|"Black Energy" Marchlyn Mawr © Glyn Davies 2012 - Purchase HERE|
On leaving the van, we felt he need to put everything on, gloves, hats and even over-trousers (in my case the amazing Paramo Cascada trousers) and this was Carol's first opportunity to use walking poles so it was a clickety click of sticks up the winding tarmac road towards the Marchlyn Mawr reservoir. I was soon overheating thanks to my RAB windproof under my Paramo jacket so removed both the RAB and Paramo, walked another 100 meters into the shade of Elidir Fach and was suddenly chilled to the bone so BACK on with the Paramo, what a faff, but that's this weather for you, exacerbated by carrying heavy rucksacks full of camera gear, flasks and water bottles!
The lake of Marchlyn Mawr stirred slowly in the darkness of the mountain shade, only a gentle reflected light from the blue sky illuminating it's shadowy surface. Tiny wavelets spat at the steep dark dam wall before being sucked back down into it's depths. Since my first visit here as a teenager, I have always wondered what would happen when the tunnel is opened and hundreds of thousands of gallons of lake water plunge headlong down the inside of the mountain to the turbines in the valley below. Would a swimmer get sucked in, or birds or fish :-) Even today, with the apparent wisdom of age I still wonder where the plug is. The lake therefore holds a dark mystery to me, and makes me feel uneasy.
|"Beyond the Wall" Marchlyn Mawr © Glyn Davies 2012 - Purchase HERE|
We started the steep ascent up the spur, above huge cliffs towering above the now shrinking lake below. We shortened our poles to deal with the almost 1in1 slope ascent which did help noticeably, until we reached a boulder field on the final stretch towards the top ridge. Here, the normally friction covered grey boulders were covered in a fine layer of ice cold frost, making even the most pumice like boulders seem slippery underfoot. The wind was noticeable here in the cold shadow, but nothing compared with the brunt of the brisk South East breeze when we topped out on the sunlit ridge. The leg to the summit fog Elidir Fawr was exhilarating in the crisp midday sunlight, and the frost simply vanished leaving cold coarse stone once more. Amazingly for such a beautiful day we were alone on the summit, for a while at least, and we just stood in awe and happiness soaking up the brilliance and the panoramic views, from the hills of the Llyn Peninsula, across the beautiful lowlands of coastal Anglesey, to the full massif of the Carneddau, the Glyderau and then Snowdon itself. We could see for miles in this light. Photographically of course, for me at least, it was just not the right conditions, featureless sky and no lovely shadows scudding across the landscape, or even heavy mist, hill fog or thunderstorms, but it was in it's own way, still beautiful.
|"The Wall Was Broken" © Glyn Davies 2012 - Purchase HERE|
We descended the narrow ridge to the North, down to the col before Mynydd Perfedd, and looking back up the ridge, the silhouetted shape of Elidir Fawr looked like a pyramid. We stood right next to the sheer cliffs which form the backwall of Cwm Marchlyn and could see the whole of this small reservoir lake, with the vista of Anglesey in the background. Soft springy grass took us up the slope to the wide, exposed and even more windy summit of Mynydd Perfedd, where you get great views over the Ogwen Valley and the famous peaks of Pen yr Ole Wen and Tryfan, though unusually for this crystal clear day, the summit of Carnedd Dafydd alone was covered in elongated clouds.
|Summit of Elidir Fawr by Carol Mead|
It's an easy walk from here to the next peak of Carnedd y Filiast, but en route, you cross a long stone wall struggling to stay upright, and here we sat out of the wind, grabbing a last cup of coffee and photographing a small pool covered in thick ice. Carol was in her element with macros and abstracts so it was quite extraordinary to be pulling HER away from photography so that we could finish the walk ! It was a steep and rocky descent from here down the mountainside to joint the path towards the top end of our original track, the tarmac access road from the dam back to the van. The sun had sadly dropped behind a huge bank of cloud on the horizon but it still created a gorgeous glow over the van, where we sat in the open side door and finished our flasks and absorbed the evening sounds. A truly special day, almost devoid of photographs but full of great views and great company.
|Sunset on the van - a warm welcome back :-)|
All words and images are strictly copyright © Glyn Davies 2011 - All rights reserved
Glyn's landscapes are all available as 200 year archival prints on his website at www.glyndavies.com