dimarts, d’agost 16, 2005

Rainbow Tour 2005 Travel Log - Day 19 - Monday 7.25.05

The weather improved from last night. I got up and had breakfast with Mary after a midnight battle with the vindaloo. I went off to Caernarfon and stopped in at Dylan Thomas for a great cup of Dwyfor coffee, email, and some chile for lunch - like I said, people make very good chile in Wales. I go to Dylan Thomas every summer, and the owner, probably a couple years younger than I, remembers me from year to year, as do his mother and father who work there as well.

After lunch I headed over to Llanberis to enquire about a trip up Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), but when I got there I found out the the next train with seats available wasn't leaving for another two and half hours. Llanberis is a nice enough town, but not interesting enough to spend so much time waiting around. I decided to journey across the back ridge of Yr Wyddfa over Pen-y-Pas and then down along the souther end of the mountain.

The weather was moderately sullen by the time I crossed through Pen-y-Pas, but still clear enough to afford pleasant vistas along the western and southern expanses of Eryri; the Welsh mountains have all the green of Ireland and all the ruggedness of Scotland, a perfect combination. So many beautiful photographs have been taken of the Welsh countryside, especially Snowdonia, but the reality is that no photograph can ever capture what the human eye can, no lense is wide enough to capture the full breadth of the elegance of these ancient glacier worn mountains, that even after the last ice age still reach thousands of feet into the sky where they kiss the low lying cloud that accompanies the Gulf Stream.

On my way along the road to Rhyd Ddu, I passed by a sign for a copperworks and decided to stop and investigate. The name of the works is Sygun, and not only is it a copperworks, but a mine complex as well. I decided to take the self-guided tour of the mine, so I donned my hard hat and shouldered by backpack and down I went. I've been in mines before, but this one felt especially cold and damp. In places the water was fairly deep, and boots would have been useful. Nonetheless I trudged on passing frightened Irish tourists afraid that they would slip and fall on the wet rocks. At times the ceiling was quite low, and rarely was it high enough to allow me to stand fully erect. I picked my way along the tunnels, stopping and listening to the recordings that described the various aspects of the mine and its operations. I decided that I would brave the entire length of the mine tour. Starting at the bottom of the mine, I clambered up 550 vertical feet of wet tunnel and steps covered in copper oxide, finally arrving at the top to be greeted by beautiful vistas of the souther Snowdonia range. The views alone were worth the climb and the battle for my breath against the thick metallic air of the tunnels.

After Sygun it was back "home" to Tai'n Lôn and supper with Mary and Olwen.