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Gwyndd landscapes light light quality photography the sea the seaside the shore townscapes Wales

Closed for Winter but not Deserted – Barmouth – Part Two

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Back in one of our favourite Welsh seaside town of Barmouth we crossed the dunes and discovered the debris of the storms.

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We came across seaweed wrenched by the roots from its sea floor home, an empty shell of a Cuttlefish, some twisted driftwood and fishermen’s debris.

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As we left the dunes we found ourselves out in the open on the wide expanse of the beach itself. Here we gained views of the sea front hotels and guest houses and the yachts in their winter compound lit up by winter sunlight. The sand had risen piled high in drifts against the sea walls.

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The peace we were enjoying as we listened to the gentle lapping of the waves and the wind lifting and moving the sand, was suddenly shattered as the sky darkened and a hail storm arrived. At the same time our peace was also shattered by the sound of raised alarms. Someone was in trouble out at sea, the coast guards arrived with flashing green lights on the roofs of their cars, followed by police with their blue lights  flashing out of sync. The rapid response inflatable life-boat launched after being drawn across the sands by a tractor with caterpillar tracks gouging deep ruts cutting across the smooth surface of the sandy beach. Within minutes just the tracks were left and the life-boat disappeared out to sea on its mission.

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The storm passed as quickly as it had arrived. The sun burst back through the thinning clouds, lower now and with a golden hue. It bathed buildings and yacht masts with golden light.

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As we reached the end of the town we heard behind us the deep throated diesel engines of a big caterpillar-tracked vehicleas it dragged the big life boat across the beach and out to sea. the situation was a serious one!

As we left after a good day at the seaside blue patches began to appear in the cloudy skies.

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Categories
countryside Gwyndd landscapes light light quality photography the seaside Wales

Over the hills to the sea – part two.

Continuing our journey from home across the Welsh mountains to the sea, we turned more to the north and climbed up steeply into far more rugged countryside. Each corner revealed new startling views of deeply cut glacial valleys and ridges eroded by the grinding action of glaciers in the last ice age. Few trees grow on these steep slopes with their shallow soils. We were now out of the county of Powys and travelling through Gwynedd.

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We drove into a pass that took us up Dinas Mawddry where steep rugged mountains rose up on either side. This is notoriously difficult stretch of road often made impassable by deep drifts of snow. Back in the seventies when we first drove through this pass when cars were less powerful than today cars were often beaten by the steepness and the sharp bends. At the bottom drivers took a deep breath, crossed their fingers and put their foot down. Today’s cars take it in their stride and drivers can instead appreciate the beauty of the place. Some of the following shots were taken through the car windows so are less clear, but it was at times impossible to stop safely.

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As we bypassed Dolgellau the valley widened out and in places rich pastureland spread out either side of the road.

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We turned into a wide valley and the road passed through marshland and muddy areas of the Mawdach estate. Clouds hung low here. The view became hidden and the hill tops disappeared in their mistiness. The road ran through stone walls and the bends slowed the traffic.

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We were now close to our day’s destination the seaside at Barmouth. My next post will be all about our day there.