Archive for January, 2013

A Coastal Path walk and some weather..

Hello everyone,

Well, well. I had 36 views the other week, I reckon that’s a record for me, although I note with some sadness that nobody wants to “follow” me, which is a shame because the updates are ummm, fairly regular at the moment. However, I am due to be working out of Aberystwyth for a bit so, it may be a week or so until the next one.

It’s raining here now after some recent snow, so I though I’d quickly post a few pictures I took when walking the Coastal Path near Newgale when the weather was somewhat sunnier. It’s my fave beach for a number of reasons, mainly the easy access and oodles of room to park (without using the pay and display machines which I use every day at work, so I’ll be damned if I do it at the weekend too) as well as the acres of room at low tide for beachcombing. The beach faces directly west too, so it was one of the first I went to and took sunset pictures from when I moved here and it’s a nice drive as well to be honest.

Anyway, moving on, this are a couple of pictures from the beginning of the walk where it is a touch up and down so those with weak knees need not apply.

On the way up from Newgale looking over some of the lovely beaches that Pembrokeshire has to offer

On the way up from Newgale looking over some of the lovely beaches that Pembrokeshire has to offer

I must admit, the dead ferns and bracken in the foreground worked quite well when taking these pictures. As you walk along, there are a number of steep drops down to lovely little beaches that would have no footprints on and are very tempting prospects to climb down to. Mind you, I wouldn’t give much for your chances once the tide came in, as the rocks may knock you about a bit; possibly to the point of a good list of broken bones and a free helicopter ride.

On my way back from my turning point, the sun was still out, so I took a shot of the entire beachfront

On my way back from my turning point, the sun was still out, so I took a shot of the entire beachfront

A couple of weeks later and the weather had got back to the usual with little showers and squalls travelling in from the hills and the sea. I know I complain about the weather, but the pictures I get are pretty awesome and these were some of my favourites, actually both were taken on the same day too so it just goes to show how quickly the cloudscape changes.

A very photogenic squall over the house. If you look closely it's almost green at the bottom left corner

A very photogenic squall over the house. If you look closely it’s almost green at the bottom left corner

Now, I do need to make two apologies here; firstly, I did promise I would post my best storm picture ever to a couple of people. I haven’t, as I felt I should take the pictures I wanted off the older card first. As the storm is a more recent image, I will do them shortly.

Secondly, I do say that I don’t manipulate images on here, but with these last two I have as, mainly due to my lack of skill, the exposure was a bit pants and the finished image was a teeny bit blocky. I noticed early, so they had a very useful tool set upon them…thank you Corel Photoshop for the Digital Noise Reducer Tool. I know that it may be a cheat but believe me, you would have noticed the difference and the images here look so much better for it.

A lovely little cell of rain travelling along the Preseli Hills about 30 miles from where I live

A lovely little cell of rain travelling along the Preseli Hills about 30 miles from where I live

Well, that about covers that memory card for this post so, next time I’m onto a new card and then will be revisiting the old one as I see fit or remember the stories associated. Hope you enjoy this weeks lot and also hope to see you soon!

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A few weather photos for a change

Hello everyone…well, the 3 or 4 people I know who look regularly!

I thought that the castles and such would be wearing a little thin in my posts now so I am opting to intersperse a few of my recent weather photos into the mix, just to keep things a bit interesting. Obviously if weather doesn’t interest you, then this will be boring, but I hope that I have managed to get a good cross-section here.

If any of you know or remember where I live as I have mentioned it before, you may realise that we have a bit of snow at the minute. Alas, the amounts aren’t fantastic so no pictures I’m afraid..the large falls have happened further east of me and I’m not making a special journey, seeing no-one seems to know how to drive in snow in the British Isles. By the way, if that Polo driver who followed me to work is reading this, I’d recommend a bit more that 3 feet between my bumper and your car when driving in snow and sleet. Eeejit.

Anyway, moving along to more pleasurable things. Piccies. Firstly, they are in no particular order, just the order I chose them in. The first picture is of the regular autumnal squalls we get here. I can get myself ready to take pictures as you can see them coming from the coast or the hills and they are quite spectacular.

A squall with a touch of a rainbow in it. Looks nice as long as you aren't under it!

A squall with a touch of a rainbow in it. Looks nice as long as you aren’t under it!

Secondly, my favourite thing to take pictures of, apart from storms and such. A nice pink sunset. This didn’t look like much at first but I found a new vantage point and managed to get a nice line of silhouette from the trees. If you look closely to the right, you can even see some shadow from the sun on the clouds themselves, which is a nice little touch that I didn’t see when I took the image 🙂

A high, pink cloud deck over Milford Haven

A high, pink cloud deck over Milford Haven

Next, an image I couldn’t not take, although I was caught out by the fact I was inside the house on the PC at the time, hence the lack of foreground and composure. These are some pretty high clouds (a type of cirrus per chance?) caught by a setting sun that look like brush strokes in the sky. I don’t see this very often but when I do, I think it’s lovely. It got pinker but I screwed up my shutter speed and they came out too dark so I’m not posting them!!

