Photo of the Week for 8 Aug 2003

The lake ....

A walk through the forest and beyond

The plan was to have a walk all around Simon's field study area, note vegetation, rock types and surface deposits and take photos. The photo taking was to be my role, the other stuff I left to Graham and Simon. It was another hot day, but I'd gone prepared, smothered in sunblock and midge repellent (though the latter turned out not to be necessary) and well covered in long sleeves, lightweight trousers and a floppy sunhat. Also, the nice thing about doing fieldwork, as opposed to just going for a walk, is that you have to stop every so often to investigate things. In this case it was mostly the depth and composition of the soil. This gave me an excuse to gaze at the view and even at one point makes notes for the next scene of the novel.

First we climbed up through the forest, where (as we'd started out late in the morning) we stopped to have a picnic lunch. It was steep climb up through the trees, but we were soon out above them on the slope called Pared yr Ychain (Lit. "Wall of the Oxen").

In the forest
In the forest
Pared yr Ychain -- Wall of the Oxen
Pared yr Ychain -- Wall of the Oxen

Graham and Simon admiring the view.
Graham and Simon admiring the view.

The views were spectacular from this height, though unfortunately, the mountains in the distance were rather hazy.

Onwards and ever upwards. The slope became steeper, and I had to be careful not to look down at several points, but we managed to scramble up a tiny gulley via precarious sheep tracks onto the flat summit.

Looking back down at the climb
Looking back down at the climb

The view of the
The view of the "wall" we scrambled up.

We now reached the little lake that is so small it doesn't have a name. (See main picture.) Thousands of years ago, at the end of the last ice age, the lake would have been considerably larger; but at some point the water broke through the boulder clay damming it in, thus lowering the level. Since then the lake has been slowly but steadily filled in with vegetation.

The view from the lake's edge.
The view from the lake's edge.

From here on it was downhill all the way, but it was still slow going as nowhere on this walk were we following a path. We had drunk all our water by this point, but as we contoured around the mountain, we reached a beautifully clear stream, where we re-filled our bottles and drank.

It was fairly straightforward from here on down, though we stopped a couple more times to take soil samples, make notes and take more photos of rock outcrops, the stream bed and exposed soil, none of which are of interest to the general reader, so won't be appearing here, though they may no doubt feature in Simon's dissertation.


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