An Enchanted Land

The heart of Snowdonia - Nant y Benglog (The Ogwen Valley)
The forecast said “a risk of showers for the first few hours of the day” and when my alarm went off at 4.30am I peered through the window and saw lots of cloud with the odd break here and there. It was quite chilly but I was wrapped up warm and really didn’t want to get up and go out ‘there’.
What could be worse than leaving your bed at such a miserable hour, traipsing up a mountain only to witness another false dawn? I’ll answer that for you. Worse would be to stay in bed only to find out later that while you were snoring the gods of light had been playing with their new torch! It looked dodgy but no, I just couldn’t risk it.
Ten minutes later I was in Nant y Geuallt, singing Beach Boys songs by the light of my headtorch. The benefits of singing are twofold; firstly, it cheers me up on cold, dark mornings and secondly, warns sheep of my approach, preventing them from getting startled and in turn scaring the shit out of me!
By the time I reached the pass which descends to Crafnant it still wasn’t looking like I’d capture anything decent but I decided to go on anyway, “nothing to lose now”. It was then that I came upon a group of wild ponies, a sight which always tugs at my heartstrings. There’s just something that I find completely enchanting about them, an enchantment tinged with melancholy. They are incredibly beautiful animals and their presence turns this already bejewelled upland world into a fairlyland. I was here a few weeks ago showing the clan Williams around and young James said they looked like unicorns only without horns; though of tender years, he’d felt it too. As I wasn’t in a hurry I spent twenty minutes sitting on a boulder watching them graze only a dozen yards away. They were completely untroubled and would now and then glance across at me, eye contact being our only means of communication. It was as if they, as I of them, recognised a being in their natural habitat. Somehow, photography didn’t seem that important and reluctantly I moved on and made the short climb to Crimpiau’s rocky top.
The sun had by then risen and it was clear that I wouldn’t be getting any warm early light, but broken as the cloud in the east was, I knew something would happen if I was patient, and a very pleasant wait it was too. The air was clean and cold and the breeze keen but in my down jacket I was snug, contented. Even with no light, to sit alone on Crimpiau’s summit throne is a wonderful experience. The kingdom of Eryri lies at your feet and the only sounds are the plaintive bleating of sheep and the throaty ‘kronk’ of the raven.
I was starting to remember that just ‘being here’ is the important thing when it started to happen, a reward from the gods for keeping the faith and not falling into the trap of photography for its own sake. I was at peace and very still when suddenly the mountains came to life, glowing, incandescent as if lit from within; the sky started to boil and clouds swirled and billowed and I recorded the scenes I witnessed so I could share them with you.
The show ended as suddenly as it began; I packed my bag and quietly went on my way. Somewhere, down in the valley was a bacon bap with my name on it.

A Tale of Two Valleys

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~ by nicklivesey on August 19, 2013.

4 Responses to “An Enchanted Land”

  1. Captivating…as always.

  2. Felt like I was there with you Nick. Love the “Gods of light playing with their new torch”.

  3. Just stunning Nick! Thank you for capturing and sharing such beauty again.

  4. Reblogged this on Spiritual Mountain Walking and commented:
    I Have just come across Nick’s Blog and thought I would share it with you all – A wonderful photographer capturing the energy and beauty of Snowdonia. Powerful evocative images as we so often see on our walks through this beautiful terrain.

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