Monday, April 27, 2015

North Wales

This is set to be my annual pilgrimage and there is no finer place than the heart of Snowdonia.  The place of many childhood holidays and now the resting place of my dad who passed away last year.  The trip was to celebrate his birthday - to remember and pass by all those places we spent together as a family.  Family.  Never perfect but there is something here that has purged the imperfections, the valleys have been overruled by the mountains just like the darkness fails to comprehend the light.

The trip was a celebration of life, of challenge, and of aching limbs.  Our challenge to climb the highest peaks of England,Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland started with Mount Snowdon.

Awaking to clear blue skies, we were both excited about the prospect.  Three minutes into the climb - we were knackered but soon hit our stride.  Two and a half hours later, we hit the top.  The views were breathtaking and a social visit from the Mountain Rescue team by helicopter was an extraordinary sight for all the onlookers as it pitched forward and powered down into the valley.

 Having got back to base camp by mid-afternoon there was still time to explore some of the surrounding areas and a short drive up to Conwy to a small nature reserve at Nant-y-Coed with a fast flowing stream and typical mixed pine and deciduous woodland.  Here I was able to connect with the most wonderful of birds, the Dipper seen at close quarters but was extremely active, settling briefly on the rocks before dashing downstream.

The next day, we could barely walk but after visiting the beach, we headed over to Aber Falls.  Another simply stunning area with a 45 minute walk up to the waterfall.

Along the path, I was listening out for birdsong.  It wasn't long before I connected with a couple of gorgeous male Pied Flycatcher, shrilling from the treetops.  Three male Common Redstart were seen here along the path, such a beautiful bird in such beautiful surroundings.

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