Dawn over Snowdonia in North Wales; this view is looking across the village of Rhyd-Ddu towards the rounded summit of Moel Hebog (782 m.). My hike before breakfast took me 45 minutes up the Snowdon Ranger Path to a crossroads at about 380 m.
Snowdon (1085 m.) stayed clear after breakfast except for some wisps of mist, viewed from the pass at Ffridd Ucaff, just up from the rails of the Welsh Highland Railway, the 1 ft 11 ¹⁄₂ in narrow gauge heritage railway running between Caernarfon and Porthmadog.
And the Afon Glaslyn, the river Aberglasyn at the Pass of Aberglasyn.
View of Ennerdale and Ennerdale Water from Anglers' Crag, known locally as Iron Crag on account of the veins of iron ore in the sides of the crag facing the lake. This was our halt for lunchtime picnic in the autumn sunshine. We enjoyed a fine hike round the lake, it's a level path on the north-west side but quite a bit of boulder-hopping on the south-west side. Plenty of granite around as well as Borrowdale Volcanics Group rocks. And here's a postcard showing more of our hike:
What is Cardiff, the capital city of Wales? No particular image comes to mind, there’s the red dragon of the Welsh flag, the looming bowl of the rugby stadium laced with steel struts or maybe the other Millennium initiative, the waterfront of the redeveloped docks. Neither of those are particularly Cardiff nor uniquely Welsh. But I wouldn’t have expected to wake up in city centre Cardiff to find myself seeing eyeballing other bleary wakers across a concrete canyon in their corresponding concrete boxes high up in the vertical city. So this is Cardiff city centre, place of designer bars and boutique restaurants. The pale light of October dawn peeking through the concrete towers, no red dragons flying in the sky, not even a flag.
Breakfast with Duncan of the BBC, a fine start for my car trip to Cumbria; a treat in the autumn sunshine, a section crossing northwards up the western side of the UK. The colours of the trees progressing from glorious early autumn in Cardiff and Monmouthshire to full golden autumn in Lancaster and Kendal. Finally arriving to a warm and still sunny welcome at Mike’s in Keswick after 285 miles on the road.
Next day, a fine Lake District hike round Ennerdale
View across the valley of the river Severn from the ridge of the Malvern Hills across to the Vale of Berkeley and the Cotswolds Edge. A bracing wind cleared the air rewarding the chilly walk with a very English panorama. The river Severn is flowing through this vale in a shallow channel as it flows towards its estuary. The numerous oak trees are a reminder of the historic designation of the area in as the “Forest of Corse”.
Eight oarsmen rowing upstream at speed on the River Thames at Hammersmith Reach in West London, just down river from Hammersmith Bridge. Several rowers are wearing kit identified as Imperial College, London. The tide is still coming in but this is less than an hour before High Water. An eight at full speed is a wonderful sight, the oars pulling as one, the sleek boat flitting over the water, the swoosh sound of the oars slicing in to the water surmounted by the Cox calling the stroke.
Public displays in the square outside Brighton Library show it’s Brighton Photo Biennial time again, a month of events and exhibitions both for the official Biennial and for the Fringe. The headline images on the publicity remain challenging to the eye and demand thinking through: as well as enjoying the work of some major photographers (in exhibitions which are free to visit) I’m looking to see how much we have moved on from the idea (aka “concept”) of an image is more important than how attractive it is to the eye.
Update: I withdrew from UCL at the end of the second week. I'm very disappointed but the course hasn't worked for me in many ways.
Freshly printed undergraduate pass in hand, my fresher selfie in the quad at University College London. This shot had to be a real selfie, ie taken myself with the camera held out at arm’s length. Note the brand new UCL hoodie too.
End of season playtime on the Col de la Gineste, the road up from Marseille and over the limestone of the Calanques to Cassis.
Beaujolais 2016 still ripening in the second week of September on sparsely-fruited and rather straggly-looking vines near Fleurie church. This year’s harvest at Fleurie looks to be disappointing in volume as well as relatively late because of the hailstorms earlier this year. An enjoyable short stay in the region enjoying a couple of gourmet dinners with wines from Clos de la Tour 2013, Les Moriers 2012 and a taste of the Beaujolais Blanc, Château Pizay 2014. A Michelin-listed restaurant is not the place to make detailed notes but it was remarkable how much difference there was between the two wines of successive years and from the same village, ie the same Appellation Contrôlée. Always fun to travel in an area where the road signposts read like wine lists but particularly enjoyable to revisit Fleurie village as I had pitched tent for a night halt on a motorbike trip back in 1983 or 4, in what was then the municipal camping.
Aust Cliff under the Severn Bridge on the east bank of the Severn Estuary exposes a sequence of layers of rock that both appeal to the eye and to the fossil specialist. It’s a section through an area that was near the equator in the Triassic period, 230 million years ago. The area was alternately a lake (represented now by a layer of red mudstone) which dried out as salt flats (now white gypsum).
The upper layers (yellow/green and brown layers) are more recent, 210 million years old, representing a tropical sea; these layers are one of the UK’s most important sites for fossils of marine reptiles. Aust Cliff overall is a site unusually prolific in fossil finds, thus is classified as a site of special scientific interest (SSI).