As you will have previously read from my articles “On the Beach” and “Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond” I’ve been bemoaning the lack of snow here in my little part of North Wales. I mean, why should everyone else have fun, taking photographs in the snow, and uploading them to various “Show Us Your Snow Photographs” sites. So yesterday it was time to set off on a quest to find that elusive “white stuff”
There should be plenty in the Snowdonia National Park and the park is not too far a drive from my house. So yesterday morning, armed with a flask of coffee and my sarnies it was time to follow my quest. Did I mention that it was snowing as I left the house? No matter, I wanted Snow, real Snow, with a capital S, and I had a good idea where I would find it, Llyn Idwal. It’s a small lake (approximately 800m by 300m) that lies within Cwm Idwal in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia. The lake is easily accessible on foot via a 900-metre long stone-paved path from Ogwen Cottage on the main A5 road
Forty minutes later I was parked and starting to walk the path. Almost at the start of the path there’s a wooden bridge that crosses a small river that flows from Llyn Idwal.
Snow at last and something worth photographing. Never mind that I was standing in about a foot of it to get this photograph. Perfect, what more could anyone ask for. Well it could have been a bit warmer and unfortunately, cloud cover was very low, which meant horrible grey skies in every photograph. More importantly. Would I be able to make it up to the lake with the clouds so low? Or worse still, arrive at the lake and find the cloud cover had descended even further. One good thing, there were plenty of people walking the path so I wouldn’t be on my own if the clouds did descend.
There’s a saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” and it was time to venture. Right around a small outcrop of rocks to photograph some of the Feral Mountain Goats that are resident in this part of Snowdonia and had come down off the higher hills. Do they know something I don’t?
Come to think of it that horrible grey sky, which was worrying me before, makes the goat stand out against the dull background. The next goat though was down amongst the rocks and it was easy to get some closer photographs.
The feral goat is the domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) which has become established in the wild. Feral goats are sometimes used for conservation grazing, to control the spread of undesirable scrub or weeds in open natural habitats such as chalk. But when their numbers get too large the population has to be controlled, either by culling or re-location.
Moving on up the path, and keeping an eye on that cloud cover, it was time to take this photograph looking back towards the coast at Bangor.
Is that some blue sky I see? Didn’t last for long, because within minutes it was snowing, not heavy, just that light powdery stuff. At this point it was time to make a decision, whether or not to go on. If it continues to snow all of the photographs will show blurred white streaks. getting the camera wet isn’t a problem because the Pentax K-30 is weatherproof. In rainy conditions, or in this case snow, it pays to keep the lens hood on, hoping it will stop drops falling on the front of the lens, because these drops appear as a great big blurred blob.
It’s only a couple of minutes to the lake from here, so onward and upwards…..and it was worth it. The snow stopped and I was able to get some photographs of the lake and the mountains behind.
First this one, looking towards the mountains. Now you can’t see them and to be honest neither could I, but there was a lot of people up here. Their voices were echoing across the lake as calling to each other, they climbed that mountain behind the lake.
After about an hour, and with lots of photographs it was time to leave Llyn Idwal, but not before stopping to take this final one before descending the path again.
Back at the wooden bridge there’s a small waterfall, formed as the river from Llyn Idwal drops over rocks, before descending the valley to meet up with the the Afon Ogwen river at Pont Pen-y-Benglog near Ogwen Cottage. It was too good to miss
I hope you enjoyed my quest to find the “white stuff” and if you feel the need to visit Llyn Idwal here’s a map showing how to get there. Car parking is at the red push-pin and Llyn Idwal is the smaller lake to the SW of the pin. The larger lake is Llyn Ogwen and there are some good photo opportunities if you go along the A5 to the other end of the lake. Just remember. You need to be equipped to venture into the mountains, especially at this time of the year. I was wearing good boots and cold weather clothing, with a set of waterproofs in my camera backpack.