Glyder Fach with Louis Murphy

“I’m parked up near the visitor centre in my piece of shit, blue Subaru” - The last message I received from Louis before I lost my phone signal entering the Ogwen Valley from Bethesda!

It was the afternoon of the 1st of June and Louis had been in Snowdonia since the previous day. He was now nursing a hangover after a few beers in the hostel the night before which had escalated to several beers, a bottle of wine and a bottle of whisky…
I hadn’t seen Louis since the end of January when we were both on a Snowdonia Winter workshop run by Greg Whitton and Nick Livesey. We had been trying to organise a wild camp for some time but due to both of us having commitments on conflicting weekends, we couldn’t nail down a time. This was one of the few weekends that worked; and so it began…

I pulled up outside Ogwen Cottage at the Western end of Llyn Ogwen and spotted Louis sitting next to his car. I jumped out and we thought about the best place to go considering the weather. We had planned to camp up on Glyder Fach however the cloud was pretty low and you couldn’t see the summits from the valley. The forecast said that it was due to clear but at this point in time, it did not look promising. After much deliberation, we decided to stick to our guns and drove the short drive down the A5 to one of the lay-by car parks. Once the cars were locked and rucksacks on, we headed off up towards Llyn Bochlwyd then Bwlch Tryfan before the final stretch up to Glyder Fach. Walking up towards Glyder Fach, the summit was still in cloud. Occasionally a break could be seen as the light wind blew the cloud but as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.

Those that have been to Glyder Fach will know that flat, rock-free space for a tent is limited. It is like a scene from another world up there. However, there is a small spot just down from Castell-y-Gwynt where you can fit a couple of tents. Once we had found it, we pitched our tents and grabbed some food. The wind was light which meant the midges were out in force, not the time to have forgotten your repellant! Whilst sat talking about how despite the weather, it’s still great to just be out in the hills, the clouds parted and the sun broke through. There was a superb inversion and we could see Snowdon and Crib Goch poking through in the distance. We grabbed our gear and started running around the area like madmen trying to find something decent to shoot. We ran about 300m over to a collection of rocks to the South East of where we were. I couldn’t find anything worthwhile so decided to take some shots of Louis instead.

The Light began to fade on that part of the mountain so I grabbed my things and left Louis to it. I ran as fast as I could across the uneven ground back up to where our tents were and up to the iconic Castle-y-Gwynt. I had to quickly find a composition because the light was disappearing fast! I had everything set up and about to take a shot when Louis appeared from behind a rock into the frame looking equally as knackered as I was! We stayed up here until dark capturing as many images as possible. Below are the images from that evening.

The next morning we unzipped the tents at 04:00 and were greeted with thick cloud and no visibility. We didn’t even bother getting up and instead got another hour of shut-eye. At 05:00 we tried again. This time the thick cloud had gone and all that remained was another inversion and grey flat conditions. Snowdon and Crib Goch once again looked menacing sticking out the top of the clouds. Below are the images from that morning.

Back at the tents, we ate, packed up and headed down towards the Cwm Tryfan path and back to the cars, already planning the next one!

Thanks for reading and check out Louis’ website here.

Castell y Gwynt - Canon 5D Mk IV with 16-35mm lens at 24mm, f/11, 1/13 sec, ISO 100