I don’t generally take photographs of sheep. It happens occasionally if they are in scene, or if they are a contributory element but not directly important. In one respect this picture might be better if the sheep weren’t there. It would speak of isolation, peace, and moody hills. In another respect, I like the white patches and it adds narrative. Sheep under grey skies, which are the same for me.

I’m fond of this area below Moel Siabod. I’ve walked here three or four times and seen no one. If you continue up the hillside you reach a col with a view down to Nant Gwynant and across to Snowdon. You are elevated above two valleys with Dolwyddelan behind you. It’s a wonderful place.

Dolwyddelan is a pleasant little hamlet. It’s basically one row of stone houses with a shop at the end and a pub and hotel across the road. It doesn’t have obvious community atmosphere because there’s no centre although there’s a church which is no doubt popular. I wonder about that. You find religion in Welsh valleys, Scottish valleys, and spread around Greece for example where people have quiet countryside lives. It’s odd and uncomfortable seeing an altar and crucifix on a Greek hillside where you walk. I wonder to what extent a desert life was an integral part of religious origination. Animism developed in areas of natural abundance. There’s less opportunity for projection in a desert, more reason to invent talking angels.

I chatted with a local who lived at Dolwyddelan. I said the people at nearby Betws-y-Coed seem happy and friendly. I conveyed my dislike of Manchester with recent gun crime examples. I told her I despise the nonsense of cities, the fact that you might conceivably be shot or knifed; certainly mugged, assaulted, or verbally abused on any street. There was a stabbing a few days ago at a music event.

She’d moved around the country, apparently single, finding bar work and therein all the connections she needed to live. You talk to someone who’s got a place to rent, she said. She was initially subjected to local disapproval which made her rebel even more. I imagine that meant relations with men. You can be living next door to someone in a city, she said, and never know them. That’s true. I live next door to two single women, below a woman and two couples, above a couple, a man, and single woman on the ground floor. I rarely see them and barely know them.

The photograph looks still but there were gale force winds even in the valley. It wasn’t a day for going high. My walk began with a stroll down a country lane resplendent with flowers. I saw bluebells, violets, campion, stichwort, buttercups, dandelions, garlic mustard, gorse, birdsfoot trefoil, foxglove, clover, selfheal, and cuckoo flower. As I returned along the route raincloud clung to the summit of Siabod.


Snowdonia Photography: Moel Siabod Sheep

Thursday June 25, 2015