My Walk this Week 240 – Forest Morning

My walk this week starts in the early morning with the setting moon and the sun rising over the landscape before climbing up through a local forest.

It was my last walk of 2020 and cold! The mist over the winding River Loughor in the valley was very atmospheric and I was in awe (yet again) at the beauty of my surroundings.

It was a very good walk with which to end the year, allowing me not only to enjoy the landscape but also to escape from the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown. The coniferous section of the woodland has been harvested but I am familiar with that now and even in the middle of Winter can see the changes with a more positive eye.

The pleasure I get from a sunrise or open landscape is equalled by my enjoyment of thick moss in a more enclosed forest environment. A sunrise or sunset is always beautiful, but moss is such fun – I cannot help but smile when I see it in such abundance.

Llyn Llech Owain

My Walk this Week 239 – Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my StillWalks® followers and visitors. My walk this week is a hopeful one that takes you out of the woods and into the open.

The sound track for this short video was not going to be as it is. When recording the short clip in the woods at Llyn Llech Owain a helicopter flew overhead (as you can hear) – this prompted me to record a separate sound clip after it had passed.

However, it occurred to me that the helicopter might be considered symbolic of the past year in that it was likely to be an emergency flight taking someone to hospital. I doubt very much that we are out of the woods yet with the coronavirus. Even with the vaccine it will take time to immunise the population and we need to keep our fingers crossed that the vaccine will do the trick.

So out of the woods and into the open . . . Llyn Llech Owain is a local country park on one of those currently rare bright cold days, we and other families carefully kept socially distanced as we enjoyed the sounds of the geese on the lake, the peace of no traffic in the background, and the moon rising as the sun set (at the end of the video in the top left corner). 

looking out

My Walk this Week 238 – Urban Lakeside

My walk this week is around an urban lakeside in a brief window of it not raining.

The clouds were threatening, or perhaps I should say promising, to rain – and of course they kept their promise, but not until after my walk.

I was going to say something here about Fendrod Lake in Swansea’s Enterprise Park, but hopefully the video and soundscape above and the images below will give all the information about the value of a place like this in an urban landscape.

It has certainly been valuable to me at this time of tier 4 Covid-19 lockdown just before Christmas. This time at the end of this year is very different to the norm and I am increasingly wondering if the whole thing is a natural warning to us from the planet to wise up and stop being so selfish. An attempt to get through to all of us that we are just a small part of the entire ecosystem and universe. It will be ourselves that we destroy, not the planet, if we carry on disregarding the myriad interconnections we have with all else on Earth and the cosmos. We affect everything and everything affects us. No matter how small or large, our actions individually and collectively have consequences and we had better take note.

OK, that’s the lecture finished – see and hear the sights and sounds both here and around you and enjoy the end of this year as much as you can.

Burry Inlet

My Walk this Week 236 – Coastal Path

My walk this week shows a small section of the coastal path along the Loughor Estuary and Burry Inlet in South Wales.

The soundscape for the still image video above was recorded separately and apart from trimming, I have done very little work on it. My walk started in a semi-industrial area where you can here the sounds of machinery as well as traffic. The traffic never disappears but does fade a little as the path approaches the edges of the estuary.

It was a bitterly cold morning as can be seen in the images below and my hands felt like they were going to drop off as I recorded and photographed the scene.

The quality of light excited me. Where there is a wide expanse of still water and a relatively even light in the sky, the two reflect and bounce off each other, creating subtle changes of colour and luminance that you do not see when the surface of the water is more broken or choppy. Or indeed, when the sky is more broken in its textures and with higher contrast in its areas of light and shade.

trees in sunlight

My Walk this Week 234 – The Park Through My Viewfinder

My walk this week looks through my viewfinder at our local park and its pond – Coedbach Park. Coed = wood and Bach = little, so Little Wood Park.

The video above of the pond and the images below were all taken on my DSLR, my “proper” camera, rather than my iPhone which I have used so often lately for my posts. I may have expressed some frustration with the iPhone images but I wouldn’t complain about the quality of the video it takes. The audio was recorded separately on my Zoom H5N recorder.

It was a walk taken at an opportune moment during a busy week when the sun was a rare sight. One advantage of working from home (for many more of us now) is that you can often be flexible with the hours you put in. I would argue that it is important both for yourself and your employer (if you have one) that the health benefits of taking a break for a short walk round your local park, or even just around your garden (again, if you have one), are such that it is invaluable to all – yourself, the people you work for, the people around you. everyone in fact.

I wonder if there is any chance in the future, in the “new normal” as it is being called, that a recognition of the benefits to be gained from activities such as this will become a strategic part of business models and company operations. We can always hope!

Mumbles lighthouse

My Walk this Week 233 – The Sea The Sea

On my walk this week I was mesmerised by the susurration of the sea, the sea. It was the light and colour that really caught my eye, but when looking at its gentle, repetitive movements and listening to its rhythmical shush and liquid intricacies I couldn’t help but be enamoured of the full expanse of Swansea Bay at high tide.

Still using my iPhone I am frustrated by the effect even a slight breeze has on its microphones – but the distortion in the audio in this video is not what is in my memory.

Being in Mumbles to run an errand with my daughter (Hannah Duncan Creations), we took the opportunity to walk along the seafront to the pier. The sunlight caught the outcrops of rock, made islands by the high tide, on which the lighthouse is built and the sharp edge made me think of the shot of Catalina Apple used for the operating system of that name. Looking at that system image afterwards, I was less convinced of any similarity.

I only took a few photographs and short video clips but the walk was a very enjoyable and welcome break from the darkness the seemingly interminable rain brings. It’s not so much the rain I dislike as the lack of light that comes with it.

early evening sunlight

My Walk this Week 231 – Going With the Flow

My walk this week is necessarily another local one and is going with the flow in more ways than one.

The literal flow is in the Afon Camffrwd, a small local river swollen somewhat by the recent rains. A more existential flow is about me taking the walk in the first place.

Near the end of another day of regular showers the need to get out and calm my mind, exercise my body and enjoy my surroundings was obvious to me. We have to accept and deal with the current pandemic situation as best we can. While I am able to continue my work in tapestry weaving and sound as a result of a stabilisation grant from the Arts Council of Wales National Lottery Good Causes fund, I am still affected, along with everyone else, by the Covid-19 lockdown and the restrictions that go with it. It is a strange and unsettling experience for us all.

Again the soundscape for this walk is in the form of a short video, but there are some more details from my walk in the images below.

 

 

Reflected weather

My Walk this Week 230 – Disregarding the Weather

My walk this week is through my local Coedbach Park and I was disregarding the weather as I set out. Autumn has typically mixed weather but regardless of this, my head as well as my body needs to get out for a walk as regularly as possible.

So when the sun came out around lunchtime I thought Aha! This is a good opportunity for a walk. Of course by the time I had changed my shoes and got a coat on, the sky was darkening again, but I didn’t let that put me off and carried on out the door.

I reached the park before the first drops fell and fortunately I had brought an umbrella but even so I felt it advisable to stand under a tree and wait.

In the short video above, which also acts as my soundscape for this week, I start out in the oak woods where the magnificent trees, undergrowth and footpaths do the best job of calming any turmoil I may be feeling inside. The stress and mental congestion that is there for any number of reasons, but not least our current Covid-19 lockdown and all that goes with that, is handled admirably by nature and the elements, even the rain.

And after the rain comes the sunlight and as I wandered on down towards the salt marshes, the River Loughor was at just the right level to provide me with a beautiful reflection of the sky as the sun pushed through aa little gap in the clouds.