|"Tuscan Welsh" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
After my last blog post essay landscape photography not being a clearly defined genre, I thought I'd go for a shorter one this time containing several images but an easy read :-)
Having done the first part of this mountain walk before I thought I'd easily negotiate my way up through the bracken, streams, boulders and shrubs but no, I still manage to end up IN the squelch, slipping on slimy boulders and beating my way through bracken ! The route eventually becomes clearer as so many more rabbits use it now, and the clearly defined straight path on the map takes you nicely through a quagmire. I am still utterly perplexed as to why the main footpaths to the summits of mountains are not marked on ANY of the Ordnance Survey maps.
|"A Circle of Bright Sheep" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
Anyway who cares? This little used Llyn trail traces a delicate route across and alongside walls which no longer seem to have any real purpose, and the hills were utterly and totally devoid of any other human beings, I mean not even a glimpse of anyone, anywhere for miles. These hills don't look threatening or foreboding like the higher Snowdonia peaks, and lush long grasses created a thick swaying carpet across every slope, delicately reflecting the sunshine in undulating waves of light. Unusually the Snowdonia massif was free of cloud today but here, a few cotton wool clouds skated along the blue air. I was wide-eyed with excitement at the simple, soft, beautiful minimalism of this landscape - it was exposed but somehow comforting in it's gentleness.
|"Mountain Softness" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
The midday light is still low at this time of year so a strong back/side light was created, shafting beams of light across the hillsides. I was intoxicated by the continual light dramas unfolding across the landscape, only once featuring an actor, a large hare who shocked about seeing any form of human being down here, sprinted faster than any of his racetrack buddies, down the valley and up the hillside opposite ! A hairy caterpillar moved a millimetre out of my way at the same time.
|"The Hare & The Caterpillar" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
This softness was sensual, millions and millions of little arms caressing your ankles at every step. I wanted to be barefoot, to feel the sensation, and to immerse my feet in the soggy earth, a real connection with the land, but alas the wind was cold and the water icy, so maybe one sensation too far for me !
|"There Was a Gap" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
By the time I reached the summit of Gyrn Goch I was gasping for breath, the gentle slopes were deceptively taxing as although the thick grass may have looked luxurious it also made each step much more laborious. At the peak overlooking the Irish Sea, the wind had become surprisingly gusty and I sheltered in the lee of the summit rocks to eat my Coronation Chicken sandwich, which I washed down with hot coffee. I looked at my watch and was shocked to see it was almost 3.30, only two hours from darkness and a potentially awkward descent, yet I still had the highest peak to do, which looked ominously dark against the now gale-driven Southern sky. A haze had developed and the wind was now making progress slower. The ascent towards Gyrn Ddu was made even harder because the low afternoon sunlight was now just above the ridge and blasting straight into my eyes, blinding me to the numerous boulders and ditches across the slope. I reached a surprisingly rocky mountain top and huge boulders which looked like rough pumice stone, were actually as greasy as a frying pan and my feet slipped several times during the last scramble to the cairn. The rocks were dark and large lenticular clouds were now building out over the Irish Sea.The wind was so strong here that I was literally losing my footing in the gusts. I felt unusually exposed here, the full force of the wind racing off the open Irish Sea, screaming up the hillside towards me and bending itself over the peak. The shadows were extending behind me so a short sip of coffee later and I was making my way down and off, back to safer ground and the start of the journey back.
|"Town of Giants They Say" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
The sun was now mostly hidden behind clouds but on the steepest descent, I crouched against the hillside as remnants of light broke across the col with Bwlch Mawr in the distance. A long wall came down the hillside to my left and shot into the valley where it terminated. A way to the right and a double wall started up, leading the way across the hilltops but for some reason a huge gap was created between the two, a very strange piece of land management if ever there was :-) And there, in between the two walls which formed a narrow track for maybe just 100 meters were two farmers, talking to each other across the gap. I was shocked to see these two people in the middle of nowhere, having seen no one all day, and I was getting into my Welsh speaking mode so I could say hello. An intensity of light was occurring and the low sun was now just spilling sideways over the landscape, shadows long, clarity strong, colours warm and rich. As I entered the lane I shivered, not due to the rapidly cooling gale but because the two farmers were simply not there any more, they had simply vanished. I walked up past the point where I had seen them and all I can guess is that some of the large stones in the walls had created a deceptive illusion, but the hairs stood up at the back of my neck anyway!
|"Making Tracks for Home" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
I found the way back much easier and faster than I thought, and dropped down the steep shadowy slope. The path had miraculously straightened out and made itself much easier to find. I turned around to check the landmarks for a future ascent and in doing so, slipped on wet grass and went flying backwards, cracking my head on the tripod at the same time as feeling like a right idiot ! One other advantage of isolated landscape, in empty space no one can hear you scream ! I sat on the side step of my Volkswagon van and finished my coffee. I listened to Rooks chattering in the valley below and then, for the first time in years, I heard an Owl calling in the darkness.
|"Two Invisible Farmers" - Llyn Peninsula © Glyn Davies 2011|
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