June 18, 2021 4 min read
Explore series 2: In the explore series, we journey to stunning corners of Britain with some of our favourite photographers to discover the best locations for you to visit. In this episode, Ted Howels takes us into the heart of Snowdonia, to explore wild terrain, rugged mountains and beautiful lakes.
I’m Ted Howels (a.k.a – The Modern Day Viking), a commercial and lifestyle photographer from Bath, England.
I’ve definitely got a huge soft spot for Snowdonia and it’s easily my favourite place in the UK, maybe even my favourite place of anywhere I’ve travelled to (bar Norway, but that’s a story of its own). It may be down to my huge love of The Lord Of The Rings, as Snowdonia basically looks like Middle Earth. No matter what direction you face, you are met with stunning mountains and glistening lakes, fit for all manner of adventures.
I’m not usually the one that looks forward to long drives as I barely sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time. However, the drive into Snowdonia through the middle of Wales is something I always get excited for! For me, this place deserves way more recognition!
These are just a few of my favourite spots that sit at the top of my must-do’s for anyone visiting.
The lonely tree at Llyn Padarn
Are you really a photographer visiting Snowdonia if you don’t get the classic photo of the lonely tree at Llyn Padarn? I’m usually fully against shooting the same thing that everyone else does but you just can’t not. The lake is beautiful and the view of the mountains from many scattered picnic benches around the area makes it the perfect place for lunch.
A year or so ago, it would be impossible to get close to the tree for the sheer number of photographers and the abundance of tripod legs you’d fall over. One of the first times I visited, the only way I could get a photo was using my drone but not everyone was too happy with it buzzing overhead! Since the pandemic it seems to have calmed down a lot and I haven’t seen another photographer there for close to a year now, so it’s the perfect time to visit. Being sat on the banks of Llyn Padarn alone, surrounded by beauty on such an epic scale is truly special.
Do you see what I mean about this place being out of The Lord Of The Rings?! This whole area leading into Llyn Ogwen, minus the A5 road going right through the middle is just immense, with mountains in every direction. If you stop here for a walk, it just gets better! Go down by the lake and nine times out of ten you’ll find a bunch of goats, usually with babies that you can try and pet!
If you fancy a hike up the mountain, then to the North of Llyn Ogwen, you’ll be met with some crazy views of Tryfan which is the mountain south of the lake. Second to that, climb Tryfan itself and you’ll be treated to some hidden lakes that are hidden gems for a wild swim.
If you’re anything like me and prefer to look at the mountains from the bottom and not get out of breath, then there’s plenty of opportunity to do that too! Not to mention that the road that leads up to the valley gives you the chance to get the classic running towards the mountain photo – let’s be honest, it’s too irresistible a shot to miss!
Llyn Gwynant is a lake that I think is massively overlooked but have no idea why. Sitting just to the side of Mount Snowden itself, the views you get from here are mad! There’s just a couple of dodgy pull in spots on the side of the road which are empty 99% of the time with only the occasional camper van parked up so it’s always super quiet and a great spot to get some banging photos!
If you drive up the road towards Snowdon, from here too, you’ll get cracking views back down the mountain to the lake. If you want to see this, you’ll need a nice clear day as the thick mountain fog can make the lake disappear almost instantly.
Bonus tip – if you end up here in autumn, make sure you catch a sunset at this lake as the sun sets right behind the mountain. These pics don’t do it justice, it’s one of the most beautiful spots for a sunset that I know of!
A massive thank you to Ted for sharing his beautiful pics with us - keep an eye out for more from him in the future! Check out more of Ted’s work on hisInstagram.
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