Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Snowdon, nest of eagles. The view from the summit.
The highest point in Wales and England.
Normally you look up at mountains, here you look down!
From the summit you can see 24 counties, 29 lakes and 17 islands. The Snowdon range is one of the most mysterious and majestic mountain ranges I know. It is so often cloaked in mist and you can, I believe, sense the antiquity of the rocks, formed between 4 and 5 million years ago. There is something about lying quietly in the grass among the mountains of Snowdonia - the quality of the silence is an age-old ache. Yr Wyddfa means 'tomb' or 'tumulus' and it is said that King Arthur slew and buried the mighty giant Rhita Gawr on the summit. Arthur himself died on the ridge between Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd, casting his sword, Excalibur, into the waters of Glaslyn below, while his men retreated to a cave on the slopes of Y Lliwedd until such time as they will be needed. Merlin hid the golden throne of Britain among the cliffs of Crib Y Ddysgl and, to this day, it has never been found. These myths are drawn from the time of the Saxon invasions of Britain and speak of the struggles between the Celts and Britons against this new wave of invaders.
This is the home of hill farmers - we saw farm dwellings well above 1,000 ft and heard of a local family who have recently moved into one of the farmsteads. It is also the land of poets. It is said that if two people spend the night near the lake at the foot of Clogwyn Ddu'r Arddu, one will go insane and the other will become a great poet. Above all it is country that invites endurance. Sir Edmund Hillary trained for his ascent of Everest on the pyramidal peak - Garnedd Ugain, Yr Wyddfa, Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd together making up the range that is known in Welsh as 'Eryri' - 'uplands' or 'place of eagles.' But it is Clogwyn Ddu'r Arddu which remains the greatest challenge for mountaineers.
Yr Wyddfa 1,085m; Garnedd Ugain 1,065m; Crib Goch 923m; Y Lliwedd 898m; Yr Aran 747m
Glaslyn, Llyn Llydaw, Llyn Ffynnongwas, Llyn Ddu'r Arddu, Llyn Teyrn
Crib Goch (the ridge - mountaineers only!), the Pig Track, Miners' Track, Watkin Path (very demanding!), Rhyd Ddu Path, Snowdon Ranger Path, Llanberis Path (longest ascent), Y Lliwedd (second part of the Snowdon Horseshoe.)