My walk this week has been along a very straight footpath that also doubles as a cycle path. I used to cycle a lot but my preference now is for walking – both are excellent forms of exercise and both give you more time and peace to enjoy the sights and sounds of your surroundings so I heartily recommend them to everyone as a means of maintaining health and wellbeing.
Another small detour I took from the suburban footpath I have been walking along this week took me to the Afon Lliw. This is a river I have studied in detail – to be accurate I should say that I have documented children studying the flow in detail . . . from source to sea. The project I was involved in was Our River and you can see all eight chapters of the videos made here on the StillWalks website.
At about the half way point on the return along the linear route of my walk this week there is a kissing gate which stands alone at the junction of a small footpath leading off through the fields. The photo below suggests a peck on the cheek rather than a kiss but though I went to get a photo of the reflections in the path-side pool, I didn’t actually go through the gate. It was, as I said, standing alone and there was no need to go through it when I could go round – I wondered why it was there at all but was conscious of not using it. Had it been made of wood I am certain I would have used it but while the idea of a gate of this design has practical purposes, the modern materials rather spoil the effect.
My walk this week was longer than I had originally intended and I think that is partly the result of the straight path I was on. Even where the path was not straight, the bend was long and gentle and my memory of it from a number of years ago was not clear enough for me not to want to see round the bend. The result was that the sun was pretty low in the sky on my return.
The long straight path I took on my walk this week is not all that long in reality, and neither is it entirely straight. Often when walking I try to pace myself and not rush off at the beginning as this allows me to do a longer walk without my knees giving any trouble. However, when the path is flat, paved, even and like this one, straight(ish), I find I automatically speed up and it can become more of a march. Had it not been for the fact that I was stopping to photograph and record, I would have completed the linear route there and back quite quickly.
The photo below is of something not generally considered very desirable – Japanese Knotweed – but I liked the strange sticky curtain in front of the field that it created in its bare winter state.
My walk in this first week of the new year is a childhood memory walk. That does not mean memories of my childhood but instead memories of a walk I used to take when my daughter was at dance class. I would drop her off at the class venue and take an enjoyable hour long walk in the locality. It was not perhaps the sort of place I would normally walk – it is straight (more or less), flat and suburban – but it is also very attractive in its own way. It is quite a long time now since my daughter attended the dance class but taking the walk reminded me strongly of that time.
Looking forward to 2017 and back at my walks in the forest from July to December in 2016, I have selected from my posts over the last week photos representing walks I have taken in each of the last 6 month of the year. The soundscape is from September and is the full length version of the clip I posted for September last Wednesday. The ambience of the place is unique – the atmospheric conditions were such that there is almost an echo of my footsteps as I walk between the trees. It is still, the birds are singing and there is occasional traffic on the road below or in the distance.
As I am using a soundscape from September, here is a sunrise from that same month, looking across the valley before I enter the forest.
December, the last month of the year and a last walk from my local forest. Not all photos are from the same walk as with approximately 150 walks there over the year, the selection of images used over the past two weeks have inevitable been taken from more than one walk in each month.
October is often the wettest month for us here in Wales but whether the cloudscape below is evidence of this I could not say – I simply found it an interesting arrangement. In reality the weather conditions these days are seemingly so erratic, it is sometimes difficult to know which season we are in or what month it is. It is not easy to tell from these photos or the sound clip if the weather on my forest walks in October were wet or not.
On my forest walks in August I mostly used my iPhone for my photography and sound recording. It seems I was focusing on colour and texture on those occasions, but not only in what I could see but also in what was to be heard – not that I had any particular influence over that, other than to be there.