Wild Mountain Ponies | Snowdonia
On Friday evening Ed and I decided last minute to go hiking in Snowdonia. It’s always a bit of a gamble to book a hostel in advance because the weather is so unpredictable, but 24 hours out the forecast looked both clear and dry, and there was a room available at YHA Idwal.
This morning we got up before dawn and went for a walk around Llyn Idwal. It’s one of my favourite places in Snowdonia, and being up in the mountains for sunrise is something we both love. To my complete surprise and joy, we came across a herd of wild mountain ponies grazing the thin pickings of late autumn on our way up to the lake. The light wasn’t great and they were a little bit far from the main path, so I waited to take photos of them until the return leg of our walk.
I only had a 40mm lens on me (it’s a tiny little thing and means I can tuck my camera inside my winter climbing jacket to keep the battery from draining in the cold) and was worried I’d scare them away if I got close enough to get a good portrait of them, but thankfully they weren’t too bothered by our presence. I never touch or pet wild mountain ponies or horses and am aways respectful of them and their space, letting them approach me rather than the other way around. They’re wild animals after all, and I’m just a visitor to their mountains! These two ponies were right by the main path, so they were close enough to photograph with my semi-wide lens, and then I cropped the photos a little more in Lightroom. The rest of the herd was grazing further away from the path, so I left them be as I didn’t want to worry them by getting too close.
I’m really pleased with these pictures though. Like the wild horses I met when Ed and I hiked Sugar Loaf in Monmouthshire back in the summer, they were very relaxed and at ease with human company. I’ve never seen the wild ponies on any of our previous visits to Snowdonia, so this morning’s encounter felt really special. I hope I meet them again one day, and that if I do I have my 85mm on me!
I’ve been reading all about wild horses and ponies as I find them fascinating creatures. Here’s a really interesting article about the behaviour and lives of wild horses.