Driving through Wales always takes 100 times longer than you plan. The roads are slow, there are a million speed cameras and then there’s the sheep in the road. Despite all this, the further you drive into Wales the more epic it becomes. The hills grow taller and landscapes more dramatic.
We were here for one thing, the super moon. A super moon is simply when the moon is at it’s closet orbit so it appears massive and makes a great photo (hence the trip). The plan was to make it up Snowdon to catch a glimpse and a photo or two of the Super Moon against a mountainous backdrop. Simple, right? The only issue was there are two things you can count on when going to Wales – lots of sheep and awful weather!
We arrived in the car park with roughly two hours before sunset. This meant zero faffing and getting a wriggle on asap to get to the summit in time. We set off at a fairly rapid pace only stopping to take off more layers. The pace was tough, especially when the path turned to scree resulting in every step forward sliding slightly back.
The entire route up was engulfed with a low-lying cloud keeping us nicely cool but also robbing us of the stunning Snowdonia views. However, the moment we stepped out on to the ridgeline just below the summit we stepped out on top of the cloud to be greeted with not only a clear view of the mountains but a piercing sunset. Morale was back instantly. A whole 3 minutes of photo’s, Skype calls to show off the experience live and ultra high-res selfies and then the view was gone – the cloud had returned.
We made the last few hundred metres in ever growing fog while the light disappeared all too quickly. Shortly after it was pitch black and the moon was gone for the night. We knew if we stayed we might catch a quick glance if the cloud lifted but with the extremely low chance and ever-beckoning beer and hot food awaiting at the bottom we decided to head down. We came for the moon but were treated all too well with the sunset so we were comforted with not only that but just simply getting outside and climbing a big old hill.
As we set off on the descent, head torches guiding us, the route took an interesting turn getting ever-steeper and the scree got ever-looser. Despite some navigational mishaps we made it to the bottom. We made it but it took us a LOT longer than expected. It took us so long because we descended an extra 250-300m into an entirely different valley. The next issue was that we didn’t actually realise how far we had gone by that point. We thought we just had a couple of hundred metres to walk…oh how wrong we were. A couple of hours later and we finally made it back to the car. At that point it was a rush to get some food before everywhere closed.
The next morning it was all about running. We went up into the slate quarries in search for some interesting locations to get some shots and we more than lucked out. We got some great shots and lots of ideas for some new trail runs. There’s something about the bleak slate mines that draws you in and makes you want to explore further. I think it’s just how its such an odd mix of nature thats been altered forever by man – either way I’ll be back to explore and for more than 24hrs next time.
Finally a big thanks to Ben Read for the unreal photos, for more of his adventure photography madness check out his site – http://www.benreadphotography.com