Evidence of Others

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.

Cefn Drum 4 

Cefn Drum 4

Cefn Drum-27

hoof print

Cefn Drum-26

 

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

My Walk this Week 8 – Leading to Local Landscape

I have often posted images throughout the week from a single walk but this is the eighth consecutive week that I have done this using photos taken on a recent walk. I like the sequential element of the “story” being told in seven posts or “chapters” and focusing on different aspects of the things I observe and listen to on my walks.

Some of the walks I take are local to me and others further afield, some are rural and others urban. I wonder how long I can continue with this form of posting?

Quite often I will walk the same routes, but as the conditions are always different and I find familiarity allows me to see and hear more rather than less, I hope to be able to bring new images and sounds to you even when the walk is one I have posted about before.

This week’s walk takes us into another area of my local landscape and although I will not be producing a StillWalks video as I did last week, I did do some field recording on the walk. Below is the first of the sound clips recorded along this first section of my route. The full soundscape can be heard at the end of the week.

Cefn Drum 1

Cefn Drum 1

old shed

 

Exercising the Body and Mind

Which do you prefer – cycling, walking, jogging, running? Walking would be my preference  if I want to focus on my surroundings and observe the sights and sounds around me. However, for this very reason, I may not get as much exercise as I tend to start and stop a lot in order to look and listen, photograph or record. Then again, I am sure the benefit I gain from enjoying the observation makes up for it, mentally at least!

Cycle Path

Cycle Path

Footsteps on the Boardwalk

This week’s featured StillWalks video is “Winter Lakeside Walk”. It shows Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmarthenshire, SW Wales. The video was produced last Winter. This year we have not had any cold weather (yet) and so I have not been able to enjoy the sound of my footsteps on the creaking boardwalk as it shifts on its struts in the frozen water in the marshes around the lake . . . but you can hear those sounds in this video.

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

Paypal button

Two Tunes for Christmas

Such as it is the StillWalks website is back online albeit through WordPress. So check the blog menu for all that is StillWalks. There will be lots of further developments in the New Year.

In the meantime, here are a couple of Christmas tunes from our town band – i.e in the background along with the birds and the rain!

Or listen via SoundCloud below.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everyone.

Affected by Atmosphere

Walking out along the Loughor Estuary last Sunday morning, the weather was still but overcast and the sound of the M4 motorway was even more evident than usual. I love the marshes on the estuary and the old St Teilo’s churchyard, and I normally find that I suppress the sound of traffic in my head and listen instead to the birds, sheep, cattle and wind along with the sound of my footsteps in the grass or mud and the rustling of the reeds.

These are some of the sounds recorded in the StillWalks I have produced here. I did not do any sound recording on Sunday but I got a few shots of the area and thought about how much the sounds we hear are so unique to the time and place we are in. They are the result of things like the weather conditions before and during our visit as well as the activities of others, like driving along the motorway on a Sunday morning to go shopping or visit family or whatever. Twenty five years ago there was virtually no Sunday morning traffic on the M4 but even now the traffic sound can seem distant if the wind is in the right direction or other environmental aspects such as a high tide, rain or time of year change the conditions.

This is something we’ll be looking at on the Sights and Sounds of the Countryside project which you can find out about here or follow on Facebook.

The StillWalks website is offline at the moment due to malicious hackers but you can see 480p versions of two StillWalks from the Loughor Estuary on Vimeo – After the Tide and the Old Churchyard Walk. They will be available to buy in full HD when the site is back up and running.

Here are some photos of the Loughor Estuary and the marshes. Image prints can be purchase at PhotoBox.

IMG_5425 IMG_5427 IMG_5435 IMG_5443 IMG_5447 IMG_5451 IMG_5461 IMG_5466 IMG_5467