Posts Tagged quarry

Some Summer colour in the hills

Whatto!

Well, well, hasn’t it been a busy last few weeks? I hope that you are all well and enjoying the warmer and drier weather. In sunny West Wales the office has been stifling most days but now it’s cooled after some well deserved rain and everything plant wise has received a turbo boost; my girlfriends mother remarked that there was a rogue patch of grass near her summer-house that seemed to grow almost visibly every time she steps over it!

It’s been busy, as I said, so the blog has been on the back burner of late; essentially work is the usual unresolved stress and strain (to remain unspecified) and there have been a few small disasters in the household that have needed me to prioritise. The most long-term of these is the fact that I, by mistake, pretty much destroyed my fish tank that has taken me a number of years to stock to a self-sustaining level.

Thinking I was being a good and responsible owner, I decided to medicate the tank due to seeing a few fish with finrot, a not-so-serious fungus that can be dealt with via a tonic directly into the water. So, in the spirit of “read the directions, even if you don’t follow them” I did all that was asked of me and expected happy fishies. Not so. After the removal of a portion of my filter to allow the tonic to circulate, I came back home and replaced it early, as I would be away for a few days. Said few days elapsed and I came back to an aquatic version of nuclear ground zero…after queries with local pet stores I found that in my haste I had neglected to rinse the parts of the filter I was replacing and, in sitting out of the tank, they had become toxic. In adding them, I basically pumped toxic goo all over the inside of the tank and killed all but one plant and a good 50% of my fish. For the last couple of weeks, I have been scrubbing (literally) and allowing what is left in the tank to rest and recuperate before reintroducing some plants hopefully in the very near future and fish in the medium term. So, onward and upwards there then…

On to the pictures, this is after all why you are here isn’t it? Continuing with the summer theme from last time, I shall start off the pictures with this little guy, supping away at the flowers…a rhodedendron, perhaps? I don’t have green fingers!

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Now, the main cut of the post, a walk along the forestry paths into one of my favourite places, the old Rosebush quarry. As a place, this village did not exist until the slate was quarried in the early nineteenth century and it is rumoured that this was one of the first places in rural south Wales to have piped water, which was sent to the quarry workers cottages. The cottages, although modernised, are still lived in today.

Now, although it looks it, this next picture was not staged, I found this rusty old bit of metal on a stump after the clearance of the trees for timber. I suspect, since researching the area, it may be a piece of something to do with the railway built in the 1870s that facilitated the movement of the slate out of the village to Clynderwen, then on to Narberth and towards Swansea and Cardiff. If you walk and look nearby, or even drive the roads going past, you’ll see parts of leftover bridges, as well as tracks and such making fence stays.

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Deeper in the quarry, you find “The Blue Pool”. Well, it looks blue in certain lights and is as clear as a bell. In this picture, it was a bit windy and cloudy, so it’s not at its best, but you get the idea. However, as a safety conscious bod, I must say that pools like this, although they look nice, are full of hidden dangers…that water is probably freezing and who knows what chemicals are waiting the dirt at the bottom? The only certainty is that you never see any aquatic life in there, bar the odd plant or bit of algae. There must be a reason for that…

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Also, as I saw on this day, the surrounding quarry isn’t all that safe either, as this recent rock slip testifies. That slate is sharp too, just pick a piece up and look. On other days, this Summer in fact, I have seen teens climbing up these cliffs to throw things in to the water. Quick route to a Darwin Award in my eyes…

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Additionally, there is what I refer to as “The Lost World” nearby. This is basically just a hole in the quarry, whether it was a fall or a hole sunk  on purpose, I am not sure but it’s scary feet deep. I wouldn’t even like to guess. I often look over the lip and think to myself what special species of plants and such lie in there, undisturbed, other than by the weather? Probably a few mobile phones too!

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Anyway, I’m a predictable soul, so I’m ending on skyscapes and clouds for your viewing pleasure. In my opinion, not enough people look at sunsets. Schools should teach children about them and the gorgeous colours and what weather you can see or even predict if you are lucky enough. For example, in this gorgeous pinky red (usually about 20-30 minutes after sunset time), you can see both a gravity wave effect on the clouds (the horizontal lines on the clouds mid left) and the remnants of a sun pillar, which is formed when ice crystals hover in the light above the sun in cold air…

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You’re welcome. This other picture, although I chose it predominantly for the colours and the slight pollen corona around the sun just below the horizon, also has gravity waves in it. They are quite common. Next time it’s a bit clearer and you have high, thin clouds above you, take a look, it doesn’t hurt.

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Now you are all scientists. Well done! Maybe next time there will be another lesson? Until then, keep safe and don’t go investigating that hole in Rosebush! It’s dangerous!

