June 2015

29th June 2015
So it's the start of June in Aberystwyth. What do you expect - a storm? If you peek long enough at the picture, you'll notice a police car that's ventured a wee bit too close to the action.

Any (police)car in a storm

You don't expect heavy weather to persist very long in June, and thankfully things brightened up quite considerably, allowing me to get this fairly nice shot of the river Leri for the local community paper - Y Tincer, in which I've had a monthly slot for quite a while now.

The power boat that's just heading out, appeared to speed up and down and around the Dyfi Estuary a little later, towing a rubber hoop of some sort. Forgive me if I am wrong. It was a sight I'd imagined taking place somewhere on the Costas, rather than tranquil Aberdyfi, home to wading and nesting birds.

Leri Boatyard

Thankfully there were no raucous distractions as the sun set over the coast path near Clarach, just the gentle rustling of the thrift and the swoosh of waves as they tickled the rocks below.


If you take the mountain road (only for those who are ace at reversing) towards Cwm Maethlon (I can't bear to use the silly English translation, sorry!), you'll see this ruin. Someone once suggested to me that it had been burnt down by 'Meibion Glyndŵr'. Can this be true? If you know of it's history, please leave a message at the end of this post.

Cwm Maethlon

By the time I reached Tywyn it was boiling hot, and I took refuge from the heat in the delightful church. Here you'll find one of the earliest surviving examples of Welsh, a memorial hewn into a pillar of rock.

'Tengru, dear and legal wife of Adgan. Pain endures [following the loss].

Cin [Cun] wife of Celen between Budd and Marciau'

Tywyn church

As by now I had failed to find wherever it was that I'd half intended to visit, I continued towards Craig yr Aderyn (Bird's Rock). An even narrower road!

Bird's Rock (Craig yr Aderyn)

The rock is popular with climbers, but access to the western side is denied between 1 April and 31 July, to protect the habitat of the chough, which nest there.

They're a bit too far to make out, but I suspect that these are some of the choughs returning to their nests. They were almost as noisy as a speedboat.

Chough (Brain Coesgoch)

I shouldn't have lingered so long, as dark clouds began to overtake me as I neared Bere Castle (Castell y Bere)

It would have been silly not to go the extra mile and investigate Llanfihangel y Pennant church.

Llanfihangel y Pennant

Mari Jones exhibition in the vestry - a little TLC needed I think.

Onwards and upwards towards Talyllyn, via Abergynolwyn, where I met a very nice local character - mental note to visit again and take the train around the lake).

Talyllyn / Tynycornel

I think my body was aching for chips as I reached Machynlleth, however I gathered all my resolve and just stopped at the Plas to snap the Owain Glyndŵr memorial. There were parents and children outside the community centre, all munching away, so it was quite hard to ignore the 'food vibes' and climb straight back into the car and head for home.

I feel strangely close to old Owain by now, after travelling around his final haunts with Prof. Gruffydd Aled Williams (book out shortly, and a radio programme. Watch this space for news!)

Owain Glyndŵr

For some reason (a chair and a dress), Marian and I have found ourselves in Llanidloes several times lately. While wandering around the back streets (there aren't many!) I noticed this beautiful street, whose name takes one back to the time that Llanidloes was a thriving industrial town, and everything probably didn't shut down at four on a Saturday afternoon.

Foundry Terrace

Davies family of Llandinam. Bethel Hall.

On the journey back, I noticed this planning notice at Dylife Gorge.
I do hope that the proposed wind turbine won't be too prominent, as this is a particularly beautiful, and geologically important place.

Dylife Gorge

There's a long tradition of bad graffiti on the Wynford Vaughan Thomas lookout/memorial (on the road between Dylife and Machynlleth). Despite a total restoration, the scratchers have been busy yet again. Many of the old 'marks' used to be "political", but nowadays it's just rather pathetic and totally lacking in purpose and humour.


Anyway, I had imagined an 'unusual' sunset picture, and on a glorious evening I set off to make the picture. My imagination had worked well, and if I was a 30 foot giant, I may, just may, have got the best sunset picture ever. In the meantime, while I wait for the world to shrink, or me to grow, this 'fairy sunset through the spooky wood' will have to do.

Forest sunset

I got a very, very full day of work which involved a lot of driving. I decided to set out the evening before the shoot, and took this picture of a place I've passed hundreds of times, but haven't really tried to capture.

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station (being de-commissioned)

I only vaguely remember taking this picture of Cnicht - which has a beautiful silhouette - as I passed by Croesor on the 'scenic' route towards my destination, Llanberis.


