Quarries, Mountains and a Church in the Sea. - Jay Birmingham

Quarries, Mountains and a Church in the Sea.

Last week saw the promise of snow, and whilst it did not deliver where I live, the rest of the country seemed to be blanketed in it. We’d seen some wonderful photographs, taken by others, at many of our photography haunts and were aching for the opportunity to experience some of that beauty ourselves. A trip to North Wales was in order…

We set the alarm for 4:45am on Saturday in order to make the most of the time before sunrise. We put on our winter kit, shouldered our packs, and started to hike up the side of Afon Lloer, the river that cascades down from the Carneddau. It was good fun in the snow, and we felt like we were having an adventure even before the sun rose. We could see little beams of light across the landscape and on the distant hills – these headtorches indicated that we weren’t the only ones enjoying the beautiful conditions and scenery. The sunrise wasn’t quite what we (and the weatherman!) predicted, but it was glorious to be out enjoying the snow and the fresh air, and looking at the mighty Tryfan looming out of the clouds. Tryfan isn’t the highest peak (15th in Wales) but is one of the best to look at – from almost all angles, and my favourite to climb.

We visited one or two spots to enjoy the views of the mountains – the frozen Pen-y-Gwyrd Lake with views of Snowdon, and I enjoyed taking photos of the sheep enjoying the snow near the side of the road.

I don't do a lot of black and white, but I quite liked the contrast of the snowy mountains with the moody sky as the sun breaking through lit up parts of the ridge. The pictures below are of Snowdon from two different angles.

Dinorwic Quarry was on the cards for the afternoon. It was definitely different exploring it in the snow, and we spent a long time wandering around, and enjoying the views. You can see right across to the Llanberis path on Snowdon, and if you zoom into my photograph, you can see the people coming down at dusk. We also saw sunrise at the quarry (although we did go somewhere else to sleep in between!) and the sky was phenomenal. There were clouds swirling across the bright sky, and the contrast with the snow and the buildings was a stark reminder of the beauty of nature, and the industrial footprint of man.

We then visited somewhere on Anglesey that I’ve never been before. Considering I spent all of my childhood holidays exploring the island, that’s quite an achievement! St Cwyfan’s Church is known as ‘the church in the sea’, and it did not disappoint. Although it was low tide, the atmosphere was quite moody as it threatened to rain. This church dates back to the 12th century, although there has been some work on it since. It is apparently used now occasionally for weddings – the photos from these must be stunning!

Alas, it was time to go home. We stopped for sunset at Talacre beach on the way back and took some shots of the Point of Ayr Lighthouse. This is pretty old, and was built in 1776, but is disused now. It looks quite bleak against the clouded sky, and it was interesting to walk on the beach.

We arrived home tired, but pleased with the weekend, and are planning some more adventurous expeditions in the area in the next few months… watch this space…

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