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All things must pass

Nothing ever stays the same, even on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). Although the mountain itself changes little (and we often tell disappointed walkers that they can come back again, it won’t be going anywhere soon), it is the human elements which change most.

Our blog ‘Ghosts at the summit‘ recalls some of the changes there have been as regards buildings at the summit, and Hafod Eryri, the summit building, has now been open for some 15 years. Maybe it was time to freshen things up a bit.

The annual spring re-opening of Hafod Eryri is always greeted by us with a certain excitement; it means that litter collected at the summit (the worst hot-spot on the whole mountain in both summer and winter) can be left in the bins there, to be taken down by the train, rather than by us; it also means that there’s shelter from the elements when the weather is poor, and the hot chocolate they serve is just great.

This year, though, has seen a number of internal changes. The interpretation boards inside the building (on the southern wall either side of the main entrance) have been completely revamped, and now features a large display entitled ‘A year on Yr Wyddfa‘, with month-by-month detail. The video screens have gone, and the map which also used to be there has been replaced with a new one (the clarity of the paths not being so good in my opinion) and moved to the entrance lobby where it is more accessible, and the toilets now have boards detailing how attempts are being made to improve the sustainability of the mountain (through recycling, cutting down on single-use plastics, etc). Spare walls in the entrance lobby have also been utilised for displays.

Another change is evident on the large west-facing windows. When Hafod Eryri was being constructed (2006 – 2009), Gwyn Thomas, the then-National Poet of Wales, was contracted to write a poem about Yr Wyddfa, and this was displayed on the windows. However, the verses were displayed at the bottom of the panes, and were largely unreadable when there were people sitting at the tables in front of them, which was invariably the case. Moreover, some of the words were getting a bit worn off where people leaned their rucksacks against the windows.

Today these ten large windows sport 37 descriptive words – presented bilingually – along the top of the panes, together with images of choughs flying, where they are visible at all times.

(The chough is a fairly rare member of the crow family. It has a red bill and red legs, but is otherwise black. Its Welsh name is brân goesgoch, which translates as ‘red-legged crow’. The adult chough’s call consists of a two-syllabled ‘chee-ow’ sound. Juvenile choughs tend to make a hoarser sound, often described as a ‘chuff’.)

Gwyn Thomas died in 2016, so lived to see his words displayed in all their glory, and it’s perhaps as well that he is now not around to see them removed. Despite the greater visibility of the new words, there will be many who will be sad to see Thomas’ words gone. All things, it seems, must pass.

The 5th and 6th panes (of 10) looking west, sporting the descriptive words.

Here’s the list of new words, all but two of them adjectives:

rhyfeddol – inspiring
gwyllt – wild
gwych – magnificent
byd-enwog – world famous
hygyrch – accessible
chwedlonol – legendary
hynafol – ancient
traddodiadol – traditional
diwylliannol – cultural
eiconig – iconic
dynamig – dynamic
egniol – energising
ysgogol – motivating
cyffrous – exciting
nerthol – powerful
garw – rugged
atmospherig – atmospheric
eitrhafol – extreme
cyfrinach – secret
hudolus – enchanting
dewr – brave
rhamantaidd – romantic
heddychlon – peaceful
hardd – beautiful
tawel – tranquil
nefolaidd – ethereal
syfrdanol – stunning
cofiadwy – memorable
heriol – challenging
prin – rare
mawreddog – majestic
ysbrydol – spiritual
arbennig – special
cynefin – habitat
bregus – vulnerable
anrhagweladwy – unpredictable
cartref – home


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