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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Wild Weather Walkers and Reviewing the Week 46

Reaching the end of my wild and windy walk between Southgate and Three Cliffs on the South Gower coast, like these other two intrepid weather walkers, I was huddled over and protecting my camera against the rain.

I have not created a full StillWalks video of this walk using a mixture of still images and video because I am not a great fan of hand held video and I have not had the time. However, the sequence of photos and the sound clip below can be viewed at the same time and if you are interested in the video I took on my iPhone during the walk, this can also be viewed at the end of this post.

Mixing video and stills is something I will continue to experiment with for StillWalks and if I can find the time I will probably work further with this walk in this way. In the meantime I hope you can enjoy all that I have posted this week and don’t end up too breathless or blown off your seat!

walkers

Wild Wind

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

When playing the video I recommend you click the HD and full screen buttons.

Sculpted by the Wind

This visual evidence of the prevailing wind on the South Gower coast with its effect on the hawthorn trees produces wonderful natural sculptures typical of Britain’s coastline.  There are probably not many trees like the hawthorn or blackthorn with their ability to survive and thrive in the rugged conditions that come with the Autumn and Winter seasons here.

That’s not say that we have particularly harsh winters, but they still have to cope with the strong winds and sea salty air and I know plenty of other species of tree that do not welcome this sort of situation at all. I love these trees and I also love the equally hardy whin or gorse and, in this case, their silhouette against the dark grey horizon line of sea and sky.

windblown hawthorn

windblown hawthorn

Whin at Three Cliffs Bay

Peace and Pylons

I was amazed at how peaceful this dewy Autumn morning walk was. As I climbed up Cefn Drum towards the electricity pylons the wind was almost non existent and I could hear all the other tiny noises of the landscape around me.

I enjoy listening to the sounds of the environment (any environment), but I also enjoy the occasional peace that you get on a day like this. If you listen to the 5 minute clip below, what do you hear? Listen out for the obvious things like the skylarks and other birds such as pheasant – do you also hear the dog in the distance or the similarly distant hammering as someone works somewhere over the other side of the valley.

The feint base in the sound clip is the motorway. It is the still air more than anything else that has kept this sound from travelling up the hill as it normally does. Air pressure and humidity also affect the way sound travels so on this particular day all atmospheric conditions must have been favourable to a quiet, peaceful hillside.

Pylons

Cefn Drum 2

pylons

This monochrome version of the pylon image can also be seen on Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post Monochrome Madness MM 2-33.

dew on grass