In The Living Mountain Nan Shepherd says “I like the unpath best.” It’s not her remark but a child’s. Like the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, the Trickster in mythologies, the child cuts through the cant of society of which language is a part. If you make a path, a way is pathed, it is a pathway, it makes sense to say I prefer the unpaths. I like them too.

But I don’t actually like the rough stuff of the hills, across the Rhinogs for example battling through heather; although not all of the Rhinogs are like that. Worse still – I didn’t like it – the Corsica GR20. The views were fine but the walking was not. I like to strike out, amble, stroll, not watch my feet every second for sharp stone and troubling rock. I don’t feel wild and free in such terrain which is the feeling I want: I am constrained by irritating detail.

This is a favourite Snowdonia place. It’s an easy track above a camp site with a fine outlook across to Siabod, Penmachno, and a heavily forested area near Betws-y-Coed. Coed is the Welsh word for forest. There’s a Celtic aspect to Wales which I love. Not because I want to go backward to myth and silliness but because the opposite – corrupt and degenerate modernity – is in some ways not much better.


Moel Siabod Viewpoint

Tuesday July 19, 2016