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This past weekend I took a long overdue trip to the heart of Snowdonia National Park in Wales. I had been to the southern end of the park in mid-Wales for some hikes and it was lovely, but the heart of the park with the big mountains is in Northern Wales. I based my stay in the town of Llanberis, which is basically the Chamonix of Welsh mountaineering. Its a really lovely town and I have included some pictures of views of, and from the town. It links directly to all of the main mountains of interest in the area (and there are many!).
Small but charming streets typical of the UK.
The lovely and surprisingly inexpensive hotel from which my adventure was based.
I only arrived at the hotel at 2pm, and immediately geared up to do some exploring. The first day would be comparatively easy to what I had planned for the next two days. I thought I would take advantage of the relatively easier hiking and make this outing more about photography. Something which I havent done in a while.
This is the gear I used for day 1:
Important bits include the TNF Angstrom 20 backpack, Brasher Hillwalker II GTX boots, OR Neoplume primaloft jacket, Joby Gorillapod SLR tripod, my Canon T2i SLR with 17-40mm F4L lens, Fizan ultralite poles, some MEC windstopper gloves, TNF Venture rain shell, some drybags, MEC windstopper hat, and source 3L bladder. My fuel for the day was 1 cliff bar and two gels. The OR kit bag contains necessary safety essentials, and I carried a Victorinox climber SAK in my pocket.
My targeted hike for the day is a mountain called Elidir Fawr (3031 feet), part of the Glyderau range. The particularly cool thing about this mountain is that on one side is a disused old slate quarry which makes for some very fun exploration. Also, the mountain now houses a hydroelectric dam, which means most of the quarry is fenced off. So the some of the fun was jumping gated off areas and dodging barbed wire!
The hike started on some very nice paths all made of slate of course!
Once you pass the forested area, you reach a clearing that starts to give you a great view to the South-West of the Snowdon Massif.
From here you can start making your way up the massive slate walls to the various stepped plateaus of the quarry.
After a good two hours of exploring, I made it above the quarry and was well on my way to the summit. There was no path and it involved some careful stepping and scrambling up random boulder fields. You can see the quarry down below.
The final push to the summit was all scrambling over some massive boulders. I didnt anticipate that, and definitely had the wrong boots for the task! They came out of it with quite a bit more "character" than they went in with!
A look back at the summit crest I took to get to the highest point.
There were some lovely views from the summit, and a very cold breeze. Good thing I brought an extra layer!
I spent about 30 minutes on the summit taking pictures and resting, then made my way back. Once I got back to the hotel, the reward was a nice rump steak enjoyed while watching the sunset from the restaurants patio gardens.
Of course, as I mentioned, one of my main goals was to do a bit more photography on this particular outing, and I was quite happy to be able to do that.
Here are some of my photographic highlights from the day. The sunlight was so intense that it was very easy to get incredibly vibrant colours.
The Snowdon Massif:
The Glyderau range:
Reports on Day 2 and 3 to come!