From A Windy Viewpoint


Hi folks

Well after my lack of motivation earlier on today, I posted on my companion blog to try and give myself a kick up the backside to get out and do some photography. Even that was hard enough to do, but the sun was slowly starting to dip below the clouds, so I figured I may get something half decent as all those flitting, wind tugged clouds would be allowing some ‘god rays’ through. Turns out I was right.

Moel Eilio Rays
A black and white image of Moel Eilio (726 metres) as the sun’s rays break through the cloud to shine down on Llanberis.

This quarry is one of my favourite places to wander around in, although technically, a lot of it is (unsuccessfully) fenced off as it is owned by First Hydro. To be honest, most people just clamber over the fences. Yes, the quarry is a potentially dangerous place, but only if you explore places that are dangerous, such as the slope sides of the slate/slag heaps as these are pretty unstable, as some are not far off forty five degrees.

On the path towards the view points. I always love the colour of these trees. The lower slag heaps tower up behind.
On the path towards the view points. I always love the colour of these trees. The lower slag heaps tower up behind.

There is so much to explore here. The quarry closed in 1969, after being one of the largest slate quarries in the world. As I didn’t really have time to go to where I usually go (higher up), I only took a few shots from around the view point that hovers out between the Llyn Peris and Llyn Padarn lakes. If you want to know a little about the quarry then go here. Deep below Elidir Fawr, is First Hydro’s power station, housed in the largest man-made cavern in Europe, which I am yet to go into. I’d prefer not to have to go on a guided tour in a white bus wearing a hard-hat, so I’ll have to devise a way of infiltrating their security instead, maiming/gagging a staff member and stealing their ID and white coat. What!? It’s done in films so it must be easy! Go here for more info and some technical gubbins for those engineers amongst you.

It was actually pretty darn cold up here this afternoon, and I was glad I wore my down jacket on top of my fleece lined top and a pair of gloves. It’s always windy on the viewpoint though; it’s either funnelled from the south over the Pass or from the north, but usually the former. I had to take care with the tripod and camera so it didn’t get blown 200 metres down the hill. That’s not technically true, it would have bounced before landing further down. Well, you/things don’t just ‘fall off a mountain and hit the bottom’ as a lot of ‘indoor types’ seem to think. Even if you were to fall off Crib Goch’s precipitous north face, sure you’d fall a couple of hundred metres before you started rag-dolling further down the mountain and by this point you’d probably be unaware of it anyway. You’d be pushing up the daisies. Speaking of which:

Dinas Mot at lower left reaches up to Crib Goch's north ridge to it's near-knife edge spine, with said precipitous drop below.
Dinas Mot at lower left reaches up to Crib Goch’s north ridge to its near-knife edge spine, with said precipitous drop below.
The village of Nant Peris is dwarfed by the Pass of Llanberis closing in around it, with Crib Goch rear. The main Llanberis Path tracks and railway line are covered by snow.
The village of Nant Peris is dwarfed by the Pass of Llanberis closing in around it, with Crib Goch rear, as darkness closes in. The main Llanberis Path tracks and railway line are covered by snow (upper far right).

And as I don’t appear to have any recent pics from atop Crib Goch, here’s a shot of me from about three years ago to give you an idea of why it’s not a good idea to fall. And yes, if I’d have stepped back I’d have fallen to my death. It wasn’t windy, which is a major rarity in north wales and even more so at 923 metres altitude. Crib Goch also boasts as being the wettest place in Britain, getting a huge 4,473 millimetres (176.1 in) a year over the past 30 years. So on this day, it was nice to be dry and without wind. But it’s quite nice here in May, when this shot was taken.

At the start of the Crib Goch ridge after I'd climbed the north ridge.
At the start of the Crib Goch ridge after I’d climbed the north ridge. That’s Snowdon in the background.

Anyway, the light was surprisingly good at times as most of the time I was out it wasn’t particularly dramatic, but I’m quite pleased how this one came out:

South West to Moel Cynghorion and Foel Gron as light dances on the hills' flanks.
South West to Moel Cynghorion and Foel Gron as light dances on the hills’ flanks.

I carried on to the viewpoint and set up my tripod for a number of panoramas, which was what I really came here to do. Bloody hell my hands are cold, so I’m off to make a brew. Be right back.

Tick.

Followed tock.

Followed tick.

Followed tock.

Hello again. Tea made so I can continue.

The following shots are all taken from a viewpoint that sits at approximately 270 metres above Llanberis, as well as Castell/Castle Dolbadarn which is pretty much in front of the viewpoint, at the juncture of the two lakes. I didn’t shoot it as the images would have been poor in the current light conditions.

Looking East to Elidir Fawr and the vast galleries of Dinorwic Quarry.
Looking East to Elidir Fawr and the vast galleries of Dinorwic Quarry.
South across to Snowdon's north ridge and the Pass of Llanberis. The colour of Llyn Peris really stood out today in this light. Beautiful.
South across to Snowdon’s north ridge and the Pass of Llanberis. The colour of Llyn Peris really stood out today in this light. Beautiful. The windy view point is at right, leading the eye to the Moel Eilio range of hills.
Over Llyn Padarn and Llanberis, as the sun slowly sinks. Right of shot is Ynys Mon/Anglesey.
Over Llyn Padarn and Llanberis, as the sun slowly sinks. Right of shot is Ynys Mon/Anglesey. This shot was very difficult to take and process due to the strong sunlight, so I had to under-expose and adjust later in software/Camera Raw. A stitch of six images.

And no post would be complete without a portrait of myself with the mountains behind me. I was really cold by this point. That could explain why I’m stood in a not-so-manly pose. I was also concerned the tripod and camera would blow over, despite taking preventative measures. This is just one shot on a ten second timer:

Freezing my butt off above Llyn Peris, but happy to have the day's cobwebs blown away.
Freezing my butt off above Llyn Peris, but happy to have the day’s cobwebs blown away.

That was the last shot I took, as any good light had now disappeared as the forecasted weather front was arriving. I made a spanner of an attempt to climb back over the wall, hoisted the camera and tripod over my shoulder like a little stick with a red and white spotted handkerchief on (something very satisfying about shouldering a camera on a tripod, no idea what), and made my way back to the car as it started to rain. I just grinned.

Nicely timed Elt, nicely timed 🙂

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