A walk - Pen Llithrig y Wrach, Moel Eilio and Cwm Eigiau

This walk in the eastern Carneddau was my last in Snowdonia before the March 2020 lockdown. It would be 7 months before I was able to get back there.


As ever, it was an early start. I rolled out of bed at 4 am, giving me 45 minutes to drink copious amounts of coffee, an hour to drive to my starting point and 15 minutes to get kitted up and into position for some dawn photography. At least today there wouldn't any walking in the dark to get to my location; that would have meant an even earlier alarm call.


Today's sunrise target was Tryfan, one of the national park's best known mountains. The most familiar and iconic view is the one you get as you approach it from the east on the A5 road. So that's where I pitched myself; in the long layby immediately east of Llyn Ogwen. This is one of my regular car parks; it's free, rarely full and is an ideal starting point for walks into the both the Glyderau and Carneddau ranges.

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I only just made it in time (fortunately for me, there aren't many speed traps on the A5 at 6 am) and it wasn't long before the sun broke the horizon behind me and bathed Tryfan in a deep rusty hue. The spectacle was over in moments; I'd barely left the car and had already acheved my main professional goal for the day.

My subsequent painting of "Tryfan Dawn", viewed from the side of the A5

And a photo looking the other way, towards Pen yr Helgi Du.


To be honest, I could have gone home at this point. The forecast was for bright sunshine and it was therefore unlikely that the light would be conducive to any more paintable scenes. I always tell myself that I'll go walking until sunset creates some more drama but at this time year that either means a very long walk or a shorter walk followed by a few hours of hanging about. A lack of stamina and patience, respectively, mean that I rarely do either. I save those kind of adventures for the shorter days of winter.


So, I packed up the camera into my rucksack and headed east, intending to walk over high ground as far as the eastern fringe of the national park and then returning via the stunning glacial valley of Cwm Eigiau.