‘Speechless’ hiker spots rare Brocken spectre weather phenomenon in Wales

Edd Dracott, PA
·1-min read

A hiker has said he was “speechless” after seeing a colourful Brocken spectre when out walking in North Wales.

The rare weather phenomenon was spotted by Liam Roberts, a lorry driver from Bangor, while he was climbing Moel Eilio, a mountain in Snowdonia.

A Brocken spectre appears in specific conditions when sunlight shines on an observer stood at a height in mist, projecting a larger-than-life shadow of themselves onto the water vapour which can appear to move.

Mr Roberts said he was 'speechless' seeing the phenomenon
Mr Roberts said he was ‘speechless’ seeing the phenomenon (Liam Roberts)

Such projections are sometimes surrounded by a rainbow coloured halo, known as a glory, as witnessed and photographed by Mr Roberts.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before… I’m speechless,” the 35-year-old told the PA news agency.

“I kind of turned around to look at the views and I see this circle. I honestly thought it was some kind of rainbow it kept getting brighter then it disappeared then came back for about four minutes.

“It was unbelievable I couldn’t take my eyes off it, it was so unreal I was shocked.”

The term 'Brocken spectre' was founded in Germany in 1780
The term ‘Brocken spectre’ was founded in Germany in 1780 (Liam Roberts)

Mr Roberts said he hikes to aid his mental health and had climbed Moel Eilio last week to catch the sunrise.

According to the Met Office, the term Brocken spectre was coined by German pastor and natural scientist Johann Silberschlag in 1780, a reference to the Brocken peak of the Harz mountain range.

The optical oddity is mentioned in classical literature, including in the works of Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll.