Doesn’t time fly !! Yet again it is a number of months since I posted one of my British Landscapes series of articles for which I can only apologise and I will try to make sure it is not as long till the next one.
Lakes of Snowdonia
One of the areas I know particularly well is the Snowdonia National Park. As a landscape photographer, I am drawn to including water in my images and that is certainly possible in Snowdonia where depending on the definition of the word “lake” there could be anywhere between 150 and up to 400 such bodies of water.
Compared with the lakes of Cumbria, which have become known as the Lake District, as though no other existed, the lakes of Snowdonia have never been celebrated in the same way for their beauty but more in the past for their tales of local folklore.
Although some of the images below were captured some time ago I hope they go some way to ensuring that these lakes are as equally appreciated as those in the Lake District.
Captured on my first digital camera ten years ago Llyn Gwynant for me is one of the most attractive of the lakes of Snowdonia. It lies on the River Glaslyn, in the Nant Gwynant valley with Snowdon to the north-west, and to the east Llyn Dinas with the village of Bethania between them. The lake is natural, having been formed by glacial action. It was used as a filming location in the 2003 film ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’.
In late August 2010, an opportunity arose to capture a view that I have been intending to for some time, that being Snowdon from Llyn Nantlle and is here seen from a similar location to the painting of the same name produced by the famous artist Richard Wilson. Created around 1766 using oil on canvas technique it is now located at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
One of the tourist hot spots of Snowdonia is Betws-y-Coed and located above the village and accessible by a fairly easy-going track is another of the lakes of Snowdonia – Llyn Elsi.
The trail starts by climbing through a wood of oak, sycamore, ash and birch. Llyn Elsi is beautiful in all seasons, with its necklace of heather, gorse and rowan. There is a path around the lake, and at a height of over 700 ft, it affords good views to the north-west towards the mountain ranges of the Carneddau and the Glyderau. Prior to the dam being built in 1914, the lake was, in fact, two smaller lakes, called Llyn Rhisgog and Llyn Enoc.
Now onto the wilder side of Snowdonia at 1,430 feet above sea level, Llyn Llydaw is a sterile glacial lake of Snowdon in its eastern valley Cwm Dyli. It has an industrial air about it, and it has the Miners’ track crossing its eastern end by a causeway that was built in 1853 when the lake was lowered. Covering an area of 110 acres, it has a depth of approximately 190 feet at the head of the lake but becomes shallower due to the morainic deposits by the ancient Llydaw glacier.
Llyn y Dywarchen
Finally, we visit a lake with some folklore and a wonderful backdrop of a less well-known view of a snow-covered top of Snowdon.
Llyn y Dywarchen is believed to be named after a piece of turf which used to float on the water’s surface. ‘Tywarchen’ is the Welsh word for turf. On his journey through Wales in 1188, Giraldus Cambrensis referred to the floating island, or a piece of turf floating on the lake, and Thomas Pennant in 1784 also refers to vegetation moving across the lake. A small island, not a piece of turf can be found here today and is visible in the image with the small conifer tree on its top. It always reminds me of a whale with the tree being the spout.
I hope this small selection of lakes goes some way to show that there is another “lake district” worth visiting.
More images of the lakes can be found in the Snowdonia and North Wales gallery