Just on the margins of Glaslyn, I saw these small, white fungi poking their heads out of the gravel. No idea what they are, but 500m up, on the exposed and windswept gravel shore of an oligotrophic lake seemed an odd location for something so fragile-looking.
Plans for an ultra-early start from home ended badly when I found the car had decided to jettison its PAS fluid all over the drive. None in the shed, so I had to wrestle it 15 miles to the nearest garage before driving up the mountain road from Llani towards the Glaslyn Nature Reserve. There’s a small parking area 100m from the lake shore, with a path leading into the reserve.
Glaslyn is an Oligotrophic lake with very low nutrient levels – there’s no watercourses feeding it, just the plentiful Welsh rain keeping it full. From the lakeside, you can follow a path up to a viewpoint overlooking the impressive ravine to the north, formed when the glacial meltwater on the plateau was finally released and surged over the edge.
Halfway round the lake, I cut across the heather towards Bugeilyn – another lake, but this time stream-fed. As you drop down towards it past the ruined farmhouse, Plynlimon and the Hengwm valley come into view. Today the tops were hiding in cloud, but I was heading for the lower hills to the north of the valley.
Just below the top of Foel Isaf, a fox appeared just 100m away. I was walking into the wind, and was able to watch for almost a minute before he spotted me and disappeared. The zoom on the LX5 is a piffling 120mm equivalent – great for portraits, but hardly ideal for wildlife shots!
The terrain here is a mix of the typical mid-Wales peat, with a covering of heather, bilberry and crowberry. There are some truly horrible tussocky sections lying in wait to twist your ankles, but also some gorgeous quartz outcrops, looking almost edible in the morning light.
After food and a coffee by the lightly cairned top, the weather was definitely changing for the worse. That (and my sick car) made up my mind for me, and I decided to call it a day. I headed back on the path towards Glaslyn in steadily worsening drizzle, but was met at the lake by a stunning rainbow.