My fourth photographic trip of the year and first for three months through Ceredigion to the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales but unfortunately yet again the weather was not on my side with grey flat skies and the tail end of hurricane Katia to contend with.
You may wonder where the title “Silvery necklaces of beaches, bays and waterfalls” came from. I found the phrase silvery necklace in two separate tourism leaflets, one for the Ceredigion coast and one for Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons so as I was visiting both locations I thought it was an appropriate way to link the two.
The trip started by travelling to my first base just outside Aberaeron on the Ceredigion coast where I spent a couple of days exploring the coastline from Newquay to just north of Cardigan.
The most photographic location for me was at Ynys Lochtyn, which I accessed by walking from the village of Llangrannog. Once you have walked up to the cliff tops the view across Cardigan Bay is spectacular enough, but it gets even better from Ynys Lochtyn. The narrow promontory is capped by an islet – accessible at low tide, cut off when the sea rises and when storms batter the coast.
Travelling further south my next destination was Tresaith where I was hoping to capture a shot of the waterfall as it cascades onto the beach but despite all the heavy rain the flow on the fall seemed quite low, but this may be normal, so instead I spent my time endeavouring to add to my Intimate Landscapes collection. To see if I was successful you will need to wait for the outcome of further processing.
The final location which I feel is worth a mention is Mwnt the farthest bay on my journey down this section of the coast. Mwnt is a sheltered sandy cove owned by the National Trust and considered by many to be the most beautiful cove on the Ceredigion coast. I also understand that it is the best location in the area for sunsets although unfortunately not for me.
There is also a small church nearby – The Church of the Holy Cross which reminded me very much of St Cwyfan’s on Anglesey except it is not on an island in the sea. Although a church has stood on this spot since the 6th Century the current church dates from the 14th Century. It is basically a Pilgrimage Church, rather than a Parish one as it was on the main route from Bardsey Island to St David’s.
Somewhat hesitantly I then moved onto my next base just outside Brecon. During my research for the trip, I had discovered in my archives an AA leaflet “Day drives in South Wales” dated 1981 and as time and weather permitted I followed Drive 4 “The Black Mountains and the Usk Reservoir” which was a circular route from Llandovery round Black Mountain on the western side of the National Park.
The following day with no improvement in the weather I selected a further drive from the leaflet Drive 7 “The Brecon Beacons and the Usk Valley” which happened to pass a location where I was hoping to capture an image of Pen Y Fan and Corn Du and yet again I had no luck as they were not even visible. Undeterred I ventured on and ended up spending 2/3 hours capturing the waterfalls in Taf Fechan Forest and the nearby Talybont area. The second location having been recommended by a marshal on The Brecon Beast mountain bike race that was taking place that day.
Despite having spent the majority of the previous day capturing waterfalls, I had always intended to visit an area in the park known as “Waterfall Country” which is in an entirely different area of the Park to that which I had visited the day before and with all the rain we had been having I probably could not have picked a better time as the falls were in full flow.
Having parked at the Waterfalls Centre in Pontneddfachan I took The Elidir Trail up to Sgwd Gwladus(Lady Falls) and beyond although most of the time was spent at those falls as they were the most photogenic of the four on this run. As you would expect I met a few other photographers on this walk of about 2/3 hours one of whom recommended that I visit the Henrhyd Falls, which I must admit was not on my list of locations. I had wanted to visit Sgwd yr Eira but as time was pressing and I understood it was at least a 90 min walk to the fall I took the other photographers advice and visited #Henrhyd.
Hendryn Falls on the Nant Llech boasts the impressive title of the highest waterfall in South Wales and has an unbroken drop of around 90 feet. Access is via a rather steep but well-made path that descends to the bottom of the gorge where good views of the falls are available. I managed to capture a couple of images, although not too successfully, as I had to make a hasty retreat due to the wind direction the water was being blown everywhere including over myself and the camera. No wonder no one else was there.
Disappointingly this was probably the least productive trip for some time so rather than taking the most direct route home I decided to take the opportunity to look at the Elan Valley, another area I had not visited previously. Although the weather conditions were still not on my side it did give me an opportunity to consider photo locations for a future trip.
I have some ideas for trips for the remainder of the year but these are still to be finalised. Hopefully, they will prove to be more productive and successful than this one.