The wonders of the woodland, the lakes, the colours and the soundscape . . . and the textures and the bird life and the patterns and the fact that the rain held off for me on my walk this week around Gnoll Estate Country Park in Neath, South Wales – these are some of the things that I enjoyed about this walk.
One thing I did not remember from previous visits (going back a few years) was the oak tree with a huge hole through its trunk. Clearly the park authorities felt it was a wonder worth preserving and have reinforced the natural structure with metal rods.Continue reading→
I step up from one lake to another in this second stage of my walk this week – and there is a third lake in Gnoll Park, plus a reservoir! This lake is the largest and features a wonderful cascade which, even when it is not flowing with water, makes an attractive feature.
We are at the start of Autumn now and the colours are beginning to change. There are only hints of the season to be seen in my photos but they are there all the same, plus the temperature has dropped.
Looking for urban woodland on my walk this week, perhaps inevitably, I found concrete and trees. While trying to keep to the narrow wooded area behind York University, I intentionally crossed a road via an underpass in order to find the castle-like structure I had spotted on Googlemaps.
Similar in design to Clifford’s Tower in the centre of York, the structure was much larger than that, and made of concrete. From the ground it was well camouflaged by the foliage patterns of light and shade cast by tall trees and the sun on the imposing walls and rusty windows.
A feeding frenzy of young swallows was one of the most impressive dramas of our stay on the South West coast of Scotland last month. The young birds were fledging and the aerobatics the parents performed to catch insects in flight for their offspring was utterly amazing. Time and time again they would wheel and dive and change direction so abruptly you would think they would leave their brains behind, let alone their stomachs.
These aerobatics went on for a day or two and then the young ones took to the sky and there was even more drama as their parents fed them on the wing andContinue reading→
We spotted a wide range of wildlife during the hot weather in Scotland last month with multiple spotting of deer in the fields and on the beach, a pair of pheasants calling to each other regularly, an adder crossing a hot footpath, many different birds (even more than usual), and a couple of field mice under the hedge came out each evening to share the food put out for the birds.
As well as the images I have selected below, we also witnessed dramatic but unsuccessful chases by weasels of small rabbits – one of them ended right at my feet! On hearingContinue reading→
Like this solitary crow, I enjoy my solitary walks, but this is far from the only species of fauna I found when in Scotland last month. I approached it quietly to try and get a closer shot but was spotted, naturally, and it it took to the air, flying across the bay to meet its partner.
There is a quiet bay, an old disused harbour, along the shore from us where the gulls and oystercatchers – and on this occasion, swans – gather and sit quietly on the water or by its edge andContinue reading→
A calm, hazy, hot day and the stone buoys that mark the entrance to a small disused harbour reflect in the water and a gull appears in contemplation of its quiet surroundings.
Like the gull, I too sit in contemplation of the scene and objects around me – stopping from time to time on all my walks to look and listen and absorb the sights and sounds, the textures, patterns and colours of the environment and feel the connections I have to all that is there.
Whether the connection is slow and seemingly timeless, as in the wrinkles and folds seen in the surfaces of rocks, or quicker, like the more immediate ripples of the water blown by the breeze, pushed and pulled by the sun and moon along with Earth itself (see Tides), the influence on me of these interconnections is sometimes obvious and noticeable, sometimes utterly imperceptible, but there nonetheless.
Imperceptible or not, I am aware that they exist and enjoy contemplating, or perhaps imagining, the ties that hold me (rather than bind me) to the intricacies of the planet and all that exists and lives upon it.
The evening light in my selected shots of sunsets in SW Scotland show the changing scene from day to day from different viewpoints. Almost all the photos were taken on different evenings but it is easy to take many, many photographs throughout just one evening as the sun sinks down and the light and shade and colours change above in the sky and below in the bay.
Fewer clouds this year might have meant less drama, but I don’t think that is ever the case in this place. The skyscape / landscape / seascape is always mesmerising and holds my attention,Continue reading→
My walk this week included nine gates, not eight, but the gate to the old churchyard on my local marshes was open and so is not included in the soundscape below.
The old St Teilo’s churchyard is a fabulous place and the walk across the marshes, alongside the River Loughor is also a local route I enjoy immensely. If doing a linear walk rather than the circular route,Continue reading→