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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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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Tilting at the Wind

No tilting at windmills here – just tilting at the wind as I nearly get blown off my feet. The power of the wind and the sea is not imaginary and it is remarkable that the youngest member of the family looking out to the horizon in the second image below isn’t being rolled up the beach like the foam of the waves.

On the gentle incline of Colwyn Bay beach the waves may not be very big, but that doesn’t mean the weather is any less wild. A number of the photos I took that day had an horizon line in danger of falling off the edge but whilst it is easy enough to correct this, leaving the first image below as it is helped to emphasise the nature of that environment at that time.

Wild and Windy

Tilting to the Wind

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

Sea foam

Sea foam



Taste of Gower Walk – Gower Heritage Centre

StillWalks will be joining this fourth Taste of Gower walk for 2016 at Gower Heritage Centre on the Gower Peninsula. I will be photographing the walk and carrying out some field recording. These will be displayed on the StillWalks blog a couple of weeks after the walk and before the next taste of Gower walk.

Gower Unearthed will also be joining walk leader Steve Lancing on this walk and they will be focusing on the area’s history and flora and after the walk, as with all the taste of Gower walks, the group will return the the Gower heritage Centre for refreshments with tea/coffee provided courtesy of Gower Landscape Partnership.

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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Litter Pick

StillWalks will be joining a Gower Landscapes Partnership litter pick at Oxwich Point on the Gower Peninsula. Come along and help.

Classically Standing Alone

The new Great Hall at Swansea University Bay Campus stands alone in the arrangement of buildings housing the College of Engineering, the School of Management and student accommodation. The whole complex has quite a conservative feel about it, but the Great Hall is very deliberately classical in style.

Swansea Uni new campus-18

Is this building and the rest of the campus architecture intended to present such a serious and sober outlook? I suspect it is.Continue reading

Turning Point

The starting point for my walk this week alongside Swansea Canal, was where the River Tawe loops tightly round right next to the canal which is elevated above the river. The turning point for my walk on this section at Clydach, is where the Tawe loops back to the canal again. One of the points about any canal is that they provide a more direct route than a meandering river.

It was good to be able to look down on the river again before turning back and retracing my steps by the canal. I may have been returning the way I had come but walking any route in the opposite direction gives a different view, a new perspective on the surroundings.

In the last image on this Sunday morning, men from Swansea Canal Society can be seen at work on the lock I passed earlier. By the time I reached them the path was quite busy, not only with their activity, but with cyclists and walkers as well – an ever changing environment.

River Tawe

Working on the canal

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Silence in the Woods

The woods at this stage of my walk round Lower Lliw Reservoir are not silent as you will hear in the sound clip below. However, with there being no wind, much of the background sound that is often there, is missing. This changes the acoustics of the woodland environment entirely and the soft plop of ice and snow dripping into the reservoir can be clearly heard along with the hollow reverberation of someone’s voice and the raucous call of a crow.

The scene was magical, not least because of the crooked wooden fence that lines the twisting footpath and the soft crunch of my footsteps in the snow.

ice droplet

Peaceful Background

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winter footpath

crooked fence

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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