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Some Summer skywatching and….groundwatching

Hello everyone,

I know, it’s been a few weeks since I posted but things to do, people to see as they say. At home, things are moving on. Jobs that should have been done months ago have been finished (better late than never) and the clean up after all the high winds over winter has begun. A number of the one tonne builders bags that usual contain sand or bricks have been travelling back and forth full of branches and leaf litter to the local “civic amenity site”…more commonly referred to as “the dump”. I think my father should consider charging for all the stuff he has passed on to be composted!

Had a trip out to look at Newgale beach this afternoon too. Some of you may have seen the BBC news cover this area due to the storms? Well, now it’s all died down, the beach has been massively eroded of sand…apparently some areas as much as 7 years equivalent in a few weeks. At Newgale this means a massive slab of ancient forest floor has been revealed. I have taken pictures and will post them forthwith but if anyone is nearby, it’s worth a trip.

Overall, things are looking greener, the sun is out more and the birds are beginning to nest in the trees outside my window; specifically a pair of magpies who always nest in this one fir tree. Bless. Not long now and they will be screeching at the slightest movement past the back door…you think I’m joking? I can’t wait.

I feel the need to celebrate the passing of a milestone on my bike of pedaling 300 miles. Hurrah! Boy, do my thighs ache. I recently received a very useful piece of equipment from Amazon; a pair of glasses with 5 sets of interchangeable lenses, a hard carry case, cloths, two lanyards and such. Price? A whole £10…from China! Sweet. Can’t beat capitalism 🙂 I know there are those of you reading this who wonder why the heck a cyclist wears glasses when it’s not sunny? Try standing in front of a hairdryer with small suicidal bugs in the airflow and you may understand!

Anyway, enough gibbering about zipping around in my lycra; to the photos. It’s been a while since I have posted pictures of atmospherics on here so, it was a nice coincidence that I have a few sundog pictures that I took last Summer pop up on my archive. The first one here was unusual, as it was a double sundog. To make this more complete, there should have been a halo and another sundog at the 12 o’clock position but not this time…I remain hopeful….

If only the cirrus was above the sun as well this picture would have been much better

If only the cirrus was above the sun as well this picture would have been much better

If you can’t remember what a sundog is, shaaaaaame on you. I’ve explained before when I have posted them over the time I have been blogging. Tsk! Pay attention. A sundog is the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds. These can happen any time of the year but if it’s a cold day in winter and the sky is like this, have a quick glance around the sun in the cirrus clouds for one, I’ve seen them more often in these conditions.

Impressively, one of the sundogs hung around until sunset

Impressively, one of the sundogs hung around until sunset

On to more ground based views now. Around where I live there are quite a few abandoned slate quarries, the most famous of which I think would be the one in the mountains near Rosebush, mainly because more people who walk in the hills see it. The others a dotted about and hidden behind overgrown hedges, as is this one near the hamlet of Scleddau, Fishguard. Ironically, it’s on the main route from the ferry so probably has many times more people pass than the Rosebush one.

Scleddau Quarry, since abandoned and being reclaimed by nature

Scleddau Quarry, since abandoned and being reclaimed by nature

Thankfully this quarry isn’t trying to kill you like the Rosebush site which has deep excavations all over it. You know the kinda hole that if you fall into you wouldn’t get out of? Those. This is very flat and although the walls are steep, quite open. I’m sure you could climb up if you fancy, but you’d most likely fall into a bloody, slate covered heap afterwards as this stuff is SHARP.

Some sprouting plants on the quarry floor...weeds, but pretty and nice to see

Some sprouting plants on the quarry floor…weeds, but pretty and nice to see

You can see how sharp the pieces of slate can be in the close up I took of the pile you saw in the earlier photo. Lovely colour and texture though, it’s no wonder it is in such demand for decorations all over peoples property. The shame is that now most slate comes from China (maybe I should take back my capitalism comment) and the slate industry here is dead and gone, bar a few small-scale quarries that can’t compete.

Almost seems that these have been arranged so you can browse through an buy, but it was actually a rockfall from the main face

Almost seems that these have been arranged so you can browse through and buy, but it was actually a rockfall from the main face

Although the place looks and did look dead to the casual glance, it was encouraging to see that even in the driest of conditions (we were in unofficial drought back then) there is still a little flower that can summon the energy to push on through and inject a little colour into the parched and cracked earth…..

Alas, the sun had gone in when I took this which would have highlighted this little trier

Alas, the sun had gone in when I took this which would have highlighted this little trier

Some of you may remember that the picture I took that won me a place in the Weathernet calendar was similar to this? Taken in the same place and on the same day it was. I’m hoping things pick up and I get a few more opportunities to get out and take more pictures to make it three entries in a row. Any suggestions?

Anyway, that’s me for another post. Hope you enjoyed looking as much as I enjoy wandering and taking the pictures. Have a good week, thanks for dropping in and I hope to see you soon.

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