Snowdonia has to be my favourite place in the whole of the UK. Every year (at least once) I get the craving to be in the mountains and in my opinion, nothing else compares. I’ve been to the highlands, climbed Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike in the Lake district and spent time in the Peak District but North Wales has always been closer to my heart than anywhere else. This year I had nothing planned for my birthday and the urge had been there a while so I set off with a good friend, Alex to explore the landscape.
Six hours later we had not really considered our final destination and followed the main road up past Capel Curig, where we used to stay in an old army camp back in our air cadet days, to the foot of Tryfan. With the beautiful Llyn (lake) Ogwen subtly reflecting the stars and residual light from the sunset several hours previous. We hastily set up our camp with a great view over the surrounding area.
I quite like to stick around for the sunrise when in places like this. There were some beautiful noctilucent clouds in the east before dawn but as it was my birthday I’ll excuse myself for having a few too many Jaeger bombs and falling asleep at the critical moment!
After a couple of hours kip and dozens of midge bites each we found ourselves in Cwm Idwal, the Devil’s Kitchen. A beautiful glacial amphiteatre famous for it’s geology and rare flora. It’s an amazing place and we spent a few hours photographing the scenery, waiting for a clear patch in the clouds which never came! I remember, before I started photography I always thought clouds just moved with the wind but you come to realise that the topography affects every aspect of the weather. We finished the day driving around the coast, then ending up at the abandoned RAF Reserve bomb depot at Llanberis. An interesting site I will write a separate post about soon.
The peak of Yr Ole Wen and the Nant Ffrancon pass, another ancient glacial valley.
That night, back by Llyn Ogwen we sat watching night climbers ascending Yr ol Wen as we sat back with a barbecue and a bottle of rum. I was slightly envious of their elevated viewpoint but climbing was not on the agenda this time! I was shocked at the fact we had managed to get two clear nights in a row. Yeah, two clear nights in Wales! One alone would be a blessing!
In the Devil’s Kitchen, Cwm Idwal.
Y Garn, Foel Goch and Yr Ole Wen from Llyn Ogwen
Unfortunately the next day was cut short by Alex’s long journey back to London and hatred for the tubes but we managed a quick stop in Betwys-y-Coed and braved a quick dunk in the river beneath Swallow Falls before we headed back towards reality.