My walk this week is a celebration of the different weather conditions we enjoyed under Scottish skies recently. I won’t say much more than that. As you will be able to see below, we relaxed to beautiful sunsets, cold winds, and water not just ebbing and flowing with the tide but also falling from the sky. On one occasion this produced a thunderous roar as the drops hit the tin roof above us in the middle of the night.
My walk this week is from Scotland where I was flabbergasted by the carpets of late bluebells and moss. Flabbergasted is not a word I use often but on this occasion it is well suited to the dismay I felt when walking in a local forest while on holiday. Being 300+ miles further north of home would account for the some of the delay in the timing of bluebells blooming, but the word was that they have been late everywhere because of the unseasonably cool weather this Spring.
The moss was less unexpected in a woodland like this but it delighted me none-the-less, especially the happy moss monster sitting at the side of the track I was ambling along. The images below take you along the route I followed but only give a glimpse of the carpets of flowers.
I find photographing bluebells difficult – trying to represent the awesome effect their multitude have on the human soul is a challenge I am happy enough not to meet as there can be no substitute for the real thing.
Witness to my enjoyment (and need!) of this walk were two of many local bulls and I stopped to have a wee chat with them as I headed back down the tree lined lane.
My walk this week gave me a much needed break down on the salt marsh and old church yard. Even though it was first thing in the morning, I needed to start the day with the calming influence of solitude in a space I find calming (in spite of the nearby motorway).
I was sitting behind the churchyard wall in an effective audio shelter from the traffic sounds and enjoying the peace of the slow moving river and the sunshine on the marsh grass. As I sat there, gradually I became more aware of some of the details of my surroundings, some of which was evidence of the tidal influence on the marshland – a crab! Some seaweed!
The video* (see note below) demonstrates quite well the different levels of background traffic and wind sounds that I tend not to listen to, instead focusing on the bird sounds – in this case some distant geese flying overhead.
I am sure I must have posted images similar to those below in the past but with each visit to the marshes and old churchyard, it feels like I am experiencing the place afresh. I have looked at the various headstones many times, but somehow those half buried (or almost completely buried) children’s headstones seem to have sunk a little further down, staying close to the long decayed body beneath.
Time passes and everything gradually changes. Whether it be weathered iron growing rust and deepening its pitted surface or the slump of what was once the footpath as it subsides into the river with slow erosion.
- The video in this post can also be viewed in 4K resolution on Vimeo. If you have a large screen and a good internet connection you might feel like you could almost crawl in amongst those marsh grasses. Make sure the quality is set to 4K and expand the video to full screen.
My walk this week is up the uplands, or to give them their local name, The Mawr. I love The Mawr! It is an expansive area of moorland occupied by skylarks, pheasants and judging from this walk, badgers and / or foxes. I am sure there are many, many more creatures living there but one creature that is perhaps there in fewer numbers is human beings. That makes me sound anti-social I guess, but I’m not – perhaps I’m just greedy for space!
For those locals that may be interested and are under the impression that the escarpment shown in the video above is part of Pontarddulais (or Bont) Mountain, I would like to correct the names being used for this element of our landscape. Thanks to a mistake by GoogleMaps, the names of this small mountain and the one next to it are incorrect. The mountain featured in the video is Twyn Tyle and the one becoming known as Bont Mountain is in fact named Cefn Drum. It seems that only the elders of our community know this but it is something GoogleMaps needs to fix – the names are correct on the Ordnance Survey maps. There now, that’s my short rant over.
I am sure you can see from the photos below what it is I love about this landscape. I am sorry there is no soundscape to accompany the images, but trust me, the sound was there – wind, skylarks, more wind, more skylarks . . . and so on 😉
My walk this week is from Swansea Bay – it wasn’t the brightest or warmest of days but it was definitely a calm day at the beach. You can see from the sea that it was flat calm and the incoming tide featured not so much waves as ripples – it was very peaceful.
Fortunately Swansea Bay is quite expansive and this meant that all the people taking advantage of being allowed out (lockdowns and all that) still had plenty of space between them. I’m not sure how much the birds appreciated the calm weather – certainly the gulls seemed a bit irritable, bickering between each other as they do. It always appears to me that when the wind is up, if anything enjoys the blusters and gusts by the sea, it is the gulls more than anything else.
The colours in the images below show a darker day than it felt, but they are calm. The textures and perspective seen on the beach from thousands of worm casts really excited me but I did not get a satisfactory close up.
My walk this week returns to the nature reserve I began exploring a couple of weeks ago with my phone camera. When I returned with my DSLR camera I enjoyed finding practical angles and appropriate subject matter to try and represent the tangled and wild environment.
Some of this old quarry has been used as a bit of a dumping ground in the past, but even the these items are being swallowed up by nature and I suspect that the only object that will resist both time and natural forces is that dreaded and indestructible material plastic.
On my walk this week I didn’t attempt to document my walk up the valley – I went for the walk and nothing else. But then, as so often happens, I got distracted by all the wonderful aspects of there environment around me – in particular the river.
So I took some video showing various elements of the water flow and the changing associated sounds and then continued on my way.
The mossy dead tree below points the way of the river flow (just in case you weren’t sure), but it wasn’t until I climbed up the eastern slope of Cefn Drum that I took one or two more snaps on my phone. These include the curious object I found lying at the track side – does anyone have any idea what it may once have been.
My walk this week is a circular one with the circuit including the Loughor Estuary and salt marsh on my doorstep and also an old quarry which for many years has been a neglected nature reserve.
The space of the estuary was as enjoyable as ever and although it cannot be heard in the video below, I can say that I heard curlews calling as well as the range of other birds enjoying the watery habitat of the river and marsh.
As my walk extended my route took me past an old quarry that I have only tried exploring once before. On that occasion, later in the year, the tangle of brambles made it impossible to get more than a few metres into the neglected reserve. However, those same brambles are not so thick just now and although it was still a bit of a fight to make any progress, I was able to get a better idea of what the place is like.