Sunday evening and a succession of Atlantic depressions are bringing in a light but steady rain from the West that manifests itself on the window as I begin writing my first post in ages. Above the sound of the rain, my favorite radio show plays – hi Julianna and Ashley all the way over there in Middlebury Vermont – while the reasons for my absence from this blog; Daniel and Benjamin are both now asleep upstairs.
In view of the weather I think this one should feature lots of sunshine so I’ve dug out some photos of a short trip to North Wales we did at the end of summer.
The southern Snowdonia peak of Cnicht is an eye catching feature when seen from the lowlands between coatal Portmadog and the Pass of Aberglaslyn. A steep and rocky demeanor belies its modest altitude of 689m or 2265 ft and it is much easier to climb than it is to pronounce correctly. Indeed Cnicht; whose name means “the knight” is often referred to as “The Matterhorn of Wales” due to its shapely conical appearance.
From the charming Welsh mountain village of Croesor a signed path leads to the summit along an interesting ridge and a steep rocky path though the route is without difficulties and as far as the summit, remains obvious requiring little in the way of route finding.
A curious thing I found here was that despite this being my first visit to this valley and mountain, the area seemed strangely familiar. This was because it was the setting for one of my favorite childhood stories; The Shop in the Mountain by Showell Styles which featured a teenage boy and his sister who move to North Wales from Birmingham and come to be at home in these mountains. The author incidentally, at one stage held the record for the fastest ascent of Cnicht from Croesor.
I don’t know whether he still holds the record but it was under no threat from me as I made my leisurely way to the top in sunshine that would do justice to a Mediterranean island. Beyond the summit the character of the terrain changes and one looks out over a vast high country scattered with lakes and small crags where I stopped for lunch by a remote tarn with views to Snowdon before carrying on to Moelwyn Mawr across the valley.
Pete Buckley November 2012