The race is on to complete a new cafe on top of Wales’s highest mountain.
Early autumn is the deadline for drawing on European funds for completing the new Snowdon mountain summit building, and heavy snow has delayed work on the exterior of the structure.
The Hafod Eryri building
Snowdonia National Park Authority
Instead, building workers have had to concentrate on the inside of the Hafod Eryri centre. The Snowdon Mountain Railway worked with contractors to enable work to start in February this year rather than a month later as planned.
However, heavy snowfalls over the last few weeks have meant workers having to shovel snow off the tracks before to enable the train to get to the summit. Harsh summit conditions have prevented work on the stonework, but the national park authority says work on the interior is going well.
It is confident the work will be completed to meet the deadline.
A spokesperson said: “We now understand that three months of work is now needed to complete the building of Hafod Eryri and although [the contractors] Carillion are working hard and diligently to achieve this, it is inevitable that the weather will be an important factor.
“The major outstanding work to be carried out is the construction of the external cladding. This is to be built with granite but the weather conditions have prevented work on the exterior. The contractors are however working hard on the interior of the building which is proceeding very well.”
The authority expressed its thanks to the workers on the site who are working in ‘atrocious conditions’. Snow, ice, rain, mist and the general dampness in the air makes it difficult for the workers, it said.
The building replaces the original Snowdon mountain cafe, designed by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, most famous for his creation Portmeirion, the eclectic jumble of Italianate buildings on the north Wales coast that was the setting for the cult television series The Prisoner. The Prince of Wales dubbed the old cafe the country’s highest slum.
The new building, just below the 1,085m (3,560ft) summit of Snowdon, will have visitor information, weather reports and route guidance, as well as food and drink. Eryri is the Welsh for Snowdonia and a Hafod is a summer shelter on high ground.