The Cambrian Mountains and Elan Valley is a location I keep coming back to and is a location I love for several reasons - The mountain range and valleys in which I completed my Duke of Edinburgh Gold within but also found peace within and somewhere to escape from the busy digital world I live within.
In 2017 I went on a solo trip to the area to attempt some astrophotography, knowing how dark this area could get and how easy it was to get to and navigate compared to Scotland but the likelihood of it staying clear was slim. The area is also incredibly wet.
What I had instead was 5 days of near solid rain and 100% cloud cover. A complete right off, one might be put off with these conditions and just pack up and head home but that would be a waste.
Yes it rained and it was cold but despite the lack of clear skies and good weather, Elan Valley is a beautiful area in any conditions.
It’s remote and peaceful with wildlife and a lot of tracks, mountains and bothies to explore.
Setting off at 4am one morning I planned to walk the Elan Valley Trail, starting at the main tourist centre and walking up to Craig Goch dam – A total walk of 9 miles. By no means is it difficult with most of the trail as gravel walkways and is open for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. All of the dams as well are accessible by car too.
Along the trail I perhaps come across a dozen people but due to weather conditions not all that much wildlife but plenty of beautiful, somewhat surreal view. The grand architecture surrounding the Elan Valley coupled with the low clouds and fog made the valleys a rather special. With the poor weather and lack of people it was perfect for some alone time to enjoy the outdoors and uninterrupted photography – A perfect digital detox and unwind from the daily grind of work and social media.
Something I challenge everyone to try in 2018.