Smiling Faces or Stony Faces at Port Eynon

My walk this week at Port Eynon with the Taste of Gower walkers revealed some smiling faces . . . or perhaps I should say stony faces!

smiling faces

Looking directly into the light on from the beach at Port Eynon produced a smile on my own face. We are told not to face into the sun when taking photos because the light will be behind the subject and so they will appear as a silhouette. But if the subject is the light itself and the effect of being dazzled by it, then go for it (not directly at the the sun of course – that can be dangerous).

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My Walk this Week – Port Eynon

My walk this week is from the last Taste of Gower outing to Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsula.It was a bright day with a bit of a breeze as can be heard on the sound clips I’ll be posting. We gathered at the Captain’s Table as a starting point for the walk and I enjoyed seeing the late display of wildflowers as we approached the beach to amble, stride or march along the sand towards Horton.

Port Eynon

We had all come prepared for changeable weather but were lucky to keep the sunshine for almost the whole of the walk. We weren’t the only ones enjoying it either!

The next ToG walk will be this Friday at Rhossili – details here.

 

Round Stones in a Sea of Rectangles

One of the strangest things on my walk this week at the foot of the cliffs along the South Wales shore between Nash Point and Monknash, were the smooth round stones nestled in amongst the rectangular rocks of the wave platform pavement. I almost expected them to be polished to a shine in the same way that gem stones are made smooth and reflective for display. The wave action of tumbling the stones against the harder rocks of the pavement has produced a fascinating juxtaposition of forms. Speaking of which, having walked across such an expanse of wave platform, it was then a surprise to come upon a wide area of beautifully smooth sand!

Roundstones

Roundstones

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Full Circle and Reviewing the Walk

I started my walk this week with a post of 360 degree views of Swansea Bay at Crymlyn Burrows. Now after getting excited about so many of the patterns and forms in the sand on this expansive beach, I have come full circle. Back in front of the Bay Campus of Swansea University the view is as good as ever but after all the subtleties of sand I was surprised by the glare of contrasting colour in front of the Great Hall on the campus. The grass was new and the paint on the tables was new too!

Mumbles Across the Bay

Mumbles Across the Bay

Contrasting colour

Contrasting colour

Virtually all sound from the city and the motorway was being blown inland by a light breeze on this peaceful morning walk and the sound of distant birds and people along with my footsteps on the sand is most of what makes up this calm soundscape.

Crymlyn Burrows Beach Soundscape

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Wet, Drying and Dry – Subtlety in Sand

While the patterns in sand I have been looking at on my walk this week have been details of the beach in Swansea Bay, there are also interesting patterns and textures to be seen from longer, wider viewpoints. In this first shot today I like the gradual fading of the reflected light on wet sand as it transitions to drying sand.

In the second photo the pattern was subtle, perhaps more-so in reality than it is in the image but still noticeably there and resembling a tiger’s stripes. While I enjoy nuance within imagery and my surroundings, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at this pattern strengthened and converting to monochrome and increasing the contrast was one relatively quick way to do this.

Beach Perspective

Beach Perspective

Dry and Drying sand

Dry and Drying

monochrome sand

monochrome sand

There was subtlety in the sounds of the beach on this walk as well as in the patterns of sand. I got my recorder out again as soon as I heard my footsteps on top of one of the sand banks where the surface still retained water and the rhythm of my footsteps created a fizz of compressed sand and released moisture. The passing of a distant small aircraft only seemed to emphasise the peace of the beach at this stage of my walk.

Footsteps in Damp Sand

Perspectives Viewpoints and Angles

As I proceeded further along the beach towards Port Talbot on my walk this week, I became more and more excited by the patterns I was seeing. I kept walking backwards and forwards and around in circles to view the patterns of ridges and ripples in the sand from different angles, enjoying them from different viewpoints and finding new perspectives. As I said earlier in the week, I may be becoming obsessed with sand as a natural art form.

Sand Patterns

Sand Patterns

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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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My Walk this Week – Swansea Bay 360

My walk this weak is in Swansea Bay on the beach in front of Crymlin Burrows and Swansea Uni Bay Campus will reveal what may be turning into an obsession with sand.

The tide was as far out as I have ever seen it and as I stood in the middle of its seemingly vast expanse and turned around the full 360 degrees I could see that the sand in this part of the bay is much more sculpted by the tide than it is in front of the city itself. This is not revealed much in these panoramic shots but I will post some of the patterns created in the sand through the week.

Swansea Bay

The soundscape of the beach is quite different to the wild blast of wind blowing on Colwyn Bay in my walk last week. Listen below to the ambience with the occasional distant sound of birds or voices from a small group of people and the faint backdrop of traffic.

Swansea Bay Ambience

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Leaving the Beach and Reviewing the Walk

Reviewing my walk this week I realise that the railway line running across this bridge separates not only the beach from the town, but also something of the wind as well. The beach at Colwyn Bay in North Wales is a wide open expanse across which the wind can blow unimpeded until it reaches the railway embankment above the promenade. However, this barrier does not run the full length of the bay by any means and so I imagine, like Swansea’s seafront in the south of the country, the sand gets blown far into the streets nearby.

The soundscape below illustrates the point at which the wind starts blowing – just as I cross the road to the promenade at the pedestrian crossing. My favourite sound in this soundscape is towards the end – the rhythmic rattle of metal on metal in the wind before I return to the road.

Leaving the beach

Leaving the beach

Colwyn Bay Soundscape

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