Rock, water, sky and solitude in Snowdonia

Talsarnau, Gwynedd Not another person was visible in this elemental landscape. But there was activity on the waters of Llyn y Dywarchen

Beyond the water-lily lake of Llyn Tecwyn Isaf, in Snowdonia national park, the farm road zigzags steeply to Caerwych, from whence a splashy path slips round beneath Y Gyrn to climb into a region of marshy flats where bog asphodel and creeping spearwort flower. Recent waymarking lures you on through terrain problematical in mist to the bronze age trackway.

A short, gentle, ascent leads to Bryn Cader Faner’s corona of outward-pointing rocks atop a grassy bluff. It’s one of the most beautiful bronze age monuments in Britain.

Though the cairn is a worthy objective in itself, I had designs on little, horseshoe-shaped, Llyn y Dywarchen. It’s one of those eutrophic, or nutrient-rich, remote tarns that are scattered throughout the northern Rhinogydd and provide a breeding habitat for many species of waterfowl.

Tracking around Y Gyrn with Dwyryd estuary sands in the distance.
The magic of a camera with a self-timer – Jim Perrin tracks around Y Gyrn with Dwyryd estuary sands in the distance. Photograph: Jim Perrin

Dywarchen is hard under the crags of Moel Ysgyfarnogod (“hill of the hare”), one of the roughest, most remote, summits in Eryri (Snowdonia). There are few paths here. I doubt more than a handful of visitors arrive here in the course of a year.

On a fine late July day, not another person was visible in this elemental landscape of rock, water, sky. But there was activity on the water. In front of the farther shore’s reed beds, specks drifted like grey ash across the lake’s sky-reflecting blue. I caught a tint of chestnut.

A family of pochard were feeding silently, melting in and out of the new reeds’ vivid green and diving for small invertebrates. Tiny brown trout flipped out of the water to send ripples spreading across the still surface. I peered at one dumpy little duckling, well separated from the rest, and picked up on the pale gape-spot. It was a little grebe, a tiny water bird whose squat presence always makes me smile.

With regret I turned from this silent and solitary temporal heaven to the long, arduous, return down rough slopes and through marshes to the glowing green track below the ridge of Y Gyrn. Sunset illuminated shifting spiral sand-patterns in the Dwyryd estuary below. A loping brown hare kept me company most of the way to Caerwych.

Follow Country diary on Twitter: @gdncountrydiary


Jim Perrin

The GuardianTramp

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