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Here's a piece I wrote before I joined Practical Photography magazine. I submitted it to three magazines Practical Photography, Amateur photography and Country Walking with no success - it isn't easy to get material like this published because the editors often have very fixed ideas about the content that they want. On ePHOTOzine I want you to gain exposure and I want other readers to benefit from your experiences.
After a hard week grafting in a humid city environment I can't think of a more pleasant change than getting away from it all into the countryside. A weekend break to North Wales is a welcome change. Armed with a copy of the North Wales O/S leisure map, I set off on a route that would take me by Snowdon.
The first day was spent touring round doing the usual sightseeing activities, gradually ending up at a campsite near Criccieth and retiring with a few cans of beer. I awoke early on Sunday morning to be greeted by a heavy blanket of mist. Luckily, once breakfast was devoured and the last of the plates scrubbed, the mist had cleared leaving a cooler morning ahead ideal conditions for walking.
I began to plan my day trip up Snowdon and decided to try the Llanberis approach, from the Pen-y-Pass car park.
As I had a heavy bag full of gear and a tripod I didn't fancy scrambling up a steep slope at 3000feet. To avoid having to return without reaching the summit I asked the car park attendant if there was an easy route to the top. I suddenly realised what a great mistake I had made - I'd asked an obviously keen outdoor goer an horrific question! His reply, as expected was 'ah, dedicated walker are we' and then he grunted something about the top car park and Pyg Track. After recovering from the error of my ways I tied up the boots, slipped on the fleece and wrapped up in my newly purchased Mountain Equipment waterproof jacket. The rucksack, crammed with camera equipment, Kendal mint cake, sandwiches and drink was firmly in place. Off I strolled on a gravel track, wide enough to take a car, according to the map - the Miners Track . The views across to the left overlooked the A498 and its valley - quite a breathtaking view and I had hardly moved.
Only five minutes into the walk and I was reassured about what a fool I had been asking for an easy route - nothing could be easier than this track.
Ahead was the shape of Snowdon, mist hanging over its summit. I felt like singing the summit has got its hat on! The track took me on to Llyn Teyrn which had the occasional clump of granite scattered in the landscape. Some of the pieces were so beautiful I spent some time photographing the strata - much to the amazement of the passing walkers!
I mounted the old Hasselblad 500CM camera on a Benbo tripod and waited for the sun to break through the clouds. I waited, and waited. After about 15 minutes my patience broke - the clouds didn't. I packed the camera away and continued the walk.
The path takes you through a small pass towards the causeway - a man made crossing over the Llyn. By now you can see the disused mines in the hillside. The mist was now slowly descending over the landscape. The path leads on to Llyn Glaslyn, directly below Snowdon. This spot was so calm with the occasional gull screech echoing in the hills.
Then came the echo of the Llanberis railway, blower hooting and steam bellowing. Quite amusing really, climbing a hill to be over taken by a steam engine full of old dears going for a coffee at the highest cafe in Wales!
I spent time at Glaslyn hunting round for interesting camera viewpoints. Once I was satisfied I had captured all the best pictures I looked for the path to the summit. The man made path was replaced by a hillside of loose rocks. It's here where you need the necessary burst of energy and a kick in from the leg muscles. You have to weave your way up the bank, which, before long, takes you to a disused mine shaft. On some maps this is marked as dangerous. I can see why - there's a sheer drop of about 30 feet suddenly appearing from nowhere.
It's quite a busy route with people going up and down like yo-yo's and it's not long before the rugged terrain is interrupted by another man-made section in large steps, making the walk simple again. I eventually reached the junction between the miners' track and the railway track. From here a swift glimpse of the view towards Caernarfon lasted approximately 10 seconds before the mist prevented anything being seen that was further than a metre from my toes. All this way and there wasn't enough time to set the camera up. Such are the joys of landscape photography! Oh well, the chocolate drink at the summit station was good. On the descent you can fork off to the left from the miners' track taking the upper path known as the Pyg Track. Yet again, this is another easy going route with quite wide paths. The views over the Llyns are quite spectacular, especially, when the mist clears. I managed to take a photograph of the causeway and stunning views over the Llanberis Pass. You also gain a glimpse of the Llyn Cwmflynnon, situated behind the Youth Hostel back at the Pen-y Pass car park.
The round walk is a very pleasant journey with fantastic scenery and breathtaking views It will cause few problems for walkers of all levels and takes approximately five hours - allow six for camera stops and snack breaks!