On Snowdon

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

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.

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.

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.

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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