Well tonight I said I wanted to go out regardless of what I was doing as have not been out in a while. My plan was to go up Y Garn, but there was trouble at mill, it seems (a Yorkshire saying). Since my phone updated itself to the latest OS, it defaulted to silent which I didn’t think to check. So as I parked up and got out of the car I thought I’d better check my phone before losing signal. Good job I did, as a mountain rescue call out had come through. Bugger, there goes my jaunt up Y Garn. I switched my radio on and contacted base to get a SITREP (SITuation REPort), obtained the information and off I went, racing up to the site of the casualty and my two colleagues as fast as I could. I arrived a somewhat sweaty and knackered mess, but thankfully a trusty friend of mine had it all in hand. I fed the casualty with my last piece of home-made flapjack, courtesy of my fantabulous, amazing wife and filled him up with hot, sweet tea. All I can say is that the casualty was ok and just needed observations thankfully, after a no doubt frightening occurrence. We hung around for more colleagues to arrive and waited for the helicopter. Turns out the helimed was in the area, so they landed and helped us out; landing on mountains is not their usual remit. Rescue 22 eventually arrived and flew around and over-head before they were given the OK to leave, as things were in hand.
We got the casualty safely onto the helicopter and I decided that it was only 18:15 (actually, time decided that it was 18:15), so I had at least an hour and a half of good light left for some photography. I bid my friends and colleagues adieu and made the decision to stay at roughly the same height, as I could get some good pics into Cwm Idwal, Dyffryn Ogwen and Nant Ffrancon from different vantage points, roughly along the same contour line. There was some great light and shadow playing on Glyder Fach and Tryfan’s flanks, so I snapped a couple of panorama shots, below and moved on.
I wandered further across west to the top of Clogwyn y Tarw, so I could get a good look down over Cwm Idwal and across to Twll Du (Devil’s Kitchen) and found myself a nice spot to perch on. There was good chance of a cloud inversion now, as a thin cloud bank was coming in from the west, and was just sat behind the entire northern ridge of the Glyders; it was just a case of waiting if it would develop. Time ticked on. The light was fading, so I figured I’d better compose some images and get snapping.
And of course, no photography session would be complete without a picture of me.
It was starting to get dark now as the sun had finally sunk and it was getting on for 8 pm, so I figured it best to get one or two more pics and bugger off the hill. I always like shooting with long exposures towards moving vehicles to catch their light trails, so I pointed the camera down the Nat Ffrancon and to the A5 to see what I could manage; the image is not as high a quality as you would expect from photographers that do this all the time with the correct equipment, as I’m just experimenting really.
It also did not look like the cloud inversion was not going to force itself over the barrier of the Glyders, but there were hints of this behaviour above the Devil’s Kitchen in Llyn y Cwn. I set up the shot and set the camera to 15 seconds to get the below image; again, not very high quality.
I shot this in black and white as I was concerned the image quality would be too bad in colour. I find the spectacle of cloud pouring over the edge of a mountain face like this absolutely beautiful and magical; there is nothing else in nature like it. Imagine water pouring out of a large jug very slowly and you’ll get the idea or dry ice pouring off a stage at a concert. There is just something mystical about it that just encourages me to stare at it in awe. The rescue call-out was a cruel twist of fate, as if I had been stood on Y Garn’s top at 947 metres, I would have witnessed a sea of cloud stretching out below me to the west, with Snowdonia’s mountains breaking the crust of it like islands in calm sea. So feeling disappointed, I set up one last picture looking north for silhouette, as the sky was a wonderful burnt orange colour now, turning deep blue above.
I packed up the gear, fitted my head torch and made my way carefully down the now dew-damp grass towards the path next to Llyn Idwal that would take me back to my car. A good evening, but feeling a little disappointed still. Oh well, there will be more opportunities I’m sure.