Serene Snowdonia / by Neil Alexander

Llyn Celyn at dawn

A couple of weeks ago, I headed to mid-Wales to hook up with some old friends for a long overdue reunion. I decided that I ought to chuck my tent in the back of the car and stay an extra night with a view to capturing some of wonders of the Welsh countryside. Snowdonia is a place I've not visited for some years so why not kill two birds with one stone?

 Tent, pitched. Badly....

Tent, pitched. Badly....

Arriving at the lovely little mountain town of Dolgellau, I checked into the small, quiet Tan-y-Fron camp site and pitched my canvas for the night. Once I was confident that I had sufficiently resurrected my boy scout skills and my temporary shelter wasn't going to collapse on me in the middle of the night, I drove down the banks of the River Mawddach to its mouth and the delightful little town of Barmouth, arguably one of the most beautiful locations in Wales.

The picturesque old town is well worth a visit with its steep steps and slate roofed cottages on the side of Garn Gorllwyn mountain. A breakwater separates the harbour in the estuary from a beach that must be at least 5 miles long, and is perfect for sunbathers and beach football with little or no chance of stumbling into each other.

I grabbed myself a delightful and not over facing portion of fish and chips at the Anchor restaurant whilst gazing out into the sun kissed bay and plotted my strategy for the hours ahead.

I then endured a rather fitful nights sleep (I discovered to my determinant, that sleeping on a yoga mat does not provide a sufficiently soft basis for a good nights sleep), surfaced around 4am, inadvertently woke my unfortunate neighbours and quickly dashed off before they could clamber out of their tents and lynch me.

I headed up towards Trawsfyndd and then over to Bala towards Llyn Celyn where I had calculated, should the weather co-operate I had a good chance of some workable dawn light. I wasn't disappointed. Arriving shortly before civil twilight gave me the opportunity to capture the descending moon over the nearby Ffridd y Coed where I made the photograph with the farmer's gate, and then headed down to the banks of the lake itself.

Moonlit gate

 Beans - What else is there to eat when cooking on a gas stove?

Beans - What else is there to eat when cooking on a gas stove?

 Making a brew.

Making a brew.

Having found my composition, set up a camera, tripod, filters, remote release etc, it was time to get the kettle on and then make myself some breakfast and wait. The calm and peacefulness of the spot was inspiring. Complete and utter silence save for the rather vocal geese who felt they needed to gate crash my breakfast. Aside from that, it was sheer bliss.

View over Llyn Celyn towards Bala