On Snowdon

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Some shots from Britain’s busiest mountain, and the highest in Wales, mostly from an ascent in June 2009.

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It’s not just that Snowdon is busy with tourists hiking on the several ascent paths. Far more visibly than many of Britain’s highlands, it’s a very developed and exploited landscape — and not just in terms of the mountain having a railway all the way to the top, where you can take in the view from inside a coffee shop.

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The mountainsides around here are strewn with the ruins and remains of industrial workings: quarries and mines, and the railways that took the region’s rocks away.

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If indeed the mountainsides even still exist: across the Llanberis Pass, the view of Snowdon’s neighbour Elidir Fawr is dominated by the 700 acre Dinorwic quarry, closed since 1969 but still an open wound.

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Not necessarily a bad thing. From this distance in time, much of the industry and development adds interest to the landscape. And I don’t suppose Welsh would have wanted to preserve their Highlands if the only method on offer was that by which the Scottish Highlands escaped development.

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