Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow, Red, what is my hue? Probably none of them, or maybe all of them. I know that during the day I like a nice blue sky with white fluffy clouds and in the evening a sunset with lots of red, yellow and orange. What about green? That’s the colour I go when I see some of the great photographs that are out there.
One colour I do like is that sort of yellow/green/brown/rusty one that the grasses change to at the start of Autumn (Fall) and there’s nowhere better to see them than the Snowdonia National Park. So come with me along a 900-metre long stone-paved path to Llyn Idwal and let’s see what we can find.
Memo to Self: Don’t shoot into the sun. You get lens refraction, parts of your image is under-exposed and parts are over-exposed.
Anyway the bridge is the start of the path to Llyn Idwal. It crosses a small waterfall, which can be a roaring torrent, after the rains or a small trickle at the height of summer.
Cross the bridge and you will find a well-defined path leading to Llyn Idwal and the Glyderau.
Llyn Idwal is a small lake (approximately 800 m by 300 m) that lies within Cwm Idwal in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia.
It is named after Prince Idwal Foel a grandson of Rhodri Mawr, one of the ancient Kings of Wales, legend stating that the unfortunate offspring was murdered by being drowned in the lake. In fact Idwal Foel died in battle against the Saxons in 942 and the legend is that he was cremated beside the lake as was the burial custom for Celtic nobility.
I forgot to mention. As you are crossing the bridge, don’t forget to stop and take a photograph of the waterfall and what must be the most photographed tree in Wales, maybe even Britain.
Right, back on the path which gently slopes up the hill towards Llyn Idwal. If you have time take a quick detour after about four hundred metres and walk over the slope on your left hand side.
It will be well worth it because you will be able to see Llyn Ogwen which lies alongside the A5 road between two mountain ranges of the Carneddau and the Glyderau. Llyn Ogwen lies at a height of about 310 metres above sea level and has an area of 78 acres (320,000 m2), but is a very shallow lake, with a maximum depth of only a little over 3 metres. It is fed by a number of streams from the slopes of the mountains which surround it, which include Tryfan and Pen yr Ole Wen.
Tryfan forms part of the Glyderau group, and is one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in Britain, having a classic pointed shape with rugged crags. At 3,010 feet above sea level it is the fifteenth highest mountain in Wales.
Pen yr Ole Wen is the most southerly of the Carneddau range and is the seventh highest mountain in Snowdonia. It is the same height as England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike. It is often climbed as part of a longer route on the Carneddau range. The mountain’s average annual temperature hovers around 5 degrees celsius.
Many of the upland paths in the Snowdonia National Park can become easily flooded, due to the large amount of rain which falls in the area. The water erodes the path surfaces and, with millions of visitors each year, the wear and tear on the defined paths and adjoining land, as walkers try to avoid the floods, impacts greatly on wildlife and the landscape.
Drainage channels are now being dug along the side of paths and in some cases paths are now being re-stoned. As the path heads up towards Llyn Idwal you can just see the outline of Cwm Idwal which is a hanging valley in the Glyderau range of mountains.
In a 2005 poll conducted by Radio Times, Cwm Idwal was ranked the 7th greatest natural wonder in Britain.
Once you reach Llyn Idwal one path encircles the lake.
Two paths lead from opposite side of the lake to the top of the ridge close to the Twll Du (Devil’s Kitchen), but these paths become rather steep in places. They lead to Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.
A number of small streams flow into Llyn Idwal from around Cwm Idwal. One small river flows out under this bridge and joins the Afon Ogwen river at Pont Pen-y-Benglog near Ogwen Cottage, immediately above the Rhaeadr Ogwen waterfall. It’s the same river you see at the bottom of the hill as it flows under the wooden bridge.
There is a small pebble beach at the northwest edge of Llyn Idwal which is occasionally used by visitors for recreation, including bathing in the summer months. You can get to it by going through the gate and following the path.
As a mountain lake, the waters can be cold and care should be taken by swimmers not to go out beyond their depths.
I hope you enjoyed this brief virtual walk with me to Llyn Idwal and maybe we can do it again sometime, only for real.
Technical Note: All photographs were shot using a Pentax K-30 and Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 Wide Angle Lens with the focal length at 10mm. As usual I shot for HDR with brackets of –2, 0 and +2, hand-held, no tripod. Shake reduction was enabled on the K-30. The ISO was 100, Aperture f11
HDR processing was done in PhotoMatix version 5, still in beta trial, using the new Contrast Optimizer, tone-mapping algorithm, which give a very natural look. Final processing in Photoshop used NIK Color Efex Pro Contrast to counterbalance some of the flat contrast that can often occur with HDR Tone Mapping. NIK Glamour Glow was also used to warm the photographs slightly. Finally the Lens Correction Filter was used to straighten and take care of perspective problems caused by using a wide-angle lens, shooting hand-held.