it offers serious challenges. You almost want to have someone at the popular gateways onto it, forcing people to turn back if they do not have the right equipment. But they can't search everyone's bags to see if they have the right kit, and it would bring in the whole nanny-state problem. Perhaps just hand them a card saying "you are a liability, and will probably kill yourself or someone else on this mountain today", but then, nobody would pay attention. Perhaps just a piece of paper, with the text "your chances of survival today are the same as the chances of you getting this piece of paper to the summit, intact".