My built-in compass usually sees me heading north in the UK when I have time off - Scotland's hills are very hard to resist. I've headed south for play once before, to Wales, but the weather was poor to say the least. Thick mist and rain in November spoiled the view for us on Snowdon and Tryfan and at times we counted ourselves lucky when we could see each other on the hill. Fast forward to Summer 2013. I had a chance to spend 3 days in Wales walking and scrambling with friends in Snowdonia National Park. The weather looked amazing. With no rain forecast and 25+C temperatures, our plan was to do the Snowdon horseshoe on day one - which scrambles up the Crib Goch ridge, goes over the summit of Snowdon and then down over Y Lliwedd - then climb up Tryfan and over the spiked summit of Glyder Fach on day two. On the third day, we were headed in different directions. I planned to shoot kayakers on the grade 5 rapids in the Fairy Glen on the nearby Conwy river whilst the others walked up the Nantlle Ridge. It all panned out perfectly except the kayaking - there was a distinct lack of water in the rivers!
Scrambling-wise, Wales is brilliant. I don't think I've ever put as much hand to rock on a day out. Photography-wise though - for the type of shots I was after - it was hugely difficult. The biggest challenge for me wasn't making sure I didn't get everyone on the hill in the shot (there must have been at least 100+ people with us going up Tryfan) it was the daylight sun. Not being on a paid shoot, there wasn't the need to get up early and each day the sun was high in the sky, with no clouds, giving out super bright light that caused massive shadows or blown out highlights depending what you metered on. (Getting out on the hill before sunrise and going home after it's dark is still the best plan to get great outdoor action photography, unless you bring in enough flash power to overpower the sun).
Nevertheless, this wasn't a photography assignment and I had a great time walking and scrambling in the sunshine. Special thanks go to Adrian, Alison, Davy, Chris, Stephen, Kirstie and Dennis for the company. Also to Del and Sian at Del's Bunkhouse and Roundhouse, where we stayed (you can find them at Bryn Beddau, Nant y Rhiw, Llanrwst, LL26 0TW). It's basic accommodation but I'd highly recommend it. I'll definitely go back.