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DAI'S WALK-AROUND-WALES BLOG - OCTOBER 2018

 

 

It's good to be back walking regularly again and I've cracked  few gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in the last week (of September). I'm not adding all the walks I'm doing at present to the website but am saving the route information and photos on file and the stories from the walks in my head. I'll add these sometime in the future. Meanwhile I'm going to try to add something from at least one walk per week to keep things ticking over.  

 

1 October 2018 - Craig y Llyn ridge sunrise walk

I took a walk on the local ridge to capture a few photos of the Pen-y-Cymoedd wind farm at sunrise. I followed this with walk around the ridge overlooking the lakes of Llyn Fach & Llyn Fawr. A lovely morning stroll before work.

   

 

3 October 2018 - source of the Rhondda Fawr

Parking at Hendre'r Fawr car park on the Rhigos - Treherbert road I followed my nose into the top end of the Rhondda Valley. There was no particular goal in mind except that I wanted to visit somewhere new. I ended up at the source of the Rhondda Fawr which is the river that flows through the main Rhondda Valley (Treherbert, Treorchy, Ton Pentre, Tonypandy etc). This river meets the Rhondda Fach at Porth before joining the River Taff at Pontypridd. I've assumed that the source is when two streams Nant Melyn and Nant Carfoesen meet at a man made pool. They joined to make the Rhondda Fawr and are soon joined by another stream Nant Garreg-lwyd. It was along this stream I walked to reach the source. I joined this stream at an interesting point, where the water joining it was flowing through iron rich rocks which discolour the water. Research has told me that 5% of all underground rocks contain rich iron deposits and that iron is easily dissolved in water. This would explain the frequent sightings of iron polluted water in this area. The photos are not the best, the auto focus on my lens packed up (this had to be replaced) and I was unable to focus properly. 

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7 October 2018 - sunset on Aberavon Beach

Tonight's walk was a miss and hit sunset. We missed the sun, we didn't see it at all despite arriving 30 minutes before sunset and then there was the hit. The higher clouds pinked up beautifully to provide contrasting colours with the low grey clouds. We bumped into Aled early on who was testing out his Stiffy kayak.  

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9 October 2018

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We had a gathering of the terriers for a walk from West Cross to Mumbles Pier & back with a stop off in Verdi's for refuelling.

 

12 October 2018

The weather has been atrocious for the last 24 hours and with the rivers in flood I thought it a good opportunity to take in a few of the local waterfalls. Just as the battery was fading together with the light I bumped into a few kayakers who were paddling the Nedd Fechan and then the Pyrddin. I managed to take a shots of them paddling over Sgwd Gwladys but with moisture my lens and a low light the quality was poor. I was unable to take photos at a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action so I settled on sports mode to get the best shutter speed possible. A good example of the low shutter speed is the paddler at the top of the falls, the background is blurred as is the kayak, not the best panning shot ever but I do like the movement in the photo though.

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15 October 2018

  

You have to take your hat off to the Neath Canal Corporation for this fantastically well choreographed Christmas advert titled 'seven swans are swimming'. With Christmas fast approaching the shops and big companies are pulling out the stops. This line of Swans were swimming along as passed them on the bike on my way to Neath and half hour later they are still going in the same direction in the same straight line. I was disappointed to find eventually once I'd counted them that they weren't in fact an moving advertisement, there were 8 swans, nothing is ever perfect...............

 

18 October 2018 - Craig y Llyn ridge sunrise walk

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Another lovely sunrise as I sipped coffee and relaxed above Llyn Fawr on the Rhigos Mountain. 

 

20 October 2018 - Rhondda pink

19.jpg (179483 bytes) 18.jpg (99971 bytes)  I arranged a walk with my son Dale and grandson Gethin this morning and timed my drive over to their place just before sunrise but decided on an alternate route via the Rhondda because there were more east facing views that way. Good thinking David. A glorious pre-sunrise showing of pink clouds was witnessed. I stopped in Bute Street, Treorchy for some down the high street photos before making my way to the Andy Capp car park for sunrise. Unfortunately this was happening around the corner so I got my legs into action and run about half a mile and just managed to catch the sun half way through its rising.      

21 October 2018

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I went for another sunrise viewing, again in the Rhondda Valley but this time to Blaenrhondda Mountain and on the bike. It took 1 hour 45 minutes from home to the sunrise viewing spot and I arrived smack on sunrise, the angles were not the best and I didn't get much of a shot. The photo is of the sunrise through a Welsh flag, there are several flags on poles and attached to fences in the area which act as memorials for the Rhondda lost. This flag was caught up and tangled with the top of the pole but there was no way I was going up the pole to sort it out on the cliff edge. The ride up and across the mountain was quite interesting with the top of the mountain top covered in cloud. The route passed near the top of Craig-y-Llyn which is a 1500 foot climb from home.

