Take a look at the picture below. It is the first view I had of Tryfan. Aged twenty, I had arrived at night in a van full of students taking a weekend off college to go walking. After a night in a climbing hut that groaned as the corrugated casing contracted against the wooden walls, I awoke and went outdoors for the view. The memory stays with me today, a magnificent mountain looming down on me, crystal clear in the air cleared of dust by the previous night's rain.
Tryfan is the eastern part of a horseshoe shaped corrie, Cwm Idwal. [What the Scots call a Corrie, the Welsh call a Cwm.] Look carefully and you can see a line up the mountain side. This is known as the Heather Terrace and it forms the easiest way up the mountain, a steadily ascending gentle slope that eventually reaches a Col [Bwlch Tryfan] between Tryfan and Glyder Fach, a name that means Little Glyder to compare it to its larger sibling, Glyder Fawr [Big Glyder.]
From this ridge double back on an easy scramble to the summit. However, at the top are two pillars,Adam and Eve, on one side of which there is frightening exposure and a serious drop. Adventurous lads often jump from one to the other. What lads do to impress girls! I gave that endeavour a miss.
The toughest route up Tryfan is the North Ridge which you can see see above the Heather Terrace which can involve scrambling, and there are on the ridge dangerous spots. Another route takes you up from Cwm Idwal. This is part of the Miners' Track. Welsh slate miners from the villages of Nant Francon used to work away at the slate mines near Llanberis, and at weekends they would walk home, crossing the mountain at the Col [pass, Bwlch in Welsh] between Tryfan and Glyder Fach and descending then to their homes for their much needed rest.
The view from the summit is glorious. You can see the whole range of North Wales, with Snowdon to the south and the mighty Carneddau to the North, and to the East the broad moorlands that stretch away towards England. You look down on two little jewels: the waters of Cwm Idwal and higher up the smaller lake of Llyn Bochlwyd.
From the Ridge you can sometimes see the Royal Air Force practising, using the peculiar Geography of the valley below. The Ogwen Valley, by which Tryfan and its fellows stand, turns at right angles into the valley of Nant Francon, with the river that empties from Llyn Ogwen tumbling over a series of small falls at the bend. The RAF practise sharp turns around this bend and you can often see the jets like tiny red flies below you as you stand on the rocky vantage point.
Years ago on a train I met an old woman who had grown up in the shadow of Tryfan, who told me that one of her childhood jobs on the hill farm where she was raised was to ascend Tryfan to the moorland besides it and collect whinberries, which we in England call bilberries. I got then a peek into an earlier Wales, life as it was for centuries before supermarkets. She looked a very healthy ninety plus, with a good complexion and a happy character. The outdoor life had surely been good for her.
The greyish line is the Heather Terrace, one of the routes up the mountain.
The image to the left of your title has the colors in your last image of Glyder Fawr.
The computer is not cooperating about the detail other than the image looks somewhat like a gray multi-lane highway running along the side of a mountain whose peaks loom above it and its bouldery, clumpy, rocky slopes loom below it.
What would the image be of, and where would it be in this really tough -- ;-D -- walk?
I know what you mean. By writing these articles I intend to share my experiences gained over many years of enjoying nature.
The terrain views are gorgeous! However, I doubt I would be fit enough to make the trek amid the mountains and boulders, so I shall be content with pictorial views.
Just to clarify terms for readers from abroad, the language of the place names is Welsh. It is a Celtic language unrelated to English, which was spoken in West Britain before the Romans came. Few English speak it. I can read notices and signs in Welsh, but as my daughter lives in North Wales her children will learn it.
In Welsh llyn means lake, and it is pronounced clyn. Bwlch [ a pass between two mountains, a col or a saddle] is pronounced boolch.
The mountains and the terrain are beautiful and tempting. The wilderness is fascinating, though I am not so fit I would love to visit these stunning places. I am an admirer of brave people like mountain climbers and adventurers who explore remotes places like these. May this beauty of our planet remain longer and not get destroyed by the greed of human beings.
The wilderness in the British Isles is localized and is often mountainous. It is said that England only has Alston Moor in North Cumbria, near the Lake District, I have motored over that and it felt remote. Scotland has some really large wilderness areas, parts of the Cairngorms and the higher mountain ranges, such as the Ben Nevis range. Wales has certain mountain ranges, like the Glyders.
Hamish Brown, a Scottish mountain writer, once walked across Northern Scotland for six days, camping at nights and only met one person. Yet Hamish declared that the best walking territory in Britain is Wales, knowing as he said so that his fellow Scots would be outraged by what he said. For much of Scotland is ecologically degraded, shorn of its natural tree cover, while Wales is not.
Yet Britain's most dangerous footpath, the Broomway, is in lowland East Anglia, in Eastern England, crossing a stretch of sandbanks so dangerous that I would not dare to cross it. I have walked many a path, but I will never take that one.
I've only been to the British Isles once, for a very short period of time, on a layover. I had no idea there was such wilderness to be found there. Pinned to my travel board.