I know what you're thinking. It's about Dinorwig, so he'll have almost fallen over one of those vertiginous drops in the Garret sinc. Well, sorry to disappoint you, I'm still alive and typing - although there's time, it might happen yet.
No, this is a shave of a different kind.
So...Dinorwig. I was confident that Petra and I would be impressed by the vast Australia Mill, the Compressor House, or the Caban with it's old coats and boots. How could we not be, after the anticipation engendered by all those wonderful photographs on the web. They didn't disappoint- and seeing them in the raw slate was so much more vivid and intriguing.
And yet...I found myself becoming attached to a couple of locations that seemed to have a definite atmosphere about them; something hard to quantify, but places that chimed with me. Places that were overlooked and little documented by the folk who love the place.
One such is the little drumhouse a couple of levels above Australia; I think we are talking about the Lernion to Panws incline, a straightforward Drum installation, although as always, I am open to advice on this from wiser heads than mine.
The point of this ramble is that the place is an isolated one, 1,800 feet above the valley. The ruined drumhouse is in the last throes of vertical life and will soon slowly sink to one side; gracefully, I imagine. It looks beautiful. Yes, I know, I have a strange idea of that concept since I like my landscapes punctuated by quarries and tips, but trust me, I trained as an artist you know.
And there we were, soaking up the atmosphere on an unusually sunny day hereabouts, not a soul to be seen anywhere. Petra was in the ruins, taking photographs. I was standing outside, gazing across the valley to Snowdon.
Then it happened. A curious sound, like the whoosh of an arrow. I felt something on my cheek and was very briefly aware of a shape; then it was gone and I saw a Sparrow Hawk come out of the crimp and soar upwards at fantastic speed. It took me a few moments to realise what had happened and, as the hawk flew off, a lovely little skylark emerged from the drum and quietly flitted away, seemingly unpeturbed by it's brush with death.
Grazed by the arrow of a hawk...they say that an accipiter's brain can perceive time more slowly, that it can plan it's incredible moves in detail, rather like a program to predict and compensate for the inherent instability of a fighter jet. It saw that lark, did a hawk-type risk assessment in split seconds and plotted a course through the steel spiders of the Drumhouse. It only made a tiny error, and caught me so gently as it flew down. One way or another- that was a close shave.
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