The cloud hugging the mountain above is the one I rode through 2 hours earlier. 

 

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Late morning we took our grand daughter Korra for walk in Afan Argoed while the rest of her family rode their bikes on the rookie trail. One of the things in the National Trusts booklet 50 things to do before you are 11 and three quarters is to catch a falling leaf. his is the first of three I caught on our walk with the sleeping Korra and the also leaf catching Hayley. Only another 49 things to do now before I'm aged 11 and three quarter centuries old.

 

22 October 2018

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The sun rising over the eastern valleys from Pistyll y Graig on Hirwaun Common

 

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Classy positioning by myself for the sun setting behind Mumbles lighthouse. Post sunset I caught this young lad doing tricks on his scooter in the bike park. 

23 October 20183

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Cloud hugging and falling off the Fan Hir ridge with one of the Mynydd-y-glog cairns in the foreground

I took myself off to Mynydd-y-glog for my 4th sunrise walk in a row. Mynydd-y-glog is one of those out of the way peaks. Perhaps that's the reason why there are so many bronze age burial cairns there. These are described in far more detail on the website The Modern Antiquarian . For me this was my third visit to the mountain, the two previous (about 10 years ago) I'd been searching for aircraft crash sites, if my memory is on form there are two. I knew what I was letting myself in for, a path free lumpy zone, not the sort of terrain for a gentle stroll. I ascended out of the village Penderyn about 75 minutes before sunrise and with about 45 minutes pre-sunrise the clouds started pinking up in the distance. The sunrise was a bit of an anti-climax but there were some lovely views of the Brecon Beacons, in particular the Fan Hir ridge which I walked last month. The cloud was hugging the ridge for the majority of its length and seemed to be falling off the edge into Llyn-y-Fan-Fawr. I descended the mountain to the south nosing my way to the Nantmelyn reservoir (highly not recommended) before returning to Penderyn via Hirwaun. There wasn't much of a sunrise due to a cloud bank in the way, just a glow but the views and the experience were worth the outing.

THE STORY OF A SUNSET

The beauty of the sunset never ceases to enthral and amaze me. Some sunsets will live long in the memory and tonight's was one of these. My wife Hayley, and I enjoy walking at sunset on Aberavon Beach, the angle of the seashore is just perfect for enjoying sunsets all year round. This is the story of a super sunset.

    

00q-ss-2018-10-23-886.jpg (144754 bytes) Pre-sunset 15 minutes - We arrived at the beach with 35 minutes to sunset. The tide was in, up to the rocks from the ramp upwards but it was shoes off and stroll at the water's edge from the ramp towards the Ferry Bend. Nothing was happening in the sky apart from a glow behind the clouds where the sun was hiding. With 15 minutes to go the decision was made to take a pre-sunrise photo just in case the sun disappeared for good. Positioning ourselves where the sun drops behind Mumbles lighthouse, we sit, change camera lens and take a couple of photos.
00r-ss-2018-10-23-896.jpg (177754 bytes) Pre-sunset 10 minutes - We hang around for a couple of minutes and then its "Hello", the sun is starting to drop below the clouds, I've seen this happen before and it makes for a cracking sunset.  
00s-ss-2018-10-23-905.jpg (65421 bytes) It's time to try and get the light right for the photos so I start snapping away.
00t-ss-2018-10-23-922.jpg (80310 bytes) The sunset is fantastic with a cloud breaking up the picture to distinguish it from last night's effort. I'm not sure what that is on the left, looks like a yacht of some kind but it's in all the photos so it's definitely not a speck off dust. (note, it was there again on the 27th but had moved by the time the sun was setting so I think it is possibly a yacht)
00u-ss-2018-10-23-934.jpg (161687 bytes) Sunset over we stroll further along the beach, the sea has thrown up a lot of oyster shells and flat pebbles so I entertain myself and Hayley by attempting to skip them over the waves, meanwhile back at sunset HQ the clouds are dramatically turning a creamy colour with the whirls and wisps of the cloud edges emphasised by the changing light. I pick my head up and start to get excited. 
00v-ss-2018-10-23-935.jpg (152951 bytes) I adjust the shutter speed on the camera and the colours are starting to look cheekily red. Hayley and I sit down again to look at the clouds.
00x-ss-2018-10-23-939.jpg (205138 bytes) The clouds are all around and I want the camera to take in everything so I swap lenses and go for my small zoom in and out affair.  
00w-ss-2018-10-23-943.jpg (179998 bytes) Everything is pink, everything is glorious, the wonder of the colours and the definition of the clouds is a sight to behold
00x-ss-2018-10-23-945.jpg (165724 bytes) I just keep snapping away. I need to record these moments, this is the definition of beauty.
00y-ss-2018-10-23-946.jpg (137825 bytes) The pink turns to red, there are no camera or Photoshop tricks here, this is really happening. The bloke behind us is on his mobile phone telling his kids they have to come and see this. I'm not taking his photo, my eyes are only for the sunset.
01-ss-2018-10-23-958.jpg (185894 bytes) Zoom in zoom out, record, 
00z-ss-2018-10-23-958-rider.jpg (204779 bytes) I see Jim Morison's 'Rider's on the storm' in the clouds to the right of this photo and start singing...........

