Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This week: Michael Combley discovers ghosts in the machine

"High above the valley on Gashed Crag in the white grey cloud that whistles above The Heather Terrace, we are tied to a rich green grassy stance with the bright nylon ropes uncoiled on the grass and shattered rocks loose at our feet.
A wet summer Tryfan mist condensing sogginess that sets and drips on our clothes and ropes. Hair is plastered and matted. It is cold but not frozen, damp but not sodden. Clothes are cold but not hypothermic. There is the occasional bleat of sheep that is carried off fast in the streaking wind
The ropes gradually trail slowly upwards and out into the grey aerial vapour. We hear wind carried chatter and talk from the craggy main summit of Tryfan, but that babble of those voices is invisible as the cloud base wind streams between the peaks'

This week: Michael Combley returns to North Wales from his Australian home and reflects on those early days in Wales, spent climbing and exploring amongst the slate grey hillsides. Walking with the ghosts of long dead quarrymen and finding their lives recorded in secret places.