Snowdonia Landscape

My Snowdonia Trip

Why I did it, why did I take the hardest route and do it all in one day.


Since doing my degree, I've been left in limbo. Being indoors 24/7, feeling out of touch, grumpy and some may say becoming depressive at times. Being in a wheelchair for over 27 years, I've not let anyone or anything determine what I should do or how I do it, I take the pain relief, even though it has no effect and consumed by the addiction of the med's, but sometimes it helps.


For me pain is just a side effect, you can sit there and let it consume you or use it to motivate one to do things that others feel are impossible or dangerous, but the feeling achievement is what pushes me to do things I do and I can look back and feel better in myself that it was all worth the pain and suffering to get to the goal. Yes the pain is worse at the end of it, but its a good pain in a way, something has been achieved that I or others would not thought possible. Maybe I make my health worse, the mental side is far greater than the physical pain in my thought process and I have something to show for it that I can share and maybe help others in their illnesses, sadly it only last for a certain time before it all comes back to the same thing, but then there is another adventure or test of endurance to come.


Snowdonia looks a beautiful place and I understand why people go there to climb the largest mountain in Wales, its growling and harsh with the weather changing in a moment, theses are things I love which is the adventure and thrill.


I can't climb, its hard enough just moving on rugged ground in a chair, but I wanted to to go there to capture the images that are things of beauty we are lucky to have in our land. I could of taken the easy route via the motorways and cruise control, but part of the journey is part of the adventure, so I took the hardest route up through the Brecon's, the winding roads some with no markings and like tracks, that took nearly 6 hours to complete and all at night in the dark just to add to it. This is like my climb of a mounting but in four wheels and just my eyes and car lights to guide me.


I'm not stupid and took plenty of coffee and sandwiches, winter clothing and a blanket, all the things that you need to have on adventure. I had slept through the day and got up at 11:30pm and left just before 00:15am, I stopped to fuel up and check the water and tyres and someone even offered to help, something that is nice to hear but I know I can do it myself, it's so easy to say yes please, but if I did that every time then what's the point of the journey.


If I didn't have sat nav, I would of done it the old fashion way of writing down each road name and number as I did years ago when working in the transport business, but there so I used it. Driving at night is not for the faint-hearted, if your not prepared you are a danger to yourself and others, you have to prepare and be able to concentrate for long periods, in this case 6 hours, its a long time but I stopped a few times for a coffee and rest my eyes from staring at the road ahead for 10-15 minutes before carrying on.


I had to be there before six as that's when the sun rises, so had time and no traffic and got to my first location at 5:45am. I could see the mountains just about, with the clouds covering the tops and the rain was fine and heavy at times. At 6am there was a break in the rain and so set my tripod and camera, dialled into the right setting ready for the first image.


I had no pain than normal and was able to take in the moment, the silence of everything, the fresh air and just the sight of the big mountains in front of me by a lake called Llyn Padam and the mountains each side and in front, the cloud cover was low but as the sun came up, in the distance the light shone on the side of the mountain, is was a picture to see and capture. I had achieved my goal in climbing to the top of Wales to view the beauty of the mountains of Snowdonia. This is what climbers thrive for, that euphoric moment that you reach the top, all the pain and suffering, makes the view all worthwhile.


I had other locations in the area to go to, which meant back tracing along the road I come along, but now I could see what was there in the dark. You only have the headlights to guide you, yet I looked at times to the left and right, but it was black and no clew till the sun had risen, I was in the valleys of snowdonia and it was beautiful to see. I looked for points of scenes I wanted to capture but needed a place to park at the same time, not as easy as it would seem with narrow lanes at times. This is where I become consumed by the fact I'm shackled by my chair as I watch people getting ready for their climbs, it makes me think what images I could capture beyond the summit of theses great mountains. But I respect my position on the ground and still come away with images that says something about what's there to be seen.


The hard part is getting back a long the same route I took to Snowdonia, now I have to push mentally through the pain. I'm tired and exhausted and the pain is unbearable, but its the thought of what I've achieved that's keeping me going, with no stops no breaks, just the need to get home and onto my drive at home. Once there, I'm done in, with lack of energy and the need to lay down on the bed to let the pain run its course while I put myself into a deep sleep and let my body recover.


As I right this story, I've not even looked at the images I've taken as these words seem important to put down. I'm not special and I'm not mad, but we all have different coping mechanisms that gets us though. I'm still in pain and everything I do is at a slower pace, but in a few days I will recover and have someone to show for it.


My life is what is, but I know others struggle in their situations, its finding something to motivate yourself to believe you can do something that makes a difference to your life and well being. Pain is as much physical as mental, the mental side can be overcome, it doesn't matter if it only last a few days or weeks, as the memory of what you've done can bring you back up. My partner Juliet sees me as someone that will just go out and do it his way, but she gets it I think, in why I do theses things and what I get out of it. She knows she can't help me, but be there for me, and that's all I need from her. Sometime she comes on theses journeys with me, but she knows that if I have to give in she will take over, but this has not been the case yet, and when that time comes that I have to hand the wheel to another, I know I'm at the end. That moment I dread, but its part of the mental side which your mind is saying your done, but like soldiers, you find that inner strength to keep going, even when it feels your body is saying no more, you can find that part of your thought process that says if you don't you wont achieve, you loose all control. Control is important to me, its me doing it for myself, for my piece of mind.


My images don't show what goes into them, what I have to do, what I have to go through. They are just images that sometimes have been done by others without the effort I have to put in. But if I write this, then maybe others will understand and gain understanding from it and see it as a way they can achieve, what ever the shackles they may have.


Photography is not just a hobby or profession, as I don't make any money out of it, well not so far, but its therapy in a way, and gives purpose and meaning. If someone takes that from me, I'm lost, nothing to fill the void that it would leave, never mind the mental state it would leave me with. I'm not giving in to what I have and maybe it will be what drives me to my grave, in a way I hope is, because its had purpose and given me so much, when times things have seem so bleak, that it would be a great way to go out, doing what I love, I'm sure that if those reading this would feel the same.

So this is my story of my trip to Snowdonia, and what it was about, how I did it and how it's left me feeling good, and all that's needed are the images to be seen, which will be in a few days when I have recovered. Thanks for reading and hope that for some it helps understand what I'm about, and maybe what you can be about in some other way.