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Conservation efforts elevated by winter monitoring station on Clogwyn y Garnedd

23 Nov 2023 2 minute read
Image: Ray Wood (BMC)

A new winter monitoring station has been installed on Clogwyn y Garnedd, Eryri to help preserve rare plants and invertebrates.

The British Mountaineering Council expanded its Winter Monitoring System this month, following the success of winter upgrades in Cwm Idwal and Cwm Cneifion last season.

Recognising its status as one of north Wales’ most popular winter climbing destinations, Clogwyn y Garnedd was selected for the next phase of the BMC’s winter monitoring program.

 

Situated at an altitude that allows more frequent condition cycles, this location presents a unique opportunity to study and protect the diverse ecosystem within its gullies.

The winter monitoring station will play a crucial role in preserving ten of the rarest Arctic Alpine plants and two invertebrates, including the Arctic Pea Clam and the Snowdon Rainbow Beetle. These species, native to the UK and tracing back to the ice ages, find refuge on the steep ledges of Clogwyn y Garnedd.

Climbers will also benefit from the installation, gaining access to invaluable temperature data, which will enable them to assess climbing conditions more accurately. The information could also be used to help them navigate scenarios where snowfall on warm ground may create poor and hazardous climbing conditions.

Ecological significance

Tom Carrick, the BMC’s Welsh Access Officer, said: “I’d like to see climbers using this tool in a manner similar to how we consult the weather forecast and check guidebooks. It all contributes to forming a comprehensive picture of the conditions on Clogwyn y Garnedd. Climbers will still need to assess the readings and conditions independently, but this resource should ideally facilitate a more informed judgment of safer conditions.”

Robbie Blackhall-Miles, Plant Lifes’ Vascular Plant Officer, said: “Clogwyn y Garnedd, stands as a vital sanctuary for some of the rarest arctic alpine plants and the elusive Snowdon Rainbow beetle – a testament to its ecological significance. Beyond its natural wonders, Clogwyn y Garnedd serves as both a winter climbing haven and a unique climate observatory.”

He added: “Now, armed with this specialised data and comprehensive weather forecasts, we gain a profound understanding of the face’s conditions – a leap forward in appreciating and safeguarding this extraordinary landscape.”


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