Ascending the Electric Mountain

Sun, Sun, Sun, it’s finally here.

Well actually it was here on Friday too, but for certain reasons (cough extremely loud party next door cough) I didn’t get any sleep.

So here we are, Saturday, a sunny day, fully rested, and what better place to start than by taking a bite off my to do list by climbing Elidir Fawr; the Electric Mountain.

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The beginning of my walk

Firstly I must confess, I have a little tradition, whenever I go mountain climbing, I blast out the soundtrack from the movie Brave in my car. Every-time, no matter what. The soundtrack is very uplifting and is filled with Celtic style music, I genre I love. Driving along, music playing, the sun blazing, mountains rising up before me, I felt comfortable, relaxed. Something that is hard for me to feel at any other time.

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View to Bangor and Beaumaris

I drove out past the little hamlet of Deiniolen to a long lay-by, from there a tarmac road led toward the base of the mountain. The area around Elidir Fawr was heavily mined, from the Llanberis side the mountainside is scared by the remains of the Dinorwic Slate Mines and the waste the miners left behind, The road I followed took me past a couple old mines, now bare and open to the elements, abandoned to nature. The road led me slowly up into the bowels of the Glyder Range, the ascent gradual but seemingly unending. I’m often told that I put far too much in my rucksack, and for once I was feeling the truth of those words, my shoulders were aching after only a few yards.

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Well, at least I know where I’m going

Eventually I reached the bottom of my first mountain of the day, Carnedd y Filiast, which is one of those wonderful Welsh names which translates to ‘the cairn of the greyhound bitch‘, brilliant. One may certainly call it a bitch to climb, the ascent entails a brief, but nevertheless, tiring slog up the side of the mountain before reaching a subsidiary peak known as Y Fronllwydd. From here there are some lovely views of Anglesey, The Carneddau Range, the Menai Straits and the not so lovely Penrhyn Quarry, once the largest of its kind in the world. Today, although it’s still the largest in the UK, the workforce is only two hundred and frankly I had no idea the site was still a functioning quarry.

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The Carneddeu Range from Y Fronllwyd

I turned around and headed slowly up the steep scree path that led to the summit of Carnedd y Filiast, nearer the top, the path dissolved into a wild jumble of boulders and I was left scrambling on my hands and knees to continue forward. Eventually, as I neared the top, the landscape fell around me to reveal what lay beyond. Mountains, green hills and shinning lakes, my view encompassed all the way pass Tryfan towards Moel Saibod and Southern Snowdonia.

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The Ogwen Valley

A summit’ed the bitch and followed the little grassy path down towards my next summit, Mynydd Perfedd. The walk between these two was absolutely fabulous, bright sun and clear skies, with beautiful views to my left and right, a spring in my step and a straight easy path all made for excellent hill-walking.

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Elidir Fawr’s pointed peak

Mynydd Perfedd itself is unremarkable, a simple way-point, connecting Elidir Fawr with the other mountains of the Glyder Range. Striding down onto the col between Perfedd and Elidir I couldn’t help but be slightly dismayed by all the precious height I was losing and how much I would have to gain once more. At the end of the col, Elidir Fawr rose menacingly up before me, its fantastic pointed peak posed a daunting challenge.

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Marchlyn Mawr

Undeterred I had some lunch, not comfortable tackling such a prospect on an empty stomach, before heading on upwards. The climb is slow, a simple constant plodding up a winding track but the reward is worth the endurance. From the top of Elidir Fawr the view stretches to pretty much all the mountains of Snowdonia, from Snowdon, to Carnedd Dafydd, to Yr Eifl, to Holyhead Mountain on Anglesey. It’s quite spectacular.

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The view from the summit of Elidir Fawr
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Snowdon from Elidir Fawr
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The view to Bangor

Below me the deep waters of Marchlyn Mawr sparkled in the afternoon sun, though I couldn’t help but feel like it appeared to be squished, contained by the vast dam the holds back its waters. The lake is a high level water source for the Dinorwic Power Station, a hydroelectric dam that is built deep inside Elidir Fawr, hence its title the Electric Mountain.

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Looking down towards Llanberis

Initially the descent from Elidir Fawr involved a lot of scrambling over rocks, eventually though I made my way down onto the mountain’s northern grassy slope. Fortunately this face sloped at a reasonable gradient and all it took was a long, leg aching, walk down the side of the mountain until I came upon blessed tarmac. Once on the road it was a mere retracing of footsteps back to my little car and soon I was speeding back to Bangor, the sound of bagpipes and fiddles playing in my ears.

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One last look back Elidir Fawr

Thus concludes my tale, if you enjoyed this story feel free to write in the comments, or leave a like and thanks for reading.

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