Snowdonia

A Dusting of The White Stuff (and a Kamikaze iPhone)

This was one awesome way to spend a Friday.

I had booked the day off due to the promise of a cold/snowy weather front, and it is fair to say that I wasn't disappointed. The weather was absolutely stunning. I have never experienced weather like it in North Wales, and it is very likely that I will be getting back up there as many times as possible throughout the cold period. The only down side was that as I parked up the great visibility and lovely dark blue skies turned to a muggy grey and clouds closed in. Not to be deterred however I parked up at the Pen-Y-Pass and walked up the Miners track towards Llyn Llydaw.

See Map below for route. The dropped pin indicating the Car Park at Pen-Y-Pass.

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Once I had reached Llyn Lladaw I set about taking some photos. This was actually incredibly difficult with the constant flurry of snow and the high winds. All of this with gloved on means that I am especially happy with the resulting images. CLICK TO EXPAND

Take a look at the video below to get a sense of just how amazing it was to be up in the mountains on a day like this.


Extra

I had decided to try and make my blog posts a bit more 'media rich'. In an attempt to do this I had purchased a little tripod. This is how NOT to perch your iPhone however.

iPhone 6S+ Prior to launch

The resulting video came out something like this. 

And the end result. A cracked Zagg Invisible Shield screen. It could have been so much worse and I am so thankful that I had purchased one of these screens otherwise my iPhone 6S+ could have been a casualty within it's first week of service!!

Snowdon Summit (at long last)

For a long, long time I have been promising to hike up to the summit of Snowdon in North Wales. As a proud Welsh man I almost felt embarrassed that I had never been to the summit.

Well having booked a day off work and cleared my calendar I was lucky enough to get perfect weather. All of the signs were there. It was time to finally experience one of the best sights that Wales has to offer.

The route I took was the Pyg Track, past Llyn Lydaw, then up past Glaslyn. To be honest it was harder than I expected, and there were times were I really wised that I had opted for mirrorless and Carbon Fibre. The 'Three Legged Thing' tripod, plus the weight of the D800 with a good chunk of the glass attached soon became contributing factor to my tiredness. I was rewarded well and truly however by perfectly clear visibility, and hardly any wind at all. When I reached the summit I experienced something that many don't a clear view across miles and miles of beautiful countryside.

Below are some of the photographs that I took on the way up, and once on top of the summit.

Sony Xperia Goodness

All of the photographs below were taken with my Camera phone. The camera in the Xperia Z3 is truly outstanding. I never get tired of taking quick shots with it, and luckily you can expand the memory using the MicroSD expansion slot.

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Snowdonia National Park - Winter 2014

Llyn Mymbyr

Llyn Mymbyr at approx 08.00. I was hoping that the rising Winter sun would reward me for the early start, and the drive to North Wales. Facing in a Westerly direction, this would obviously lend itself better to Sunsets although I thought I would chance it. It didn't really happen….

On December 30th I finally managed to get to go to one of my favourite spots once more.

Once upon a time this was literally a 20 minute drive away, and I never realised just how much of a fantastic thing it was to have the Snowdonia National Park on my doorstep.

Now I'm a grown up living 50+ miles away and have every excuse under the sun to prevent me from getting up at an ungodly hour to revisit.

Well I managed to get out in the period between Xmas and New Year. There had been a real cold spell in the UK and the draw of snow on the hilltops was enough to get me up and out of bed at 05.00am to travel and attempt to capture a sunrise over Llyn Mymbyr with hopefully some still water. 

Unfortunately I didn't really get either. The sunrise didn't really happen, and there was enough of a breeze to cause ripples on the water. All was not lost, I had done some research the night before and knew that the weather was going to remain dry, and cold. And there were a few other favourite spots that would hopefully deliver.

 

Llyn Idwal

Following the A5 towards Bangor took me past the stunning Tryfan, the jagged peaks all covered in snow, and ice, stunning, it is obvious to say that this was well beyond the risk that I was going to take to get a good picture but even driving becomes risky with views like that on either side.

I had figured out that there was a promising area that could be reached quite easily just off the main road, it was about a 15-20 minute walk up a well used path, to reach Llyn Idwal. On the way up there were a few nice viewpoints, and the numerous people walking up with Crampons and Ice Picks made the scene even more impressive.

Details of the route, and trail can be found on the following site, or by searching for Cwm Idwal

http://www.trekkingbritain.com/ygarnandcwmidwal.html

Walkers venture well beyond the simple paths that I was following. Ice Picks and extreme weather gear the order of the day.

Numerous viewpoints mean that the 15-20 minute walk will take you much longer. With features like this it is hard to just plough on without stopping.

Ogwen Valley/Bethesda

Finally, onto one of the most beautiful of locations. Stopping just outside the Ogwen Bank Holiday Park and Country Club a short walk across the Afon Ogwen takes you onto a National Biking/Walking route that snakes up through the valley alongside the massive deposits of slate. After about 10 minutes of walking you are rewarded with one of the most amazing views. Dwarfed by the mountains either side, the valley floor stretches out before you. I really could have spent all day sitting here watching the weather changing, each shift in the clouds giving the valley a completely different look and feel.

This lone tree growing through the tons of slate stood proud against all the elements.

Crepuscular Rays 'Gods Fingers' breaking through the low cloud cover threw patterns of light onto the valley floor.

No words required.....