Fire after snow

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Fire after snow, acrylic paper (Daniel Graham)

There are few things more rewarding in life than a log fire after a day in the snow.

 

 

 

Until all that remained was clarity – night walking in the Brecon Beacons

Until all that remained was clarity

Until all that remained was clarity

Last night I walked the Craig Cerrig-gleisiad ridgeline, following its glacial scars west and onto the summit of Fan Frynych 300 metres above the valley floor. Without moonlight and without torch the night enveloped me, until all that remained was clarity.

Sunrise, love and ice – Kepler Track, New Zealand

Sunrise on the Kepler Track, New Zealand (Jake Graham Photography)

Sunrise on the Kepler Track, New Zealand (Jake Graham Photography)

We woke in the hut before dawn. The logs in the burner, the night previous so alive, had faded, leaving us huddled side by side in our sleeping bags like penguins in a storm. Too cold to sleep, we rose, pulled on our hats and gloves and pushed open the cabin’s creaking, wooden door.

Cloud branched through the valleys beneath our vantage point, and the low scrub that populated the Luxmore slopes lay frozen with wind-sculpted ice shards.

Some time later, the night’s sky turned sapphire. The sun climbed slowly beyond the eastern ranges, at first, oddly cooling, before washing the scene with a warm amber light. My capillaries flooded with love, and, at that moment, I was present.

Hiking through cotton grass – Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

Cotton grass in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

Cotton grass in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales (Jake Graham Photography)

We climbed away from the haggard forest and the deep-set country lanes, between grazing sheep and bounding rabbits, and on. Cotton grass began to appear; at first one or two shoots, but by the time we reached the lower crags of Fan y Big the ridgeline was awash with white. As pure as the foam of an Arctic wave, the cotton heads lit up the Beacons, monotone yet magnificent.

We sat – with our toes overhanging – on a diving board of sandstone. We were at the apex.

Fan y Big summit, Brecon Beacons, Wales (Jake Graham Photography)

Fan y Big summit, Brecon Beacons, Wales (Jake Graham Photography)

From the Craig Cwmoergwm spine we moved south, beyond tottering cairns and peat bogs the colour of the night. The Neuadd Reservoir deep in the valley had run dry.

Stopping to rest on our descent into the Caerfanell basin, Jake fell asleep amidst a bed of grassy tussocks. I tried, but was kept from my slumber by the chirrups of the skylarks overhead.

Cwm Cynwyn valley, Brecon Beacons, Wales (Jake Graham Photography)

Cwm Cynwyn valley, Brecon Beacons, Wales (Jake Graham Photography)