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Watch: Climber captures stunning Dragon’s Breath on Yr Wyddfa summit

16 Apr 2024 4 minute read
The rare cloud inversion known as the Dragon’s Breath on the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Credit: Dylan Hughes)

A climber has captured one of the rarest weather phenomenon in Wales – known as the Dragon’s Breath.

Dylan Hughes, who is raising money for breast cancer research by aiming to climb Yr Wyddfa 100 times this year, was on top of the highest mountain in Wales, when he was treated to the breathtaking weather event.

The Dragon’s Breath are in fact incredible cloud inversions. The phenomena, caused by cold temperatures in the valleys, creates spectacular scenes with peaks emerging from the breath of the dragon.

The ancient hills and mountains of Eryri are of course filled with myths and legends and what Dylan witnessed was certainly in keeping with the mystical and magical history of the Welsh peaks.

The charity fundraiser was taken aback when he reached the summit and was sat above the clouds.

“It was the first time I have ever seen it and it was outstanding,” he said. “I posted it on Facebook and the beauty of it blew a lot of people’s minds!”

It’s not the first weather phenomenon Dylan has witnessed. He was out walking in the stunning surrounds of Eryri National Park last month when he witnessed a Brocken Spectre.

Out walking along Crib Goch with a friend they were stopped in their tracks by the rare sight.

“I would say it was around 11:30am and not long after we reached the top of Crib Goch and 15 min into our knife edge walking my friend Nina was walking ahead wanting a photo when I suddenly looked to my right and saw this phenomenal sight. We both were ecstatic. And knew it was a very rare sight indeed.”

So ecstatic and overcome was he that he even burst into song!

According to this description from the Met Office a Brocken Spectre is: ‘A large shadow of an observer cast onto cloud or mist. It is named after the German mountain on which it was first noted.

‘When an observer stands on a hill which is partially enveloped in mist and in such a position that their shadow is thrown on to the mist, they may get the illusion that the shadow is a person seen dimly through the mist. The illusion is that this person or ‘spectre’ is gigantic and at a considerable distance away from them.

‘The sun shining behind the observer projects their shadow through the mist, while the magnification of the shadow is an optical illusion which makes the shadow on nearby clouds seem at the same distance at faraway landmarks seen through the cloud.

‘Similarly, the shadow falls upon water droplets of varying distance which distorts perception and can make the shadow appear to move as the clouds vary and shift. This all combines to make the rather disorienting effect of a giant shadow moving in the distance.

The Brocken Spectre witnessed by Dylan Hughes on Crib Goch (Credit: Dylan Hughes)

‘A Brocken Spectre, an optical illusion where an observer casts a shadow across the mist, giving the effect of a giant in the distance

‘The term ‘Brocken Spectre’ was coined in 1780 by Johann Silberschlag, a German pastor and natural scientist who frequented the Harz mountains. The term has been popularly used throughout literature, mentioned in works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll amongst others.’

You can donate to Dylan’s fundraising campaign HERE

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26 days ago

Where the h*** is Yr Wydffa? Look at the headline.

26 days ago
Reply to  Frank

You probably know it as Snowdon. Yr Wyddfa is, and always has been the Welsh name for the highest mountain in Wales

26 days ago
Reply to  CELT

Celt, I know where it is and how to spell it. The original headline had Yr Wyddfa spelled as Yr Wydffa. They have since corrected the heading but have left my comment standing instead of deleting it.

26 days ago

Yr Wydffa -WTF!!!!!

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