I imagine if I were going to attempt to sell this kind of picture, I would entitle it "Brush Strokes"

I imagine if I were going to attempt to sell this kind of picture, I would entitle it “Brush Strokes”

Talking of cloud shadows as I was earlier, this is one of the best I have seen for a while. A number of things just came together at the same time I would guess…a storm to the west with some pretty awesome clouds and colour, sunset and the sun at just the right angle shining through the gap. And there was also me standing waiting in the middle of a field too; man, it was cold that day. Never mind….got a good picture!

Sometimes, the timing of taking a picture can be just right...

Sometimes, the timing of taking a picture can be just right…

Lastly, a regular wintry icy sky sunset for you taken from the fields out the back of the village. These are quite a common occurence around here when the sun is actually out this time of year…something which hasn’t happened for a while around my neck of the woods!

If there had been a little more of the ice somewhat high this would have created an ice pillar. Bummer :(

If there had been a little more of the ice somewhat high this would have created an ice pillar. Bummer 😦

Mind you, things seem to be settling down now. Once the BBC decide that the country isn’t going to go into complete meltdown for a half-inch or so of snow, it will start warming up and things will be back to normal. I’m planning a hike up the Carmarthenshire Fan to get some nice geologically themed landscapes for you all when the weather is better (for better, read warmer as I’m quite thin and need my heat if only just in single figures!)

Well, that’s me for the time being. See you in a week or so for another post of what I do not yet know. TTFN!

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Just a quick walk to Llanthony Priory….or so I thought

Hello All,

Continuing the theme of following my not so recent holiday, here’s the next day that is worth mentioning, a walk I took over the start of the Black Mountains (not to be confused with the Black Mountain, still in Wales but some miles back and a singular peak as opposed to a collection, still yet to be traversed by me) to a little village called Llanthony where there’s the ruins of a Priory. Booooring…more history, I hear you all say but feel free to take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanthony_Priory if you fancy.

Pshaw! You need to be interested in your surroundings but if there is one lesson you should learn from this post it is take the proper map. I had furnished myself with an Ordnance Survey the week before but, little did I know that detailed though it was, it was a Tour map and wasn’t as detailed as I needed it to be. However, at this stage and after parking the wheels, I ventured on my way. Ignorance is bliss so they say. First hiccup that had me furrowing my brow was the lack of signage for the Offa’s Dyke Path (which is what I was to follow for the day) but I found a likely candidate eventually and was immediately underwhelmed as to the path which looked a touch overgrown. Never mind, I carried on distracted by views such as this…..

A green and pleasant land indeed

A green and pleasant land indeed

Eventually, I grew mildly perturbed at the lack of signs. Out with the map. Ah, this isn’t the right one. Whilst it was fine for me to zip around in my motor, it was woefully inadequate for walking. Woops. Never mind I thought, I’m heading up, I just continue to climb surely. How hard could that be? Quite hard, it turned out but as luck would have it, I passed a Duke of Edinburgh group on the same path so I figured I couldn’t be far off the right bit. This was tempered by then being assailed by the group tutor or whatever he was running up to me and asking if I had seen a group of youngsters pass by; “Why, yes, I have” I replied, “Oh God, they’re going the wrong way!” he shouted as he ran off. Oh, maybe this is the wrong path. I was sure I could find a route up from here so I kept going and, more luck, arrived at the place the DofE guys had parked up and one was stood there….with the right map! Sweeet. So, after a quick chat (where I discovered he was a Kiwi when he then warmed to me as most people though he was an Aussie) and much finger pointing, I knew I was heading in the right direction.

Looking back towards the English border

Looking back towards the English border

Man alive, this walking business was hard work but the views, as you see, were well worth it. After my quick stop at the top of the bluff, I continued on. The path was well-worn by this stage so no more navigation issues…apart from keeping an acceptable distance behind some noisy DofE teenagers. Lunch stop was along the ridge in a hollow slate cairn of sorts I found which sheltered me from the wind somewhat.

A very nice place to stop and have a rest atop the bluff

A very nice place to stop and have a rest atop the bluff

Not sure if it was a modern one but it had a fair bit of lichen on it so I though it was at least a few years old. So, down with my salad, tortilla chips and squash (thanks again Lidl) and I was greeted with a lovely view down into the village of Llanthony in its textbook glacial valley. Nice.

Looking down into the valley; you may just be able to see Llanthony

Looking down into the valley; you may just be able to see Llanthony

Along the ridge I wandered, the gap between the teens and myself was now so large I could no longer hear then shrieking about One Direction or whatever so I was happy just to stand and absorb the view before heading down the (very muddy) path towards the ruin. This took some doing I tell you, there were bits you proper had to jump and climb over rocks and the clouds were getting greyer so there was an added pressure. because I had put away the camera to stop it swinging and possible damage, I then missed the RAF Tornado that flew into the valley below me. Awesome! Those guys don’t half have some fun. I dare say it would have been a terrible blurry shot but I kicked myself for that. Never mind.

