My Walk this Week – Along the Canal

Since visiting various sections of Swansea Canal a couple of years ago, I have meant to return to the section which runs through Clydach, just a few miles from Swansea in South Wales. Finally getting a convenient opportunity, I took one of my cameras and my small recorder and though of my walk as a recce for a StillWalks production in the future.

My walk this week illustrates this recce walk – where necessary I used my iPhone with its wider angle lens.

The walk starts by the canal where it meets a loop of the River Tawe. However, the first shot below shows the water of the canal flowing into the Clydach river before it joins the Tawe on the other side of the canal and flows on down to Swansea.

Swansea Canal falling into Clydach River

Swansea Canal and River Tawe

Swansea Canal

My Walk this Week – Winter Times Past

This week I am looking back at a production walk I have presented before, which means you may recognise the photos I post this week. I’m not simply reusing the posts I wrote back then, but using new words with the photos to describe my memories of the walk.

This Winter we have had no snow to speak of at all – the five minute dusting I ran into on top of Graig Fawr on last weeks walk was the sum total of the snow we have had in our immediate vicinity this year. So before we fully engage with Spring and while the temperatures are still low, I thought it would be timely to take a look at what I think of as a proper winter walk.

Lliw Lower Reservoir is a popular place for people visit for a few different walks, all of which, naturally, circumnavigate either the lower reservoir or extend to the upper reservoir. My walk this week took me round the lower one where the footpath is tarmac on the eastern side and then a muddy narrow track back down the western side. However, none of those surfaces can be seen on this walk as the snow and ice were lying thick from start to finish.

Lliw Lower Reservoir

Lliw Lower Reservoir

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

The Waterside and Reviewing the Week 56

Heading home from my day at The Waterside, I was surprised and delighted to be driving across the Welsh hills and into a fantastic sunset. The colour, light and shade typified the mixed weather from the start of the day to the end.

The soundscape below may not fit perfectly with the sequence of photos if you listen and view them at the same time, but it is not meant to be StillWalks video but hopefully it will help to give you a better sense of that beautiful, secluded South Wales valley.

The Waterside-27

The Waterside Soundscape

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

From Calmness to Turbulence

Approaching the southern end of the lake on my walk around the valley at The Waterside, the sound and atmosphere changed from peaceful and calm to turbulent and vigorous.  Before reaching the rapids of water flowing into a tunnel, I could hear it in the background – in fact the sound of the rushing water had been noticeable for some time. However, the volume rose dramatically as I stood directly over the crashing deluge.

There is an aspect of acoustics in my perception of the volume of sound in this place. I cannot imagine what Niagara or Victoria Falls sound like but the environmental space at this point at The Waterside is much more enclosed than that at Niagara or Victoria and so, as there is inevitably more reflection of sound, it may be that the perceived difference in volume is (slightly) affected by this. However, I wouldn’t dream of comparing one with the other as the scale difference is astronomical.

Today (Friday) StillWalks is at The Waterside running presentations  about the StillWalks package for businesses and organisations. If anyone is interested in coming along to one of these in the future, First Fridays are currently regular open days at The Waterside, please check out the website above and contact us in advance.

Old Gate

Rapid water

water entering tunnel

Looking Down at the Sky

When I drove over to The Waterside – Felindre I had an expectation of taking this walk, but on arrival it was pouring rain. I thought, “I must get my recording kit out and capture the sound of the rain on the cabin decking and the lake surface“. However, by the time I was set up and ready to go outdoors, the rain stopped! Strangely, it did not rain again that day.

There were clouds in the sky as can be seen in the images below, but it was also quiet and calm, at least from time to time, and so the surface of the water was unbroken by anything other than very gentle ripples.

That is one of the exciting things about The Waterside – the weather being unpredictable means that the views and the sounds, the whole atmosphere of this small, South Wales valley, can change constantly throughout a day. Having the optional warmth of the log burner in the comfort of the cabin means that you can always view the scene from a dry place. But if you have come equipped for wet weather (as we must do in this part of the world), then the rain need not stop you enjoying everything else the valley offers.

Tomorrow (Friday) StillWalks will be at The Waterside running presentations  about the StillWalks package for businesses and organisations. If anyone is interested in coming along to this regular open day at The Waterside, please check out the website above and contact us in advance.

sky reflection

Peace at The Waterside

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

Crossing the Bridge

There are many different aspects to the valley in which The Waterside – Felindre is situated. My walk this week is only around the lake and today’s post takes us across the footbridge at the northern end. Listening to the sound clip below, I like the layering of the sound of my footsteps on the wooden bridge with the different aspects of sound from the water as I approach, cross and then walk away from the bridge.

The woodland on one of the steep sides to this valley and more open fields on the other give the place an intimate, peaceful feel – a perfect place to relax and enjoy the facilities and hospitality of Sue and Steve Heatherington who run both The Waterside and Welsh Valley Alpacas.

My photos today are looking at one or two of the details of the lakeside.

On Friday this week (5th Feb) StillWalks will be at The Waterside running presentations  about the StillWalks package for businesses and organisations. If anyone is interested in coming along to this regular open day at The Waterside, please check out the website above and contact us in advance.

The Waterside footbridge

Crossing the Footbridge

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

 

Colour and a Ghostly Light

The colour in these night lights and their reflections in the water of Hemlington lake is clear, but whatever colour may be in the branch below as it stretches into the night under a desaturating street lamp, is lost almost entirely – I find it quite ghostly.

urban light reflections

branches in night light

Light and Dark

The view of and colours in the night sky over Middlesbrough changed as I walked around the other, unlit side of Hemlington Lake. The shapes and silhouettes of trees enhanced the reflected colour on the clouds and proved there was light to be seen. However, the footpath on this side of the lake was very dark and it was only because I know the path well that I had no problems seeing where I should walk.

As I came round this side of the lake I disturbed some of the birds roosting in the vegetation at the lake side. So at this point in my night walk, there was a little more sound than perhaps there should have been.

Night Birds

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

trees at night

trees and night sky

night sky and lake

Reflections and Colour in the Sky

Such as it is, the colour in the sky on this night walk round Hemlington Lake is a reflection of the urban lights in Middlesbrough. Despite travelling north east for the new year, the weather didn’t improve much for us and so the street lamps had plenty of cloud cover to reflect their yellow-orange glow.

It didn’t actually rain much on me during this walk and I really enjoyed the subdued colours, the silhouettes of trees and the night sounds of coots on the water.

lake at night

footpath and lake at night

trees at night