My walk this week was my first walk of 2021, at the start of the New Year. My daughter and I walked up Graig Fawr, a local hill, and watched the sun set over the landscape – it was beautiful and peaceful.
It is a walk I have done many times before but not for a couple of years – it was good to see the meandering Loughor Estuary reflecting the colours of the sky once more.
Being the first day of the year and in the current pandemic lockdown, the landscape was quiet, no background traffic and just the hint of a breeze up on top. It was, however, relatively busy! We must have passed 10 or 12 people in all as they descended the mountain – all couples with the same idea of taking in the view and hoping for a good start to what is likely to be another difficult year.
So to everyone out there, remember to appreciate what we have, take care, stay safe and keep calm.
My walk this week starts in the early morning with the setting moon and the sun rising over the landscape before climbing up through a local forest.
It was my last walk of 2020 and cold! The mist over the winding River Loughor in the valley was very atmospheric and I was in awe (yet again) at the beauty of my surroundings.
It was a very good walk with which to end the year, allowing me not only to enjoy the landscape but also to escape from the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown. The coniferous section of the woodland has been harvested but I am familiar with that now and even in the middle of Winter can see the changes with a more positive eye.
The pleasure I get from a sunrise or open landscape is equalled by my enjoyment of thick moss in a more enclosed forest environment. A sunrise or sunset is always beautiful, but moss is such fun – I cannot help but smile when I see it in such abundance.
My walk this week was up to a forest that is now gone, a forest or woodland which I used to enjoy enormously – but it is not permanent.
I have posted many times about what was a coniferous woodland and last year, when the trees were harvested, I was as devastated as the landscape. However, my walk this week showed me the footpaths had been cleared, new saplings were planted and the remnants of the old wood were getting hidden by fresh new greenery coming through. I was delighted 🙂
The sounds of the old coniferous trees and the ambience of that type of woodland was something I also enjoyed very much. But again I was delighted to hear the very different sounds of a multitude of small birds taking advantage of what is currently a more open landscape.
Forest Gone Soundscape
I look forward to returning many more times to this place, watching and listening as a new deciduous woodland develops.
My walk this week meant that I was working up above the place I have been working in for the past nine months. Sitting outside at break times in good weather, I would look up at the hills overlooking the bay and wonder if there was a footpath that would allow me to look down from above.
Finally, this week, the opportunity arose and on investigation I discovered there is no footpath and some of the land is private. However, a helpful resident told me his kids play up there and on taking a closer look, I found the route they had worn over time.
It was a steep clamber through the wild woods but on reaching a rocky outcrop near the top, I was rewarded with the views I had been seeking. I felt a bit like an intruder to a hidden lair but and I cannot imagine many other people (if any) making their way up there. With my kit bag on my back and seemingly insistent on dragging me back down the hill head over heels, I was grateful to find a rope tied between a few tree trunks to aid the persistent climber.
The soundscape reveals the ambience of the bay as well as that of the woods. Sitting on the outcrop of rocks the full scene could be heard with deep rumble of traffic beneath the mid pitches of the sea and the higher pitches of seagulls. Turning back to dip down from the edge of the slope the ambience changed – the traffic disappeared, the sea became distant and flies could be heard buzzing among the damp undergrowth.
Back in the woods on my precarious downward journey, jays were calling vociferously. But as always seems the case with jays, I couldn’t tell whether they were arguing about something or laughing their heads off at a good joke (probably me negotiating the steep, muddy slope).
My walk this week on my local salt marsh, during the Covid lock down, was different to usual. In relative terms, the footpath felt as busy as the M4 motorway which seems to have returned almost to its normal level of traffic.
If you look carefully at the image above you can see the “crowds” in the distance. Without wanting to be too sarcastic, I should mention that there were various other families, couples and individuals using the riverside footpath. As I am used to meeting no more than one other person at most, it felt crowded to me and I veered away from my intended destination of the “church(yard) on the marshes”.
Sound levels may be returning to pre-Covid-19 levels in this area but that includes the birds as well as everything else. Just as the ambient decibels increase, so does the bird song – and there is still the beautiful sound of the wind blowing through the tall marsh grass.
Marshes Covid Walk Soundscape
The soundscape media player does not show on the WordPress Reader, please visit the website to listen to the soundscape and view the images at the same time.
My walk this week presents another view of my recent Goppa hill walk, but in a slightly different way to usual. It was at the end of March this year and the images are screen shots from the VR 360 video I am developing as a StillWalks® experiment. It takes a while to work on something like this but at this stage I can offer a soundscape and a selection of scenes from the video – selected screen shots. I’ll share the VR video when I have completed it.
So click the play button to listen while viewing the images below.
Goppa Walk Soundscape
The soundscape is quite a windy one in parts, but this changes with the location on the walk, partly dependent on whether it is open ground on top of the hill or when I was surrounded by rhododendrons as I walked down a natural tunnel to the valley floor. Don’t confuse, or perhaps I should say, try and identify, the different sounds of the wind and the river as the recording progresses. There are also the beautiful sounds of various birds.
My walk this week took me along a route I have often walked in the past, and in this post I am linking back to the time of Storm Doris in April 2017. My walks here, past present and future, start from the image below. This week I have included a selection of images from the walk taken in 2017 and then next week I will to post a version of my walk in the present time with links to a VR (virtual reality) version for future use.
On my walk in the present time I was using a GoPro Fusion 360 to take short VR video clips along the way.Continue reading→
My walk this week was in a location carefully selected to not have many other people around – Paxton’s Tower in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Please remember that these blog posts are not intended to prompt you to go out during this difficult time with the Coronavirus, but rather to bring the outside in and hopefully help with some of the difficulties of confinement. For more free StillWalks® resources visit my previous post.
It was a beautiful day and the views from the hill on top of which Paxton’s Tower sits were also beautiful. The photos below look in all geographical directions as well as up at and up in the tower. There are some details too – signs of Spring and the patterns and textures of the full cycle of life.