The Roaches

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The Roaches is an area of gritstone crags just north of Leek in Staffordshire. It’s a famous rock climbing area with many classic climbs. It’s also got some highly photogenic shapes and a wonderful outlook to the south and west. Continue reading

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Snowdon by the back way

Mynydd Mawr above Rhyd Ddu
Mynydd Mawr rears above the hamlet of Rhyd Ddu with a steam train just about to arrive in the station on picture left.

This route is a less popular way to top out on Snowdon, with some nice airy ridge walking near the top and plenty of squelchy bog trotting towards the end. Views are, as usual on Snowdon, either tremendous when clear or non-existent when the clouds come down. Continue reading

Autumn arrives in Wales – the Aberglaslyn Gorge

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While I was on holiday in Crete for two weeks, in 30+ degree sunshine, autumn arrived in Snowdonia. It seems early this year but I probably think that every year. There’s certainly plenty of colour to be had. The day was slightly overcast, good for going to water and woods. I went to the Aberglaslyn Gorge, next to Beddgelert. A spectacular sight any time of year but a prime spot for autumn with a great mix of trees and rushing river.

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Penllech Beach wild camp – part 1

The northern coast of the Lleyn peninsula in North Wales is a wild and (relatively) quiet place. It’s well away from the tourist hot-spots and difficult to find down winding single track roads without any signposts to help. The coastal scenery is very beautiful, with rocky headlands and sandy beaches and narrow coves. It bears comparison with much of the north Cornish coast.

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I’ve done wild camping trips to this area before, staying on the headland above Porth Or, or Whistling Sands as it’s known. I already knew that beach but this time wanted to find somewhere new. I arrived early to explore up and down the coast, trying to find the most promising photogenically-interesting beach. I specifically wanted a combination of sand with interesting rock textures.

The beach was practically deserted when I got there and by about six o’clock it was completely empty. I would have liked bigger waves and some more interesting clouds to add more interest to the shots but nature doesn’t always provide.

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As the sun went down colour started to arrive and I saw more and more textures in the rocks and ripples in the sand. It’s always worth staying around for fifteen minutes or so after the sun has gone below the horizon because you can get some really interesting colours then.

I found a lovely spot in the grass above the beach to spread my bivvy bag. It was an unusual treat to be warm and still enough to sleep with my head out of the bag. Alarm set for 4:10 am, shots of the sunrise will appear in part 2.

Nantlle Ridge overnight – part 1

Drive from Caernarfon towards Beddgelert on the A4085, past Llyn Cwellyn, and you arrive at Rhyd Ddu. It’s a hamlet with pub and cafe and is the starting point for one of the paths up to Snowdon from the south-west flank.

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The path along the Nantlle Ridge. The path sticks to the ridge crest with vertical drops on the right to the sharp summit of Mynydd Drws-y-coed and continues towards the right edge of the shot. In the distance on the left is Moel Hebog.

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