Descending towards the ruins. The path looks fine here, but it got worse!

Descending towards the ruins. The path looks fine here, but it got worse!

It wasn’t too long before I emerged from the path to a clearing and saw the signs to the Priory. Firstly I had to navigate the collapsed teens at the gate who seemingly aren’t used to any exercise save for their thumbs when they are on their iPhones, but came out of the forest to see my destination ahead…..

A very picturesque Llathony Priory, thanks to the horses!

A very picturesque Llanthony Priory, thanks to the horses!

Having eaten and drunk but pretty much burnt off the calories somersaulting down the trail, I was gagging for a cuppa at the very least. Alas, when I got there, the blooming cafe was closed due to season. Bloody hell! I can’t understand why the tourist season is so rigid…well, I can, it’s all about money and running costs but come on, a little buffer would be good for us who need to avoid school holidays! Mind you, the manicured grounds and the fact I didn’t have to pay for a ticket to wander was a plus.

The view into the nave of the Priory. Impressive, Mr Bond

The view into the nave of the Priory. Impressive, Mr Bond

Seems the DofE lot were camped here as they all rolled down the hills (literally in a couple of instances) breaking the silence about 20 minutes after me. Lucky beggars, I still had to walk to the car but it was only a short way…..or at least I though until I saw the “not to scale” on my second-rate map. Took me over an hour to get back and it started to rain on me!! Never mind, it was a lovely day and I got the views at the best part of the day. Next time, it’s an OS Landranger map all the way.

Next week. Maybe a bit of weather. Haven’t post weather here for ages, so a break from my travels for a change. Ta-ra!

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The Wye Valley

I am aware of the fact that it is New Years Day for anyone wondering why I am popping this post on today. Thing is, I am back to work tomorrow then away for the weekend so it’s now or never really!

As mentioned before, this post is moving on through the holiday where I took a jaunt into the Wye Valley. It was a lovely drive in as you can see below with some autumnal colour in the trees and this drive is famous for being the only place I have seen that has a warning sign making me aware of the fact that the trees are so close to the road that the canopy changes in height during wet weather. If it wasn’t on the main road and I wasn’t in traffic, I would have stopped and taken a snap…can’t think there are many of those about.

The drive into the valley...mind that mad canopy everyone!

The drive into the valley…mind that mad canopy everyone!

Anyway, nerdiness sign spotting aside, it was a fine view both sides as you can see, just such a shame I had to concentrate on the road and traffic! This area as a whole is actually designated as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty); apparently this extends to the village, but I couldn’t quite see that myself.

The Wye River

The Wye River

The aim of my journey was to get to Tintern Abbey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintern) on the banks of the Wye River. If you have clicked the link and looked through the Wikipedia entry, you can skip this next bit, but for those who haven’t, it’s a lovely ruin of an Abbey dating from the 12th century.

My first task was to find where the heck the path was to hike up to “The Devils Pulpit” (jarring chord). I found it eventually and realised that most of the other visitors had as well as it was well worn and I nearly broke my ankles in some of the ruts and climbing over the worn rocks near the top. I’ve climbed a volcano and a couple of mountains and this was the hardest climb I’ve done for a while…I was panting good and proper by the end! Anyway, here it is, the view from “The Devil’s Pulpit” (jarring chord). Come to think of it, I did take the right track didn’t I?!

I never did find The Devil up here

I never did find The Devil up here but I could see my bright red car (you might be able to as well, it’s just right of the third house on the river bend, in a long lay-by)

Legend has is that the Devil himself sat here overlooking the Abbey and tried to coax the monks from there. He must have given up on the village some time back, as it was very quiet when I got there. That is until a group of nigh-on a dozen walkers desecended on the look-out for their lunch break, quite rudely breaking the silence! I asked a passing dog walker if there were any other viewpoints to which he replied yes and directed me to, so I could at least get my breath back in peace!

Once I had recovered and the breeze had cooled me sufficiently, I headed back down the hill which was arguably more awkward than the climb up, thanks to gravity. I got there in one piece, had a quick lunch stop in the cafe next door and then paid my few pounds to tour the Abbey.

A view from inside the Abbey

A view from inside the Abbey

Don’t ask where the pictures are of, I just snapped away at the most attractive bits in between the visiting school parties. I did like that when you paid, you could walk all over the grounds though, so I got some good shots I thought all in all.

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

This was my parting picture as the sun started to disappear behind the side of the valley and fully illuminated the entire ruin. I then wandered back to my car and stopped in at Lidls near Hereford for my evening meal 🙂

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

Overall a lovely day, if a little exhausting in the first instance. However, little did I know that more pain was to come when I decided to go to the Black Mountains and didn’t quite envisage the length of the route all that well because I kind of took the wrong map…but that’ll be the next post.

See you soon! Oh, and Happy New Year.

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