Towards the End of the Day

My walk this week was longer than I had originally intended and I think that is partly the result of the straight path I was on. Even where the path was not straight, the bend was long and gentle and my memory of it from a number of years ago was not clear enough for me not to want to see round the bend. The result was that the sun was pretty low in the sky on my return.

sunset through the trees

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In the land of the Living

During my woodland walk this week it was easy to forget that anyone else existed while in amongst the trees – except for the background sound of human activity. The traffic of a suburban area on the edge of farmland was not really significant – more-so was the rising and falling volume of the tractor at work in the fields, recorded on my iPhone 6s. This, however, could not detract from the enjoyment of the woodland environment on a peaceful end-of-summer day just prior to our holiday in Scotland.

roadside woodland

Stainton Woods – Traffic and Tractor

Avian Profiles in Roath Park

Nearing the end of my walk this week and one of the eastern exits to Roath Park in Cardiff, I am struck by the classic pose set by this cormorant. There are many, many birds of many different species in Roath Park but determining the variety of any specific bird is somewhat of a challenge to me. So I think this is a cormorant and the other avian profile in the images below I think is a Yellow Legged Gull in its first year . . . but don’t quote me on it. The swans I know are swans but what variety of swan I could not say.

Not being able to identify many of the creatures, avian or otherwise, or much of the plant life I see around me in any given environment, does not reduce or hamper my enjoyment and appreciation of that environment, either natural or urban. The naming and labelling of things has its advantages when it comes to communication and understanding but for the purposes of StillWalks and my own personal enjoyment of my surroundings and the benefits I get from it, it is not necessary to name everything. Indeed, considering that StillWalks videos have no voiceovers (or music), it is not necessary to name anything! It is only in my blog posts that you will “hear my voice” so to speak.

cormorant

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Stepping Out and Susurrus at Three Cliffs Bay

As we were stepping out across the stepping stones at Three Cliffs Bay on this Taste of Gower circular walk fro the Gower Heritage Centre, I noted the different ambient sound.

It may be expected that the sound of the sea will be different to that of a woodland but the susurration of the wind in trees is not so very different to that of a gentle sea as it washes distantly over a sandy beach. It is different though – the open space seems to me to be one of the greatest influencing factors and with eyes closed or not knowing where you are, these different ambient sounds would give you a pretty good clue as to your surroundings.

The next Taste of Gower walk will be tomorrow 26/08/17 – details here.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

If you ignore the sound of footsteps in the sound clips below, perhaps you will agree that the word susurrus could be used to describe the background ambience of both soundscapes. According to the dictionary I could also have used the word to describe what I called the murmur of voices as the walking group disappeared off into the distance in previous posts on my walk this week, but personally I prefer the onomatopoeia of “murmur” for voices and “susurrus” for the wind or sea. What do you think?

Sound of the Sea

Walking in the Woods

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Walking with Woodland Wildflowers

There were many more wildflowers than these on my walk this week with the Taste of Gower walkers. As we passed through the woodland behind Parc Le Breos House the main group of walkers were all chatting away and I could only keep my fingers crossed that they were also taking in their surroundings and enjoying the colours and sounds of the environment.

I love the range of sounds to be heard on any walk and in this instance I include in that enjoyment the sound of people ahead of me talking in the distance.

The next Taste of Gower walk will be this coming Friday 26/08/17 – details here.

Woodland wildflowers

Woodland wildflowers

Distant Voices in the Woods

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Sculpted by the Flow

I was surprised to find such distinct sculpting of the sand by the flow of the ebb tide on my walk this week along the beach at Crymlyn Burrows in Swansea Bay. The sand banks were noticeable on the beach but even so, the flow of water that created these deep ridges must have been fast. Perhaps there was some other environmental influence of which I was not aware.

sand patterns

Sculpted by the Flow

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The first shot in the sequence below is a particularly interesting mix of flowing sand and flowing water patterns. I guess the sand on the upper edge of the sand bank started flowing with the water it held after the sea had subsided to a level to allow this – fascinating nature yet again!

Patterns in the Sand

I think this is a sand piper!? The name would be appropriate if only for the patterns and colouring of its feathers reflecting as they do, the patters on the beach.

You can see both these birds and the sand patterns on many beaches – I could say any beach but it wouldn’t be true. The patterns of ripple and flow on any part of any beach may have a similar structure but they are all quite unique and dependent on the local surroundings, weather conditions and so much more.

One of the things that appears to influence the patterns on the beach in front of Crymlyn Burrows in Swansea Bay are the sand banks that have built up and no doubt change continually.

Sand Piper

Sand Piper

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Under the Mountains

In a place like Corris, situated in the deep valleys amongst or under the mountains in Wales, there is no horizon to be seen. Seeing as how I love trees so much and they cover the mountains on all sides, I shouldn’t have a problem with this, and I don’t!

Recently I was at an artist’s talk – Lee Williams at the Elysium Gallery in Swansea – where he was exploring the notion that we are affected by our surrounding environment. This is a subject I have thought about for many years but it is hard to come to any definitive conclusions about whether or not the topographical element of our living environments influence the way we are or the way we behave as there are always so many other contributing factors. Those mentioned in Lee’s discourse at the link above relate to Port Talbot which has the best and worst of worlds in its beautiful mountains next to the sea and its heavy industry and pollution.

It could be argued that the people of Corris, while enjoying the wonderful moubtain-scape of their surroundings, also have to suffer what most would consider an abnormal amount of rainfall. Ah well, you can’t have it all I guess.

cemetery in the mountains

cemetery in the mountains

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Rainfall and Rivers – Looking Downstream

After the rainfall had stopped and I was able to get out for my walk this week around the village of Corris in the Welsh mountains, I found the Afon (river) Deri was raging with the volume of water it had received over the previous 24 hours.

I particularly like the middle shot in this trio of images looking downstream as it seems to me to clearly (perhaps that’s the wrong word) illustrate nature overwhelming the architectural presence of man. Having said that, I wouldn’t want to see this torrent of water overwhelming its natural course and causing trouble for the inhabitants. While the river ravine is quite deep at this point, it can be surprising what the power of water can do.

Afon Deri

Afon Deri

Afon Deri

Afon Deri

Afon Deri

Afon Deri

Focusing minds, making connections

My walk this week is follows the lakeside at The Waterside, a place ideal for focusing your mind, making connections and reflecting on the discoveries that can be made there. Discoveries may be as straightforward as observations of the nature in this hidden Welsh valley – more likely they will be deeper still than that.

Whether I am simply amused by the alpacas or excited by the play of light on water in either rain or shine, the conversations I have here are always valuable. Being away from the normal working environment (however much I like my studio) and coming to a place where new and different connections can be seen and made all around me, helps to bring clarity to my mind. I look forward to my next visit on 1st July, another First Friday event.

Focusing minds, making connections

Focusing minds, making connections

I produced the first 4k version of a StillWalks video and I can’t wait to see it on The Waterside’s 55″ UHD screen!

Distant Voices Across the Water

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