Climbing into the clouds

"We got back to Llanberis ... with two very tired but proud little girls. They both made it the whole way on their own two feet. No doubt that's something they will remember into old age, the first time they climbed Snowdon"

Dad's diary - John Dudeney, 25 May 1987

Pyg track snowdon wales
 Climbing Snowdon 25 May 1987, with Liz and Mum (Dad's photo)

Climbing Snowdon 25 May 1987, with Liz and Mum (Dad's photo)

Dad was right, the memory of climbing Snowdon at 6 years old stayed with me. Fuelled on chicken soup, I clambered rock by rock, through the mist to the top, then looking down on the clouds, seeing the land below as fragments slowly emerging and connecting.

So when BP commissioned me to do a painting on stratus clouds - I wanted to retrace this defining memory and draw from the great mountain.

I set off from the YHA at 7am, foolhardily carrying 3ft sheets of paper, gently ascending the miners track in high winds under low damp cloud. Soon I was into the white and walking the path alone, beside deep precipices and still lakes.

 Pyg track, Snowdon, Wales

Pyg track, Snowdon, Wales

A father and his two young sons were lost, and together we realised the track went straight up. Scrambling was daunting, but his children stuck to the rocks like spiders, and that gave me confidence to keep going.We made it to the top, drenched, hardly able to stand for the gusts and in white out. But satisfied.

I returned down the Pyg track. It was familiar. I knew it was the path we had walked as a family. Once under the clouds, I drew. Paper flapping. Capturing the gentle undulations, craggy rockfalls and ever changing blanket of clouds. It was a stunning panorama.

I had made a start on the project, but with Snowdon's uncompromising weather, I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked. So this summer I'm going back...

 Foothills of Snowdon (Wales)

Foothills of Snowdon (Wales)

 Under the cloud blanket (Snowdon)

Under the cloud blanket (Snowdon)