Icons of the Hill and some Pronunciation

Graig Fawr (pronounced Grige (with both “g”s hard) and Vower (as in power) and translates from the Welsh, more or less, as¬†“big rock”)) . . . and before I forget, Happy St David’s Day from Wales ūüôā

My walk up Graig Fawr soon brought me to a few things that seem to me to typify this particular area of my local uplands, the western edge of The Mawr (remember the “Fawr” pronunciation), the upland area north of Swansea.

One is the solitary tree and another is the bracken. There are large areas of bracken on the side of Graig Fawr and its companion hill, Cefn Drum (pronounced¬†with a hard “C” and the “f” as a “v” and Drum is pronounced Drim). The colours and textures of the bracken are always there and now and then you will spot a single small tree growing out of its midst.

I have taken a number of photographs¬†of these “icons” in different conditions and certainly the light is always different, but today the bracken had¬†a particularly strong red tinge to its brown in some areas where¬†it lay with the morning frost gradually thawing.

bare Graig Fawr tree

bracken

And then there was this water system manhole! I am not sure what the underground workings of this system are, but this access point with the slab of concrete and a glass jar laying on top of it and the concrete signage made me think of a grave with its headstone and the last flowers that were left in a jar, now disappeared.

Graig Fawr manhole

Recognition

The word “recognition” has two senses to it and they are both relevant to this post and my walk through Swansea Marina. Firstly, ¬†I recognise, in particular the old pump house¬†on the left, the Seamen’s Chapel (Mission Gallery¬†– see below) on the right and, most significantly to me, the building in which my wife and I had a studio which¬†looked out over the marina as it changed from disused docks to the flourishing Maritime Quarter.

My wife,¬†Ceramic Artist Julie Brunskill, will be¬†Maker in Focus¬†at the Mission Gallery from Tuesday 23rd February – 2nd April. Don’t miss it!

Recognition can also mean an acknowledgement of remembrance and in the photos below you will see black flags flying from some of the boats. Their ragged appearance has a haunting effect in amongst all the masts and rigging. My assumption is that they were there in recognition of David Bowie’s death a week earlier. That was just over¬†a month ago now – R.I.P. David Bowie, I have enjoyed your music throughout my life.

Swansea Marina

Spectating a Lock

Swansea Marina has two locks to allow boats access to both the River Tawe and the harbour entrance at the river mouth. Walking from one end to the other provides many opportunities to stop and gaze at the movement of lock gates, water, people and boats.

There is (must be) a patience in the people living here and using the the marina. Whether a walker or a sailor, if you are waiting to cross or go through the lock gates, the mechanism being heavy and slow to operate, means that time slows down and there is no option but to accept it.

The gulls in the last photograph below look as though they have mastered this patient outlook on life as they appear to spectate the relative inactivity in the marina on this day where the sheltered aspect of their position means the greatest movement is in the rhythmical ripples in the water.

lock gate

A Range of Activities

The weather may not have been great for my walk through Swansea Marina but there was still plenty of activity in the place. I enjoyed standing a while leaning against the railings and listening to the banter of those on the fishing boats, watching the rowing practice and looking at the jewels and beads of water on the bundled fishing nets as they spilled out of their harbour side containers.

rowers

Marina Activity

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My Walk this Week 21 – Maritime Musings

My walk this week takes me through Swansea’s Martime Quarter once more¬†There were several gatherings of birds, all apparently waiting for something. They had look-outs making use of the security cameras and other high points around the docks and locks of the marina, but the misty weather was significantly limiting visibility.

Looking inland towards Kilvey Hill, but without being able to see it, a riverside apartment block was also partly obscured by the sand dunes at the top of the beach. None of the architecture of the SA1 area could be clearly seen but the mist and dampness gave a distinctive atmosphere to the place and so I enjoyed doing my photography and having my walk in spite of the weather.

line of cormorants

Heading Towards Evening

Daylight comes to an end and the lights come on around Swansea’s Maritime Quarter. One take sees the¬†lights of the apartments and the Meridian Tower and their reflections in the water. Another¬†presents the silhouetted patterns of masts and architecture against the late evening sunset.

Swansea Maritime Quarter

sunset

silhouettes

Rust and Restoration

About ten years ago we had a studio in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter. We first moved into it just before the area started being¬†developed. The old dock next to the studio building was empty and a number of the buildings were derelict – it wasn’t the best area in town. How things change!

Walking round what is now the marina was . . . interesting – now it is very pleasant. The dock has boats in it again and housing, other buildings and art around it. The National Waterfront Museum holds a significant space there as do other architectural developments.

On this walk there was still a taste of the past, not so much in the brightly painted and well maintained Helwick Lightship but¬†in the old rust bucket resting next to it. It looks a fascinating vessel and I am sure there must be good reason for it being there – ¬†perhaps it is awaiting restoration. Why ever it’s there, they make for quite a contrast sitting next to each other.

Swansea maritime quarter

lightship

old rusty boat

My Walk this Week 10 – Maritime Observations

It seems I am observing the observers at the start of this walk around the marina in Swansea. My walk this week spans both daytime and evening and a couple of the shots I am using I have previously posted on Instagram.

It looks like bath time for sea gulls is the order of the day for this sunny afternoon amongst the boats. You would think the birds on the floats were lining up to take their turn!

sea gulls

seagull washing in water

seagull washing in water

seagull washing in water