|"Optimistic Sinking" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
There's nothing quite as joyous to me as hearing Carol say she'd be able to join me, and as the route seemed to inspire her so much, that's exactly what happened. Between the pressure of her professional work, her creative work, and me running the gallery, it's so rare for us to get the chance these days that I was grinning like a cat with fresh mouse. This time unlike last, we remembered food as well as drink, and I am so glad we did! For 127 watchers, we didn't take a pen-knife though !
|"Arenig Arbenig" Summit of Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
It's August, it looked sunny. The hills are swarming with summer walkers, like mozzys on a sweaty cow. I have to go further and further afield at this time of year to escape the vortex desperation of lemmings sucked towards the highest peaks. Arenig Fawr jumped out at me on the map - The description: "To some, the poor Southern relative of the Snowdonia bigger peaks" - but to me exactly the reason to reach for it's summit. The downside to these hills, is that their very disuse means the paths are not so precise, so trodden or so scarred. Map reading and navigation are worthwhile skills but even with my OS Explorer Map, the description of the descent as, 'follows faint, sometimes invisible paths, across boggy vegetated hillsides" did worry me a little, especially as the clouds were already thickening over Snowdonia by the time we'd even reached Capel Curig !
|"These Memories Don't Meander" from Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
We parked on old waste ground beside a disused quarry, and walked as per the guide for 1.5 miles down a tiny lane - FILLED with busy traffic detoured from the main Llyn Celyn (Tryweryn) road, due to a fatal accident. This closure of this major road between Bala and Trawsfynydd was therefore drowning this beautiful small valley lane under rivers of relentless roaring engines thirsty for speed. It was awful, but in the gathering gloom (in every sense) we finally found the path which led away from the beeps and brakes and brainless, and we walked into silence and happiness. It was sort of strange having Carol with me as I've got so used to my own company and the notion of mountains offering solitude, but there was a new reward in her company, a new satisfaction of sharing sights and experiences, and even the very basic acceptance that in these remoter places, there is always someone else there for you, as well as with you.
|"A Light Flow from the Dark Lake" Llyn Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
The mozzys we'd hoped to escape on the big hills were compensated for by real life mozzys peppering the humid grey air, and clouds of flying ants found their way into every crevice of our own sweaty bodies, but somehow, apart from one surprise bite to the neck, they didn't cause anywhere near as much bother as finding a car park in Llanberis would have done! The crags of the back wall looked formidable and the lake was dark and uninviting but out of the silent depths appeared a Grebe, and then a whole flock of divers, not sure which species, but their ripples spread energy wide across the lake and brought it to life. The South-West rising ridge provided a steep but easy terrain ascent to the first shoulder and then the sun started to burn through, even Llyn Tegid near Bala started to shine in the far distance. A dainty Pipit welcomed us at this height, dancing from dry boulder to dry boulder. Sheep nuzzled into thick grass, but we had seen just four people so far, and that was it. We never saw anyone else after this, not even on our return to the van after 5 hours.
|"Abandoned Heights" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
The stony wide ridge was suddenly plunged into low cloud and in the breeze funnelling in from the West it felt like we were flying, The craggy summit appeared and disappeared and in the half light and half fog it suddenly seemed huge and distant but in the sun seemed low and close.
|"Carol in Colour & White" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
We were there in just a few minutes. In better visibility, the views from this peak really would take some beating, as you can see into North, East, South and West Snowdonia, but in this cloud we were lucky to even find the summit!
|"Crystal Vision" Summit of Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
A sad little line of memorial crosses were placed against the summit cairn, just below a slate plaque inscribed with a dedication to eight young US bomber crew who lost their lives when their Flying Fortress bomber crashed here in 1943 during the second world war. We were at 2,800 feet but we chatted about how, in such thick cloud, in unfamiliar territory, with only basic maps and compasses to use for navigation, it is perhaps surprising that not more planes had crashed these hills.
|"Carol, the Summit Cairn & the Memorial" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
After coffee and caramel wafers, we descended the West slopes in thick long grass, and joined an official footpath in the cwm formed between Arenig Fawr and Moel Llyfnant. It was vivid green in bursts of sunlight, and seemed like a fresh mowed drive, but on following it through a series of deserted farm buildings, it became a reed laden bog, deep peaty black water and finally it became an actual stream. As we peered up to the summits they remained cloudy, just the hillsides having their breasts exposed to brief caresses of warm rays. Predictably, maybe half an hour after leaving the peak, having descended at least 1000 ft and navigated the bog of eternal stench, the highest points exposed their tips for all to see and bathed in the glory of all Ra had to offer. All we could do was to look up longingly and think "next time, we'll be up there with you, next time, always next time"
|"Was Homeland" Moel Llyfnant © Glyn Davies 2011|
Permissive paths dotted with lush Rowan trees, dripping in vibrant red berries glowed in the evening sunlight. Bilberries adorned duvets of thick shrub, and a large buzzard soared overhead, calling towards the far slopes of Arenig Fach beyond. Sheep lazily grazed emerald green fields and wood-pidgeons rushed nearby tree-tops, but generally everything was getting quiet, sleepy in this now peace restored valley, except for the throb of Ducati four strokes racing the distant bends beyond Llyn Celyn once more now the main road had finally cleared.
|"Carol's favourite film, The Descent!" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
|"The author before the summit bid !" Arenig Fawr © Glyn Davies 2011|
All words and images in this blog post are strictly copyrighted to Glyn Davies © Glyn Davies 2011, All Rights Reserved
All of Glyn's images which appear on this blog may be purchased direct from his website www.glyndavies.com