The wind was cold. That meant the house was cold and when Rufus first tried to persuade me to go out in the garden, at about 5am, I was too cold to even consider it. So he waited until 6am and then used a mixture of charm, insistence, determination and a sloppy tongue to get me to do his bidding. It was, as I suspected, cold out, too. I went straight back to bed and didn’t get up until 7.30.
After breakfast and a haircut (for me), we drove northwards to the start of the path to Llyn y Fan Fawr. It was still cold – the temperature gauge on the car said -1C. But the exercise soon warmed me up and Rufus was wearing his winter coat of thick fur that means he is impervious to the cold. We walked along the flank of Moel Feity, heading towards the mass of Fan Brecheiniog. Climbing this was not our goal today as I’d been having a touch of asthma over the last few days and was feeling a little breathless.
When we reached the river, there was a frozen waterfall and much to Rufus’ dismay, I stopped to take a few photos. We were soon off again, though, and made out way up the final hill and across the boggy marsh. One good thing about these low temperatures is that boggy marshes freeze solid and make the going much easier. The shore of the lake was covered in a thick layer of ice, which Rufus stress tested by walking on it.
We walked around the shore of the lake. Opposite, I could see three large frozen waterfalls on the side of Fan Brechieniog and I wanted to photograph them. I didn’t tell Rufus, of course, or we may never have made it there. Rufus continued to walk on the ice on the lake while I stayed clear. It cracked and creaked and at one point he fell through but the water isn’t deep at the edge so he just made a little splash and looked a little surprised. We stopped for a break and I threw stones for him to chase. He slipped and slid on the ice and fell through again, but he was happy that stones had been thrown.
It was a steep climb to the three frozen waterfalls but it was worth the effort as they were spectacular. The ice reached all the way to the ground and formed a skeletal cave under which some water still fell. The patterns and shapes of ice formed by splashes and spray around the waterfalls were odd and alien. Rufus struggles ont he steep slippery ground and I realised I would too. Sure enough, I slipped on ice hidden under the grass. Rufus used his four paw drive to great effect. I held on, slid, skidded, stopped and scrambled my way down tot he lake side, where Rufus was now waiting for me on a little island.
It was snowing intermittently and I noticed that little balls of ice had formed on Rufus’ paws. I checked him over and they weren’t on his pads so he was able to walk ok. But I couldn’t remove them as they were frozen solid to his fur. The fur on the tips of his ears and belly was also frozen solid but he didn’t seem to notice. But it was time to turn back and so we skirted the rest of the lake and started back down the slope. Well, I did. Rufus wasn’t with me and when I looked back, it was clear by the way he was stood on the edge of the lake that he expected me to throw more stones for him. 10 minutes later, honour satisfied, we were on our way back down the slope to the car.
By the time we reached it, the temperature was down to -2C. It was definitely time to head home.