A walk above the "Dragon's Breath" .......

I had a wonderful walk a few days ago during the cold weather....  around the foothills of the Black Mountains taking in Park Wood, Talgarth enveloped in freezing fog and up and over Rhos Fach and Rhos Fawr commons in bright sunshine with the valleys below shrouded in fog - known as the "Dragon's Breath"! 


Black Mountains Snowfall

View from the footpath above Park Wood, Talgarth - my regular walk from home!


Trees above Talgarth

There is a low ridge opposite my studio in the Black Mountains of Wales where I can see a number of beautiful trees every day.

I regularly walk amongst these trees hoping to catch the light.

Here is a selection.......


A Young Ash Tree above Park Wood

I regularly walk up on the hills above my studio near Talgarth and have seen this young ash tree establish itself over the last few years.  Let us hope it will avoid the ash dieback disease and the emerald ash boring beetle - both of which are forecast to wipe out most ash trees in Britain over the next 20 years!


Above the Fog

Sunday 1st November 2015 - Above the fog on Rhos Fawr Common, Black Mountains, Wales.

A beautiful birch tree in its autumn colours and a "Fog Bow"....


A "Fog Bow" is formed the same way as a rainbow - by diffraction of the sun's rays through water droplets - but because the droplets are much smaller in fog the overall effect is mostly white.


Autumn in the Olchon Valley

Here are some autumn images from the Olchon Valley on the border between Herefordshire and the Black Mountains in Wales. 

This valley was used as the setting for Owen Sheers' debut novel, Resistance (Faber and Faber, 2007), where,  in an imagined 1944 in which Russia fell and the D-day landings were unsuccessful half of Britain is occupied. In the isolated Olchon Valley, a group of farm women, abandoned by their husbands and sons, are forced to endure winter alongside the occupying force. 

This image, taken from the foot of Black Hill, won the Photographer of the Year award at the Spring Greens Fair where I called it....

A field, some trees and a mountain


Cwm Dŵr-y-coed

A beautiful day in a beautiful little valley in the Black Mountains - overlooked by Mynydd Bychan...


Even More Thorn!!

Another walk up the beautiful Ennig River valley just below the Dragon's Back and a closer look at the wonderful Thorns ....


More Thorn!

And here are some more Thorn trees spotted on a walk in The Black Mountains yesterday - this time below Mynydd Bychan in Cwm Y Nant which feeds the River Ennig.


Thorn Trees on Y Das

In the middle of the North Western ridge of the Black Mountains stands "Y Das" - directly below is Rhos Fach common with numerous Thorn trees gradually thinning out with height on the slopes - and right near the top is a limestone outcrop with a prominent Thorn clinging on to it. 

I had spotted this tree on my many walks up, over and around this mountain and I finally took a closer look last week.

Here are the first few images from that walk......   (click to enlarge)


A Veteran Birch and a Young Lamb by Offa's Dyke Path

On Wednesday, as I was coming down from a fabulous walk along the Black Mountains ridge from Pengenffordd towards journey's end at Hay-on-Wye, I spotted this magnificent old Birch tree - and a new born lamb.  I have walked past here many times and not really focussed on this tree (intentional pun!)  - but I will be back to study this in more detail.  In the meantime here are a couple of images to whet your appetite!

The Black Mountains are white again!

I was up on Rhos Fawr Common  (here's a MAP) yesterday (Saturday 14th March) - very cold and wintry and overcast.  

The mountains were white, the ground was very muddy, the streams were flowing well, the sheep looked fed up, the ponies too.....  

But I love these hills in any weather!

A Winter Walk

A fine walk up The Dragon's Back along the ridge in cloud and down across Rhos Fawr Common.

I just love The Black Mountains in any weather!

Some challenging natural events too...

A pronounced temperature inversion near the summits caused a blanket of cloud with localised violent winds altough it was flat calm everywhere else!  There was at least a 4°C temp variation in 200ft near the tops.

From my studio I could see there was some patchy snow lying on the slopes and I debated whether or not to take my crampons with me - I'm glad I did!  Not only was there knee-high snow on the tops (for which I should have taken snow-shoes) but after several days of sun and freezing overnight temperatures, the upper slopes were covered in ice.  I would never have managed to take the picture of the "Tenacious Thorn" (Tree of the Day #53) without them as it involved climbing up a wall of ice to the ledge!  With crampons - no problem - I felt like Spider Man!

Here are a few photographs from the walk...  

Y Das

I look at this hill every day from my studio and often walk on it too.  Couldn't resist going for a stroll at sunset today in the crisp snow.

Ancient Ash

When I first saw this Ash Tree a few years ago it was unbroken but with a hollow core. Over two successive winters the tree has been blown down by storms. Here's a sequence of photos of this magnificent old tree...