The Ground Underfoot and a Second Source

Walking with the Living Taff group, our mini expedition to find the two sources of the River Taff, or Afon Taf, on the slopes of Pen y Fan and Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons, we took a short cut across open grassland to the second and larger source of the river, the Taf Fawr.

“Fawr” meaning big, the source was indeed larger than the previous one round the other side of the mountain, but the river at this stage of its life is still quite small as you would expect.

grass in the Brecon Beacons

Walking through the dry, scratchy, springy grass was a very pleasant sensation. We listened to the sound of our footsteps and thought about its texture and colour and the peacefulness of this part of our walk.

I managed to record a small snippet of this part of our walk and whilst the soft murmur of voices from the rest of the group is still in the background, there is also the gentle flow of this youngest stage of the river accompanied by the flow of a warm breeze through the grass and across the shoulder of the hill. We had enjoyed the skylarks too but at the point of recording, they had decided to keep quiet.

Taf Fawr

If viewing this in an email, please click the title to see more of the post, thank you.

Looking South from the Beacons

As I approached the first, (or smaller) source of the River Taff, Blaen Taf Fechan (correction – Taf Fechan, see comments on previous post), on my walk this week with the Living Taff group, I took yet another of my frequent stops to look at the view. Looking south from the slopes of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, I could see all the way to the Bristol Channel, Flat Holm island and beyond to Somerset in England.

Brecon Beacons

England can’t be seen in the shot above which concentrates on the patterns and textures on the slopes of Craig Gwaun Taf which leads up to Corn Du, but the first of the shots below gives a pretty good wider view of the scene, even though the distant atmosphere was quite hazy. In the closer surroundings of the mountains the colours and patterns of light and shade kept changing with the passing clouds.

The Blaen Taf Fechan (below) joins the Blaen Taf Fawr (correction – Taf Fawr, see comments on previous post) at Merthyr Tydfil to become the Afon Taf or River Taff which then flows on down to Wales’ capital city, Cardiff.

These photos are devoid of humans but they were there and there was the constant murmur of voices all around us. It wasn’t disturbing or even annoying really, just present.

Pen y Fan Voices

Llansteffan Castle

Reviewing the Walk and the Week

My walk this week has been taken in two ways – the exploration of Llansteffan Castle and the migration of the StillWalks blog and website. I hope that you have both enjoyed this walk and will continue to enjoy both the weekly walks and other developing aspects of StillWalks.

The sound clip below is a re-posting of the clip I included earlier in the week as I did not have the material to produce a soundscape for this walk. That will have to remain for a full production walk later in the year. In the meantime you can view the images in sequence and listen to the clip at the same time.

 

Llansteffan Castle Sound Clip

If you are viewing this in an email, you will need to click the post title to see the sound player on the post itself.

View from Llansteffan Castle

Welcome to Day One

Hello to everyone, existing and new visitors to the new StillWalks blog. Thank you for visiting anew and thank you for relocating with me if you are already a follower.

Insert your email to the subscription box in the side bar on the right to receive StillWalks images and sound clips on blog posts every morning – it’s a great way to start the day (or end it!).

NB If viewing this on a mobile device, the registration to receive emails at the bottom of this post.

Things should look very much the same on the blog and hopefully our migration here will be seamless. However, other aspects of the website have changed and there is now a new StillWalks package to which you can sign up or register an interest. To find out more about “Walking The StillWalks Way”, click the link to view a short presentation.

My Walk this Week continues

Meanwhile, back on my walk this week at Llansteffan Castle in Carmarthenshire, I thought I would start with a photo from the beginning of the walk because the view from the castle allows you to see into the distance, albeit hazy, and of course this is what I have been trying to do with StillWalks – see into the future.

Following on from yesterday’s post, a more detailed look at the stonework of Llansteffan Castle reveals all sorts of fascinating patterns, textures and colours. I’m not sure what is going on in with the surface patterns on the last shot, but it looks as though it may be additional to the actual stone itself.

 

One Day To Go and Well Camouflaged Walls

These walls, seen (or well camouflaged) on my walk at Llansteffan Castle have some fascinating textures and structures but . . .  tomorrow is the day of moving this blog so –

Please read this!

Tomorrow I will be relaunching and relocating the StillWalks website and blog and must ask all followers who wish to continue receiving their daily dose of images and sound from the StillWalks blog, to click the link on Thursday’s post and the following days to relocate with me to the new website.

Thank you to all my existing and new followers.

Along with this relaunch we will be at The Waterside with publisher Management Learning Resources (MLRUK) to promote the new StillWalks package for organisations and individuals. That’s on 7th April from 10 – 12. Details and directions can be found here at The Waterside.

Llansteffan-16

Tunnel of Light and Shade, Pattern and Texture

As I descend from my hill walk this week, this tunnel of light and shade is full of pattern and texture. The light and shade itself creates some great patterns and shapes, but they are also very obviously present in the structure of a mossy wall and the peeling bark of a birch tree.

More images from this walk can be seen on Instagram and/or the StillWalks Facebook page and Twitter.

Goppa-23

My Walk this Week – Hints of Spring

The photos for my walk this week span a few days. I took the same walk each morning for four days and was partly inspired by the first hint of Spring – i.e. sunshine!

It’s another short local hill walk. The hill is fairly small, but steep and rises to about 450 feet. At the bottom my route followed that of the local river with snow drops lining its banks. I was tempted to stop and take some (rare for me) slow exposure shots of the water falling over the weir.

I didn’t have my tripod with me and so most of the shots were discarded. However, there were a few I liked including the underexposed one taken with a faster shutter speed and which shows the patterns and textures in the falling water.

Snow Drops

Working Patterns

Pattern is all around us but sometimes it is more noticeable than others. Earlier on my walk this week I focused on the textures around me. However, it was the patterns that were in my sights for these shots.

You may think that I have an unnatural interest in barbed wire – and you may be right! If you would like to see where this interest comes from, please visit the fibre page on my other website – alastair-duncan.com (There is something weird going on with the home page menu on this site which I will sort out asap).

More images from this walk can be seen on Instagram and/or the StillWalks Facebook page and Twitter.

Swansea Canal-30

The Textures of Swansea Canal

From liquid smooth through crusty and tatty to razor sharp, the range of textures I spotted on my walk along Swansea canal was wide,  to say nothing of the colour and pattern, light and shade that created a natural art exhibition for me.

The water of the canal may have reflected the colour in the sky on this beautiful morning, but it certainly did not reflect the texture of the barbed wire fence round the Mond Nickel Works.

And there was pattern to be seen in the reflection of light from the water under one of the bridges and a very crusty texture on the pipe structures also crossing the canal.

Canal Reflection

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 🙂

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