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Photos: big G



Flowering Butterwort mark the way. They thrive on the very least nourishment - a lesson.

The long hot summer keeps its promise, encouraging ever more forays into the wild. Yet, ‘What to do when there are no holds?’ - that is but one of myriad questions that big G considers this month as he stumbles across a beautiful dolerite slab in the Llanberis Pass:

“Dear NWB readers,

What fantasy; that Cwm Beudy Mawr, indeed the whole of Llanberis should fall under a magic spell of weather; streams narrowing to a trickle among the bleached stones as the bogs give themselves over to a plush carpet of dry sphagnum, birds calling their thanksgiving into a deep blue sky.

And if the wonderer toils past Dinas Bach following the streamline, past butterwort gardens and crisp fancy-lace lichens on the sleeping rocks, then let the dreaming hollow that contains the ‘Pillow Boulder’ mark an end to their quest. Above; the hunched presence of Craig Beudy Mawr, and behind you; the rushing sweep of Glyder Fawr and the Pass from a queer angle, elevating its features.

The rock has been there long enough to master a powerful stillness, a composure. It’s brown. It’s smooth. It has curves in all the right places. And for once we are spared the travail, the discomfiture, the silliness of having to deal with holds, for it has none, and that is what really sets it apart.

[Let us dispense for just one month with talk of holds. Admittedly without holds there would be no pub-talk – ‘y'latch this edge’ - without pub-talk...no pubs, but really, when did we ever convey the true nature of any crimp or cling by a mimed sequence? Our peers look on, glasses go flying in a futile re-enactment. We remember it through a golden sieve, they imagine it through the sceptic's lens.
And whilst dwelling on our language and culture, consider how the terminology must sound to others; ‘an amazing sit-down’ - hardly the preserve of boulderers!.]

Anyway, back to GR 631559 - we are faced with the most barren of rock surfaces, and thus the strangest manoeuvres. Initial confusion may, with experimentation, give way to an increasing intimacy and fondness for its dimpled texture (which after all - is all it has!) as more and more possibilities reveal themselves. Every part of the hands will be required to flipper upwards, one's feet must be reminded of McHaffie's third law: ‘A weighted smear never slips’. Explore your...er...relationship with rock - there's nothing else to do!
Expect some grim grazes for those who really get stuck in, though the worst ground fall would only be from two metres onto a landing to die for.

Did summer really happen?
We should allow that earliest fondler of rocks and dreamscapes, Samuel Coleridge, a misquoted conclusion:-

‘And what if in a dream,
One touched a boulder,
And then, waking,
Found ones fingers chalked,
- Aye what then?’

Nights'll be drawing in soon.

Love, big G”

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