In the dark forest on the lower slopes of Tarren-y-Gesail a goldcrest sang like iced water and old-mans-beard lichen graced mossy stumps, but we climbed on to the bare slopes. The higher we got the more mysterious the silence, like silence before snow, the silence of altitude; the silence of anticipation. Sometimes we heard wind in the pines, traversing a valley somewhere far below.  


We sat among bilberry plants and heather at the slate quarry ruins of Tarren-y-Gesail ridge. We seemed to be in a blue sky-bowl, high enough to look down at the clouds creeping in from the coast. High enough for other mountains to look like a flat table of blue shade and folds and glacial scoop. Suffused in light I wondered if I’d gone deaf, there was no sound and yet there was; a great rumbling rhythmic din. Rob moved, his waterproofs rustled with a normal noise and I realised what I’d heard was the great white roar of silence.