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Ring ouzels

September 9, 2009

On Monday I went into the Pass on a still evening between days of rain. I drove to Pen y Pass and walked up the P-y-G track for a couple of kilometers. Where the path steepens it is possible to drop down to the right and walk over a boggy area back towards the floor of the valley. If you get the line right you come to a small crag called Clogwyn Gafr.

Clogwyn-y-Gafr 003a

The crag is small and has only a handful of lines on it. The best known are an E1 called Diapason and an E5 called The Nectarine Run, both of which go over the main roof. I went to look at a few easy (Diff-Severe) routes on the left of the crag, which would be quite nice to solo. The routes were all wet – the crag takes a lot of drainage from the marshy areas above, so need a few days to dry. However the easier routes look fairly amenable for soloing. They are all to the left of the overhang, with one taking the rampline just below, and the others further to the left. The crag has a fantastic position high up in the Pass with a view of the cliffs on the North side.

Clogwyn-y-Gafr 032a

The crag is the home of a family of ring ouzels, who were flying around the base and perching on the top and around the high rocks.  The ouzel looks like a blackbird, but has a silvery bib around its neck.  Its voice is harsher – a sharp chack rather than the blackbird’s range of songs and calls.  I saw up to six at a time, but they seemed to move around in pairs (like the pair in the picture).

I stayed with them until the light started to fade, then headed back to the car at Pen y Pass.

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