I started last weekend with a run over the Carneddau. I was kindly dropped at Aber and ran along the ridge over Foel Dduarth, Foel-ganol, Yr Orsedd and Pen Bryn-du up to Drum. It’s a lovely little run, with more up-and-down than I’d anticipated. And loads of ponies.
I then joined the main ridge just below Drum, where I encountered the first humans of the day. All of this was undertaken under glorious clear blue skies, with a slightly chilly wind once I started getting up higher on to Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel Grach.
From there I took a couple of photos of the last remaining snow patches on Carnedd Llewelyn. I hadn’t realised until relatively recently that there are people who go to great lengths to record the longevity of such patches across the country. I dutifully uploaded my photos to the relevant Facebook group that evening. I would also recommend Iain Cameron’s book The Vanishing Ice, which is an entertaining look at the subject of snow levels and prevalence, and the recording thereof, and nowhere near as dry as this sentence may suggest. It’s also another fine tome from Vertebrate Publishing, who have any number of interesting books for the outdoorsy person.
After Carnedd Dafydd I dropped off the east (best) side of Pen yr Ole Wen to the A5, and then up the North Ridge of Tryfan. That particular mountain has always been one of my favourites but also one of everyone else’s favourites, and so it was incredibly busy all the way up (apart from Waterfall Gully, but I remember why now #chossfest). I didn’t stop on the top, but continued down to Bwlch Tryfan, up the Miner’s Path, onto the Glyders and over, down to Pen y Pass.
With that little expedition out of the way, it was back to the club hut for some food and to look at information about stars. By sheer coincidence I had noted the night before that it was still just about possible to see the galactic centre (or thereabouts) of the milky way. This, combined with a forecast for a clear sky, meant I finally had the opportunity to use the camera lens Becs bought me for Christmas (24mm f1.8, photography fans).
This feels like an appropriate place to point out that ‘seren’ is the Welsh word for ‘star’. So after an incredibly long setup, you can now see why I was so pleased with myself when I came up with the title of this post.
After striking camp at 3am, I made my way to Y Glyn in Llanberis, with a particular target in mind. The Lone Tree is a prime target for photographers and Instagrammers. In New Zealand I refused to take the same shot of That Wanaka Tree as the 8 million other people who’d done it within the previous 24 hours, and up until now I’ve stuck to my guns about The Lone Tree too. However, my high-minded photography principles went out of the window when it was pretty much the only shot I could work out in advance, given the bearing of the milky way at the correct time of night.
In fairness, it worked out pretty well, although there was a stiff breeze blowing down the lake, and a surprise swan attack out of the darkness which kept me on my toes.
From there it was off into Dinorwic quarry up the narrow path (familiar to anyone who knows the Paddy Buckley round), and out onto the level of Anglesey Barracks. I tried a few shots of the barracks themselves, which didn’t really work out, but then rounded a corner to be confronted with the view up the valley past Nant Peris.
Needless to say, I was quite pleased! I’ve only ever tried shooting the milky way once before, in Hawai’i, but hadn’t really prepped properly beforehand. This time worked a bit better, but I’ve still got an awful lot to learn. Fingers crossed for more sunny days and starlit nights soon.