November 2016 saw a sudden change from the mild autumn we had been enjoying to a short, sharp taste of winter to come. Chris didn’t fancy anything too dramatic and Border Collie ‘Mist’ was happy to be out anywhere, so it was my choice then – a couple of years earlier we had spent a warm, sunny autumn day in the hills above Beddgelert (see post #168) but had missed out a chunk of ground near to Llyn Dinas. Time to remedy that then.
It’s strange going to popular tourist spots out of season, and Beddgelert was the quietest I have ever seen it – it was definitely not an ice cream day, with a biting wind coming from the west, though a bright sun did much to lift things. We left the town, heading alongside the Afon Glaslyn towards the lake of Llyn Dinas, passing below the Sygun Copper Mine, now an important tourist attraction for this part of Snowdonia. No tourists today though.
From the lake, it was time to gain some altitude. The low sun meant that we started in the shade, but before long the sun was right in our faces – I had guessed it was going to be a sunglasses day, but had left them at home, so the pair of us screwed up our eyes against the bright light and the cold wind. ‘Mist’ waited as patiently as an impatient Border Collie can, but was happy to take a break when the sandwiches came out and even happier to help scoff them.
We managed to find a spot in the sun but out of the wind where we also had a grandstand view of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) to the north. It was obvious that Mr Snow had paid a visit, and using a bit of imagination (well, OK then, a lot of imagination!) there appeared to be a similarity with one of the views of Everest. Members of the 1953 Everest Expedition trained on Yr Wyddfa before the first ascent by exped members Tenzing Norgay and Ed Hillary, so perhaps my comparison wasn’t too wacky.
It was soon time to start heading down into Cwm Bychan, with its relics of the cableway once used to transport copper from the mines down to Nantmor. The air was as clear as a bell, with great views out to the hills of the Moelwynion, and I made a mental note that we must get out that way again in the near future.
Our return route was through the Aberglaslyn Pass – the Fisherman’s Path is one of the most dramatic lowland paths in North Wales, with the route in places clinging to rock walls above the noisy waters of the Afon Glaslyn. I love night walking but Chris doesn’t share my enthusiasm, so I had timed things nicely to return to Beddgelert just as dusk descended. As we arrived back in the dying light I had the spark of an idea – Yr Wyddfa had looked great under snow, and the weather for the next few days was settled – a return trip was on the cards.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock