Climbing into Forest Stillness in November

It’s a steep path into the forest from the road but during a murky November when the days are getting very short the stillness that can be found there when the wind isn’t blowing is a real treat. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sound of the wind, but I also like the quiet peacefulness amongst the trees of this small forest when the sound of the motorway to the west is not carried over the hill. Even in the upper, thinner parts of this woodland, in amongst the spiky gorse, the air can be still and the sound of the conversing birds carries through the trees.

Forest Gorse in November

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Forest from January to June – Reviewing the Walks

Having covered the first half of the year of my walks in a local forest month by month and keeping to the format of posts I have been using for a year now (I think that will change next year), today I am looking back over the past week’s posts and selecting two images from each month/post. To head them up I have chosen one from April with the sun peeking through the trees.

Forest April Sunlight

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Wildness Becalmed

The wind that produced the wildness in the growth of this tree was becalmed on this day of our holiday in Scotland. The wild hawthorn trees that take this form are wonderful descriptions of the weather and the bleak looking hill in the background are not a place you would wish to be in foul weather.

But this day was completely still and everything in the landscape and seascape held a tranquility and peace that for all we knew could have been the precursor to a storm.

calm-day-3

Magical Calm Before the Storm

I have said that the weather was kind to us on my walk this week. It can be seen here on the expansive beach at Whitford, that there was the potential to be caught by an impending storm. Fortunately the wind favoured us and took this huge bank of dark cloud off to the north east.

calm before the storm

calm before the storm

The scene felt other worldly with the calm humidity and the simplicity of the open space. The haze blurred the details of what land could be seen and the “canvas” was reduced to indistinct sea and sky in muted colours. The old Victorian iron built Whitford Lighthouse was an enticing object just out of reach in the water and a small flock of one of my favourite birds flew as if in slow motion along the length of shore, mixing their calls with the skylarks. It was magical!

Larks and Oystercatchers

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The Waterside and Reviewing the Week 56

Heading home from my day at The Waterside, I was surprised and delighted to be driving across the Welsh hills and into a fantastic sunset. The colour, light and shade typified the mixed weather from the start of the day to the end.

The soundscape below may not fit perfectly with the sequence of photos if you listen and view them at the same time, but it is not meant to be StillWalks video but hopefully it will help to give you a better sense of that beautiful, secluded South Wales valley.

The Waterside-27

The Waterside Soundscape

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From Calmness to Turbulence

Approaching the southern end of the lake on my walk around the valley at The Waterside, the sound and atmosphere changed from peaceful and calm to turbulent and vigorous.  Before reaching the rapids of water flowing into a tunnel, I could hear it in the background – in fact the sound of the rushing water had been noticeable for some time. However, the volume rose dramatically as I stood directly over the crashing deluge.

There is an aspect of acoustics in my perception of the volume of sound in this place. I cannot imagine what Niagara or Victoria Falls sound like but the environmental space at this point at The Waterside is much more enclosed than that at Niagara or Victoria and so, as there is inevitably more reflection of sound, it may be that the perceived difference in volume is (slightly) affected by this. However, I wouldn’t dream of comparing one with the other as the scale difference is astronomical.

Today (Friday) StillWalks is at The Waterside running presentations  about the StillWalks package for businesses and organisations. If anyone is interested in coming along to one of these in the future, First Fridays are currently regular open days at The Waterside, please check out the website above and contact us in advance.

Old Gate

Rapid water

water entering tunnel

Looking Down at the Sky

When I drove over to The Waterside – Felindre I had an expectation of taking this walk, but on arrival it was pouring rain. I thought, “I must get my recording kit out and capture the sound of the rain on the cabin decking and the lake surface“. However, by the time I was set up and ready to go outdoors, the rain stopped! Strangely, it did not rain again that day.

There were clouds in the sky as can be seen in the images below, but it was also quiet and calm, at least from time to time, and so the surface of the water was unbroken by anything other than very gentle ripples.

That is one of the exciting things about The Waterside – the weather being unpredictable means that the views and the sounds, the whole atmosphere of this small, South Wales valley, can change constantly throughout a day. Having the optional warmth of the log burner in the comfort of the cabin means that you can always view the scene from a dry place. But if you have come equipped for wet weather (as we must do in this part of the world), then the rain need not stop you enjoying everything else the valley offers.

Tomorrow (Friday) StillWalks will be at The Waterside running presentations  about the StillWalks package for businesses and organisations. If anyone is interested in coming along to this regular open day at The Waterside, please check out the website above and contact us in advance.

sky reflection

Peace at The Waterside

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

River, Railings, Ripples and Reflections

Moving on with my city walk in Belfast I have returned to the River Lagan. There is no frost here as there was at the start of my walk higher up the river but that doesn’t mean the river is any less attractive or interesting.

The Lagan creates its own art in the reflected patterns of railings distorted by ripples  or the mirror effect on twigs projecting out of the still water.

River Reflections