I loved the woodland around the old shed I found (see yesterday) on my short walk in Carmarthenshire this week – the density of trees and yet the openness in the winter created a wonderful range of subtle colours, textures and patterns.
The first thing I encountered when starting on my return up the hill, was my own footsteps in the thin snow. The thaw was already in progress at the start of my walk and you can see and hear how fast the snow is melting in the footstep sound clips on Monday’s post – “My Walk this week – First Snow”. It is quite possible that this is not only the first snow but also the last of this winter – we shall just have to wait and see!
I didn’t get lost on my walk this week but I did come across this old shed that had the distinct appearance of being abandoned and lost in the woods. On closer inspection, it appeared that it may still be in use – I couldn’t say for sure, but I did like the aged appearance of it. Covered in moss, spider webs and snow the rusty corrugated iron sheets seemed well camouflaged in the winter woodland.
My descending approach to the shed took me through some deeper snow, the sound of which can be heard on my first post for this week. Care had to be taken and you can hear the point in the clip where I stumble. The rough track and the need to clamber over brambles to reach the shed again suggested it may no longer be in use, but who knows – the ways of those working the land will, perhaps, always hold some mystery.
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.
The penultimate photo in this sequence (cobwebs) can also be seen in monochrome at Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post Monochrome Madness MM 2-42.
Walking up the footpath alongside the Lagan in Belfast, the river again attempts to produce its own art in the form of sculpture in the water. The working material may be an old trolley but with the reflection on the water’s surface, I couldn’t help thinking of it as a piece of art in keeping with the “bottle top” or the “graffiti” to be seen by the river bank.
My walk this week moves from a suburban location (see the last two weeks posts) to the inner city location of Belfast in Northern Ireland. The first two images below may not look like the inner city but you don’t have to walk far up the river Lagan to reach this point on its route into Belfast. Perhaps the construction crane in the third image comes closer to proving the city location.
The mist is still there as I climb back up the bracken covered side of Ryer’s Down on the Gower Peninsula. It could be said that yesterday’s magical atmosphere in the woods has come with me into the new year – mist can certainly have a mystical effect on things (sorry about the pun).
The landscape can look very different depending on the conditions. Trying always to look at things with a fresh eye helps me see what is there and appreciate the subtle differences.
Sometimes I listen to “Ramblings” on BBC Radio 4. Clare Balding presents the in programme which she meets and converses with various people as part of a countryside walk. She does a good job of describing the scenery they walk through and the talk is always interesting. There is just one failing for me as a radio programme – there are never enough pauses to listen to the environmental sounds of the walk. They are there in the background but constantly over-layered with talk.
I like to listen to all of the sounds I encounter on a walk or in the case of a quiet walk, I like to listen to the lack of sound, the stillness.
The series of sound clips below last about 15 minutes and follow my walk this week. Starting in a Welsh country lane with autumn leaves all around, continuing up a local hill (Cefn Drum) to the cairn at the top and then back down again to the leafy lane. It was a very still and peaceful walk but there are plenty of sounds to listen to along the way.
I like to listen to other field recordists’ soundscapes as well – one I enjoy regularly is set in Paris (Sound Landscapes) but the sounds of the city are as fascinating to me as those of a natural landscape.
Click the play button below and listen to the soundscape of my walk this week while browsing through the sequence of images. It’s not a StillWalks video but I hope you can relax and enjoy it in the same way.
On many of the walks I take I rarely see many other people – one or two at most. However, there is always evidence that others walk the same routes. In this case, apart from the fact that the footpath is well trodden anyway, there were cycle tracks, footprints, trampled mushrooms and the hoof prints of horses.
There are almost always the sounds of human activity in the background and this walk was no exception. The sound clip on this post has the sound of farm machinery in the background along with the twitter and caws of birds. The ambient sound is partly made up of the distant motorway but more noticeable is the constant “flicker” of the electricity pylons under which I was standing. And then there is a human/canine encounter as well.
As I walked up the footpath I was surrounded by a sea of red Autumn bracken. Click the panorama shots to view them larger and get a slightly better sense of my surroundings as I near the top of my walk. Photographs can never replace the real thing but perhaps today’s sound clip will help to give you a better sense of place.