Pen y Pass is magical at dusk, during fine weather. I don't fancy it mid-winter though. The picture is taken from the Snowdon 'PyG' path. Please note that PyG has nothing at all to do with pigs or pig herders or whatever (pigs up Snowdon, give us a break). Think more in terms of Pen y Gwryd (PyG), which is just down the road, maybe?

Pen y Pass

I'd promised a friend a better picture of Padarn Lake, and I was very happy to be able to make these. I've been there so many times, and this particular evening, everything was, at last, just perfect.

Llyn Padarn

Llyn Padarn - my A3 print of this went down very well!

Pete's Eats is well regarded as the place for hungry climbers and walkers, right in the middle of Llanberis. I'll have to visit some time, at least after I've found my sunglasses ;-)

Pete's Eats

Here's a typical scene which unfortunately won't be replicated in future. The RAF rescue service has been privatised.
I was brought up under the path of the helicopters as they flew from RAF Valley towards the mountains. Sometimes they'd dip down over our house as I played outside, and the winch-man would wave a greeting and shout out a big 'hello'. It made me feel special, and made the service real and human and personal.

This crew is on it's way back after a recce at the foot of Snowdon, as far as I could tell.


From Llanberis to Wrexham, with a minor detour, where I saw this herd of milk cows wending their way to the parlour.

Milking time ladies

At Wrexham I made a pile of pictures, which I can't show just yet, but are to do with excitig things like these...



A trip, this time to Cardiff, to see the football - Wales (1) v Belgium (0) :-)

Football - "CYMRU" & anthems.

Football - excuse me old chap, would you kindly sit still (or words to that effect)

Then a little portrait - this time for the magazine Cristion.

Lyn Lewis Dafis

At the last moment one evenig, Marian and I headed for the seaside to watch the waves kiss the shore, but a sudden urge made us gallop up Pendinas (an ancient hill fort at Aberystwyth) so as to catch the impressive view.

This lady was here before us, with her small children, on an outing to give them their first ever sight of a Cardigan Bay sunset.

Sunbeam selfie at Pendinas

And later, a blood red sun sinks into the sea beyond the Llŷn Peninsula...

Just a few yards from our home is Matt's Deli, a tiny gem of a place in Bow Street. They do breakfasts, lunches, and have oodles of high class products to take home, such as Welsh cheeses and preserves, honey and cooked meats. Matt also bakes his own bread, and wanted my opinion. Well, I don't know, I took some home - what do you think (see picture below)? Any good?
Absolutely gorgeous! Simple, filling, tasty and wholesome.


One fine afternoon, after long days and evenings working hard, we escaped to Tresaith, so that I could make a picture of the waterfall there, which descends from on high onto the beach. Think Hawaii, but on a lesser scale, and without the rainforest (or the heat, or people in flash shirts and interesting skirts and bronzed sinuous bodies).


Marian had never been to Penbryn, so a stop-off at the quaint, ancient church was required.


Allen Raine, the novelist, is buried here - real name Anne Adaliza Puddicombe. These places do make me sad though, as they bear evidence of a cultural and linguistic shift. The old grave stones are in Welsh, then suddenly the newer stones are all or mostly in English, and the nature of the names upon them change also, the two elements defining a fundamental break in cultural continuity.

Allen Raine

Between Penbryn and Tresaith there's a memorial stone which has no Welsh or English. It bears the Latin inscription

'CORBALENGI IACIT ORDOVS' [here lies Corbalengi the Ordovician].

Roman grave

Llangrannog (birth and resting place of a formidable Welsh lady, Cranogwen) was full to the brim, and so we carried on towards Aberaeron, as hunger pangs began to bite.


Aberaeron provided. The Harbourmaster was fairly quiet, and served us mouthwatering seafodd suppers, and contentedly, we leaned on the harbour walls to watch the sun set over the bay. Food-fate must have been on our side, as this was a magical moment to savour.

Aberaeron - unbeatable sky

I'm not much of a mingler, to say the least. I'm a bit of a loner to be honest. But it was worth the effort to atted the opening of the Philip Jones Griffiths exhibition at the National Library of Wales. I met old colleagues and old photographic frends such as Bernard Mitchell (who once gave me a lovely portrait of Philip Jones Griffiths, which I still treasure), and many others. Please, please make an effort to visit the exhibition, not just because it's been a huge undertaking for my old colleagues, but because it's superb, though-provoking, and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Be warned that some of the images in the show are very disturbing (well, PJG was known as a war photographer who helped change minds in America against the Vietnam war through his raw images and uncompromising narrative).

Philip Jones Griffiths. His daughters at the opening.

Finally (here we go again) I finish with a Clarach sunset, taken especially to conclude this monthly ramble in the usual manner.

Clarach sunset

Thanks for getting this far.


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