North West Wales

Summer snow falls on summit of Snowdon

Snowdon under 'snow' in June
Image caption This was the scene on top of Snowdon at lunchtime on Friday

The summit of Snowdon under a white blanket of snow: it's a picture postcard cliche.

But if you thought this photograph was taken in the dark days of winter then think again.

The wintry scene, at the Snowdon Mountain Railway's terminus near Hafod Eryri, was photographed at 1300 BST on Friday - in the middle of June, days before the start of Wimbledon and just over a week before the summer solstice.

Around the UK this week counties have been declaring drought conditions after one of warmest and driest springs in memory. Parts of Wales, too, have been experiencing very dry weather.

No wonder, then, that there was an element of surprise among those working and walking at the top of Wales' highest mountain.

"It started hailing around lunchtime, then it snowed for about an hour," said Jonathan Tyler, manager of Snowdon Mountain Railway's visitor centre at the summit of the mountain.

"It wasn't cold, but people were arriving at the summit looking quite bemused. It was summer at the bottom of the mountain and winter at the top."

Given the vagaries of the Welsh weather and Snowdon's 1085m (3560ft) altitude, experts say such climatic contrasts are to be expected from time to time.

"It's not common but it's not unheard of," said BBC Wales weather presenter Behnaz Akhgar.

"We are going through a little bit of a cold spell at the moment, with temperatures of 12-13C when the average temperature for this time of year is 18-19C.

"It looks like heavy showers on top of the mountain dragged down colder air and into that came sleet, hail and, yes, even snow."

Ms Akhgar warned hillwalkers in north Wales to check weather forecasts before setting out.

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