Posts Tagged nature

Forgotten you again!

Hello All,

Thanks for dropping by on the email you get sent to a spend a couple of minutes hearing me drone on.

Well, it’s been a busy and interesting couple of months for me. To be honest, the less said the better, but in the middle of it all was a three week holiday, so I will use that as my very valid excuse for not posting. I went to the south-western tip of Ireland again…some of you may remember I posted a video of the time I went whale watching in the same area. No? Shame on you! If you wish to have a look, either search my name on YouTube or go to Humpback Whale Awesomeness in my previous posts.

For those who wish to go to the area, I can highly recommend it and will be posting pictures of that area in the near future, as I now have time on my hands to do more regular posts. The first time was gorgeous weather, this time it was less so, but still very enjoyable and there are some lovely vistas to post.

However, I stray from the post I am doing. Now that Autumn is upon us, I though I would keep a few of the Summer pictures coming for a short time to keep us all from seeing too much brown and wet images by looking out the window! In the first instance, just along the way, it pays to look out of the window for those photogenic weather shots as along popped a little back-lit shower…

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I’m quite proud of this. I would put it in the folder marked “might consider getting printed when I have a place to nail it to in the future”. Catchy, huh? Alas, the folder is quite full, so I will need to purchase a stately home! I thought I’d add a slightly after picture too, to point out the lovely glaciation (virga) effect as the little cell collapsed…

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You remember me talking about glaciation? The jellyfish clouds are the most common form of this but in this case, I think what happened is that the top of the cloud suddenly outgrew what could be supported and became a little icy, then just fell down slowly, creating the shower you see above.

Next, a lovely sunny picture to inject a little landscape love! This is one of my favourite views on the Preseli Hills. I know most people climb the road or hike the hills and look south, but I much prefer the view to the north…well, the north-east. Essentially, in the distance from this view-point, you can see all the way to the end of the National Park and you are looking along the line of hills towards Crymch. This side is noticeably more rugged than the south, which is why I like it.

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Also, don’t forget, there is a lot of history here and that adds to the attraction. Pollen analysis suggests that the hills were once forested but the forests had been cleared by the late Bronze age; the hills are dotted with super-aged remains, including evidence of very early settlement…you know, grunting and flint type stuff. It has been mooted that bluestone from the hills is similar or the same as that used to build the inner circle of Stonehenge. Lots of people with beards and letters after their names have argued but seem to have settled on the fact that the stones have come from multiple sources on the northern parts of the hills…the exact way the photo looks.

Further south now, a few colourful pictures from the southern extent of the Park, thankfully not showing the overrated beaches and towns, but the much ignored Blackpool Mill. Again, I have mentioned this before but I like this picture showing the old mill tucked away in the forest…

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Moving in a little closer here, a tiny member of the thistle family in full flower, covered in pollen and waiting for a bee come along and do a swap and continue the line. No proper thistles here and I’m afraid I can’t put my finger on the exact name of this one.

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From bees to wasps. Now, no hatred for the poor wasp. I know they buzz your food and beer on the 3 or 4 days you are able to eat “al fresco” in the UK and that is a pain, but they’re only trying to eat. Anyway, I’m going to big these little blighters up. I mean, check this bad boy out, that’s quite an undertaking for a tiny insect….

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But wasps have a useful purpose. Wasps are predators who hunt and eat almost every pest that harms crops including grasshoppers, aphids and flies. Also, don’t forget, the nest is made of what is basically a wasp super wallpaper…they chew bark or wood up, mix it with saliva and spit it out in a thin rough paper to a high degree of accuracy which is brilliantly efficient at both retaining heat at night or to grow larvae and to cool residents on a hot day. So, even if you hate them, give a little respectful fist bump to a wasp, rather than smacking it with a copy of the Daily Mail….additionally if you do that, it just attracts more as a dead wasp releases pheromones attracting the masses!

In this case, I returned a few days later to see the nest destroyed…I hope the person who did this got a most uncomfortable sting.

To finish, as is usually my favourite thing, a dusk scene. Again, not very far away but hopefully attractive in the way there are lights, darks and silhouettes in the same image…

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Well, thanks again for popping by. No promises on the date of the next blog which will be moving on to a trip to Germany, but I am hoping for sooner rather than later and I may even consider a slight revamp of the set up if I have the option. Groundbreaking stuff! However, I might need to speak with the PC first as it’s beginning to creak a little. Should be fine though. Famous last words…..

Ta-ra for now!!

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The strength of the wind

Hello again,

How are we all? Hope all is well. For all those living locally, are you enjoying the weather? Must admit, I fed up of a constant humidity and 80F but things look to be on the turn. Took some lovely scuddy cloud pictures last night…I was sure there was going to be an electrical storm any second it was so still and heavy, but no. Darn.

Anyway, you may recall that the end of the last blog I was going to post some images of an area I walk to on occasion that I visited after a windy night. I have taken pictures of the area before this but do you think I can find them? I think you will have to bear with me on this one and I shall describe things as best I can. The area was full of leafless but mature large trees the last time I visited…you might be able to gain an impression from the second image of the trees in the distance.

As I climbed over the style there was a heck of a mess to greet me, as a load of the trees that once were standing have now fallen. The first images I took were these two…I must admit this was a great shame to me as this tree, when it stood, had a great silhouette as you might be able to tell.

This tree must have made an almighty snapping sound when it fell over

This tree must have made an almighty snapping sound when it fell over

A second image from the other end of this tree showing the fact there is not a root system to be seen, so it didn't really have a chance in the wind

A second image from the other end of this tree showing the fact there is not a root system to be seen, so it didn’t really have a chance in the wind

However, once you look around at the other trees hat are still standing (just) you realise that it’s not going to be all that long until pretty much all of them may be lying flat as they are rotten and heavily damaged. By what and why I couldn’t say but I thought the image below gave a good impression of the state of the copse. I suspect the best way to describe the trees is “weather-beaten”.

I remember a Simpsons quote "chicks dig scars"...I bet this tree gets all the girls!

I remember a Simpsons quote “chicks dig scars”…I bet this tree gets all the girls!

Moving around, there was an awful lot more evidence of weak trees. In one instance, there was enough room for me to put a fair portion of my upper body into the lower part of one tree and take this image looking up towards the canopy! Some lovely colour and light in here but it felt a little wrong, as I was aware that this void should be full of wood.

Looking up to the canopy through a natural wooden chimney....

Looking up to the canopy through a natural wooden chimney….

Anyway, seeing I have depressed you all with pictures of tree death (even though it is, in a strange way, aesthetically pleasing) I thought I best finish off with a nice Spring picture of some lovely Primroses that appear on our bank every year which came out pretty well.

Less death and destruction, more prettiness! Some Primroses in the Spring sunshine

Less death and destruction, more prettiness! Some Primroses in the Spring sunshine

Sorry, quite a short one this week, but I have a week off so am spending time doing not all that much. I may even have the very first opportunity to wash my car after the stupid hot weather that mean it’s covered in flies and dust at the minute. I shall no doubt post again at some point, but again, feel free to comment and/or request if you wish…I think my next port of call was Llys-Y-Fran reservoir  on a sunny day, so you have that to look forward to.

See you soon….

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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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