Winter this year in North Wales has been fairly mild, with high winds and rain but less snow than usual. Most people would find that good news, but outdoors types aren’t ‘most people’, and my ice axe and crampons haven’t been getting much use lately. There’s still time though – the above photo was taken on an outing in March 2016, and the day after that I was out on skis in the same area.
On that outing in March 2016, Chris and I, plus Border Collie ‘Mist’, had taken a route out to the bothy at Dulyn in the mountains of the Carneddau (see post #197), the first time that Chris had been out this way. Four months later (July 2016) it was T-shirt weather in the mountains, and a great opportunity for Chris to see what had been underneath all that white stuff.
For those not familiar with the Carneddau, it’s a lovely semi-wilderness in the mountains of North Wales. There are traces of human activity, but the big open spaces and wide panoramas can hide most of the mess that we humans inflict on the landscape. For mountain enthusiasts, one of the more welcome human intrusions in this landscape is the remote bothy near the lake of Dulyn.
Although I’ve visited the location several times, I’ve still not spent a night at the bothy, something I must try to rectify this year, though I’ll probably aim for a summer trip to save carrying in wood and coal for the stove. Slightly higher than the bothy is the small lake of Dulyn, which had looked bleak and gloomy in winter – the July photo shows a warmer scene in every sense. (The propeller assembly is from a wartime air-crash whose story I told in post #197)
From Dulyn it was time for a bit of height gain, starting by old quarry workings near the lake. We headed up towards the higher lake of Melynllyn, assisted by ‘Mist’ who, coming from a line of good herding dogs, likes to make sure that the humans stay on the right track. It was warmer work on the July walk than it had been in March, but the height gain was just as steep – it’s fairly short though, and we were soon at the second lake.
Melynllyn is another beautiful spot, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that both Dulyn and Melynllyn are reservoirs – the two lakes have blended in to the surrounding countryside so well that they seem to have been there for ever. In this case, humans may well have made a positive impact on the scenery for once.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. Winter 2017 has been such a washout (literally) up to now that quality mountain days worthy of a blog post have been few and far between – hopefully, this trip back to the archives will fill the gap for now!