The Pen-y-Pass car park will be for bus and taxi drop-offs only. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Pen-y-Pass car park will be for bus and taxi drop-offs only. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

One of the most popular car parks for walkers setting off to ascend Wales’s highest mountain will be closed at weekends.

The Pen-y-Pass facility will only be used as a bus and taxi drop-off point on Saturdays and Sundays.

The car park is used by thousands of visitors each year as the starting point for the ascent of Snowdon.

But Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park and North Wales Police have implemented what they call emergency parking measures after illegally parked vehicles last weekend.

The Sherpa park-and-ride bus service will operate from Saturday with extra journeys calling at the Pen-y-Pass car park and other starting points for Snowdon’s main paths.

The Pen-y-Pass service will run every 15 minutes between 6.45am until 6.40pm. A national park authority spokesperson said: “Staff from Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia national park and North Wales Police will be on duty in the area over the weekend to remind motorists of their responsibility.

“Signs are being installed to warn motorists that those who flout the rules are liable to be towed by the police, and cones will also be placed to discourage parking on the highway.

“On weekends, the car-park at Pen-y-Pass will be a drop-off site for buses and taxis only to reinforce the message that walkers should park in Llanberis and Nant Peris and use the regular Sherpa bus services. It follows scenes last weekend where inconsiderate motorists had parked illegally, blocking one of the main routes skirting the foot of Snowdon.”

Emyr Williams, chief executive of Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “These urgent measures will help to tackle the immediate challenge and we will continue to monitor and adapt as matters progresses.

“Such a situation confirms the urgency required of further progressing the existing partnership work on developing a sustainable alpine style model of transport, which involves a radical re-think in the way the area is experienced by visitors and local residents. The report on the work will be published soon.”

Superintendent Neil Thomas of North Wales Police said: “We are working closely with our colleagues at Gwynedd Council and the national park to help reduce the risk to walkers, cyclists and other road users.

“The measures have been put in place to maximise public safety. This is a 60mph area and the irresponsible and dangerous parking we saw last weekend not only risked lives but also would have prevented emergency vehicle access.

“Whilst we appreciate that people are getting out and about more now that the travel restrictions have lifted, we are urging people to be responsible and think about where they park and to make full use of the park and ride facilities that are available.

“Anybody found to be parked on the clearway or causing an obstruction will have their vehicle removed at their own expense. Please heed the warning.”

Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Gwynedd Council leader said: “Our message for people who intend to visit Snowdonia is to plan in advance before they set off so that they can do so safely and responsibly.

“We are urging motorists to make full use of the car-parking facilities available at Nant Peris and Llanberis as well as at nearby Pen-y-Gwryd and to check the national park’s website for up-to-date details of their car parks.

“Walkers are also encouraged to use the regular Sherpa bus service which will be running every 15 minutes from 6.45am from Saturday onwards and which links all the main Snowdon car parks with the various summit paths. This will help us to control the traffic on these narrow mountain routes and avoid dangerous situations which we saw last weekend.

“The fact is that motorists like those who parked illegally at Pen-y-Pass endanger the lives of other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and cause serious access issues for emergency service vehicles, including mountain rescue volunteers.

“We want people to be able to enjoy our stunning mountain ranges safely. Those who ignore the message by parking illegally on the highway on Snowdonia’s mountain passes will face an on-the-spot fine or even being towed away by police.”

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