Rider's on the storm......chi chi chi chi ch........... riders on the storm............. ch ch ch ch ch.................... into this house we born, into this world we're thrown...............  Riders on the storm

I get the words wrong and I miss lines but nobody cares especially me, I'm feeling the moment, I'm alive. I need to talk now.............

XXXX I put the camera away and become philosophical for 5 minutes. "We are too busy recording our lives, to live it" I tell Hayley. She nods her head because in times like this, she knows that's the best thing to do. 
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I'm sick of hearing my own voice so I pick up the camera again and ask Hayley to take a photo of me to record that I was here. She declined to have hers taken (I'm not that selfish) so I had one with the iphone too.
00n-ss-2018-10-23-1134.jpg (171368 bytes) We've been rooted to the same spot for the last 20 minutes so as the iphone has now been called into action I take a 'panoramic' photo. All done - we head back to the car, 15 minutes of looking back over our shoulders, the colours are still going on but the camera is away, what next..................
   

 

27 October 2018 - Mynydd Aberdar - last and first sunrise

It was back on the bike again for a new sunrise spot - Mynydd Aberdar, the big hill between Aberdare and Merthyr with the masts on top. First let me explain a bike about the bike. I prefer to cycle rather than drive if I can for three reasons. 1. It's good for your health. 2. It's better for the environment. 3. It saves money. I've cycled for years and years and was quite competitive in my day having represented Wales at cyclo cross and mountain biking. You'll see me briefly on this youtube video with the red top and pink shorts and yellow helmet (just before the guy starts talking)  riding for Wales in the Mountain Bike Tour of Britain in 1996.  

YOUTUBE VIDEO - CLICK HERE

I was on the road at 6.20am for the 7.59 sunrise and it was cold, about 1 degree, windscreens were frosted over and there was a layer of frost on the ground. Why "first and last sunrise"? I decided that this was probably going to be my last sunrise on a bike this winter the minute I rode through the first iced over puddle. I reached my destination with 8 minutes to go and after I'd settled myself and poured a coffee the sun peeked over the hill above Abercanaid with it's friend Mr Lonely Cloud for company.

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If you are now thinking "what's up with this bloke and sunrises and sunsets". My ambition is to see the sun rise & set on every day of the year, with this in mind I've started collecting photographs of the sunrises and sets that I witness. "But you'll never complete it I hear you say. That's 732 sunrises and sets and the sun never doesn't shine every day". Let me tell you why I do these things. The thing is that I realise how difficult a challenge this will be but it's nice to have something to look forward to, something to aim for, this is the reason I do these things, not to complete them but to enjoy the challenge, and to enjoy learning how to take photographs, of the logistical problems associated with the challenge, the people I meet and the beautiful places I visit. The photos I've collected so far can be found on this page.................

SUNRISES & SUNSETS - CLICK HERE  

I make it that I have filled in 88 of the 732 slots so there's quite a way to go yet........ watch this space.

28 October 2018

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With the clocks having gone back last night sunsets are now a late afternoon rather than an early evening affair. One drawback with this timing is that if we are heading to the beach for sunset then not only do we have the sun in eyes for the majority of the journey but we hit rush hour traffic too. I'm not complaining, seeing the sun in the sky is reward enough for the land of the continuous rain cloud. We snapped this pre-sunset photo about 15 minutes before sundown just in case sunset was as predicted, a non-event. This proved to be the case but I do like the sun's rays when they are separated by the clouds.      

 

 

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