Where Are The Dragons?

Wales, or more specifically North Wales, where I live, is the land of magnificent castles, stately homes, railways, festivals and the scenery is superb. Fantastic sandy beaches, tumbling rivers, waterfalls, mountains and lakes. I think I’ll just let the photographs do the talking this week

Yes we have rugged coastlines, but look at the sandy beaches.

Heather

There are sand dunes and of course that old abandoned lighthouse that I love to photograph

Talacre Dunes.jpg

You can fish, even at night…..

Fishing

….although you shouldn’t leave your nets behind.

Net Blue

We get some fantastic sunsets

Purple Haze

And there’s that lighthouse again

Talacre Beach

We have an industrial heritage as well. I wonder who Karen is?

I Love Karen

Of course much of the heavy industry is long gone and we are left with the ruins.

Porth Wen Chimney

It’s not really a castle but we do have them, honest

Gwrych Castle Gate

Lead was also mined here

Minera Lead Mines

And we’ve got the odd waterfall

Waterfall

Plus mountains. One of my favourite walks. Take the path up to Cwm Idwal

The Glyderau

…and this is Cwm Idwal

Heather

If you turn your back to Cwm Idwal you get to see Pen Yr Ole Wen

Pen-yr-Olwen Reflections

Butt we also get snow.

52/2013 Week 4

That’s when you ate likely to see the ponies who live wild in the mountains. They come down for food.

Ponies

I did mention we had lakes. Didn’t I?

Reflections at Llyn Nantle Uchaf

With walking paths that let you appreciate the countryside. This one eventually leads to Snowdon.

Llyn Teym

Probably the most photographed bridge in Snowdonia. Despite it looking rugged, one of the main roads through the park is no more than a short walk of about 75 metres away. I’ve seen coach loads of tourist stop here to photograph this bridge and they think they’re seeing Snowdonia. By the way cross that bridge to the left and you’re on the path to Cwm Idwal

Afon Idwal

Another one of my favourite walking areas. I’ve been in this valley 3-4 hours and not seen another person. It is quite lonely but so peaceful and usually the only sounds you hear are the water tumbling down the hillside, sheep and birds calling.

Rhosydd Terrace

Yet in this remote valley, families lived and worked, mining slate. Above are some of the small terraced houses and below is the ruins of the church

Cwmorthin Chapel

Slate mining was probably the most industrial activity in North Wales with several large quarries extracting slate in vast proportions with Welsh slate, used to roof houses and buildings worldwide

Tracks

Well that’s it. I could have shown so many more photographs. If you want to know more about North Wales follow the link at the top of the page.

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A Mixed Bag, This Week

It’s been a week of contracts. New phone, car insurance, broadband, travel insurance, had to get that renewed as I’ve got some interesting trips coming up this year starting in March. Told the kids I’m going to take up SKI’ing, they thought I was mad. Anyway  bit of a mixed bag this week, photograph wise. So without further ado let’s get on with it…

First up is Valle Crucis Abbey, or to be more precise the ruins of the abbey. Although it is maintained nowadays. time has not been good to the structure and although it is safe to walk around the site, especially when the snow falls. One year when i visited that low wall was completely hidden, instant leg or ankle breaker.

Valle Crucis

A couple of years back I found this great little piece of artwork on the Wirral near Hoylake. It’s made from driftwood found on the beach and the structure is sound enough for kids to climb on it. It’s a great pirate ship, don’t you think?

Grace Darling

This bench sits at the side of a river in an area where the conditions are right for moss and lichens to grow. Not sure I’d sit on this bench because it looks as though it could be permanently wet.

Bench

Out on the Denbigh moors I found this building. Although it looks in disrepair and isn’t obviously habitable. There are official looking signs saying “No Entry”, and I have seen some plain unmarked vans parked right next to the door. Maybe it’s the entrance to a secret bunker. Or probably it’s just an old abandoned building out on the moors.

Abandoned

The only tree, honestly. You can see the ones down in the valley but this was the only one in view when I got to the top of the hill.

Lone Tree

My next photograph is a bit of a strange one. The structure in the background is the Point of Ayr gas terminal and I’m standing on the surface of the now defunct Mostyn Colliery. Lot’s of coal beneath me, but apparently it’s the “wrong type”. So they closed the colliery and flooded the mineshaft by opening a hole to one of the levels from the sea which is just behind me. At high tide, the sea rushed in and filled all the levels of the mine, which incidentally went out under the sea bed. Of course all this happened  a good fifty years or so and it’s unlikely they would ever be able to recover the coal now.

Tracks

A metal bar, left behind when the copper mine closed. I love that little patch of light as the sun broke through the clouds.

Steel Bar

I really am not sure what this was used for, but it’s at the side of the Menai Strait, so I assume it was used for winching something in from the water.

Winch

So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

Red Light On Router–Internet Down

Regular readers may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet here on Say It With A Camera in the last few weeks. First of all I don’t have a working internet connection. Haven’t done for 14 days now. Got up in the morning and there it was a RED light on the router. Between my ISP, the wholesaler (middleman) and the telecoms company, no one would admit they had done something to disconnect me. To cut a long story short, here we are 14 day later, I’m still disconnected, well sort of, but the telecoms company now have a dedicated faults team, whatever that means, working on it. All I can say is they work awfully slow for a dedicated team, excuse the pun.

Meanwhile my ISP finally agreed that I could buy a mobile dongle and a data allowance and they would cover the cost. Now those dongles are nothing like hi-speed broadband, they’re slow, prone to dropouts and the cost of the data package is extremely expensive, but I’ve got a connection, albeit it’s only useful for email and maybe a bit of blogging.

P8270232_SNSHDR_3-Edit.jpg

Now you might be wondering what this weeks photographs are all about and that brings me to my second reason for being so quiet. A couple of weeks back I was asked to give a talk to a photographic society about some of the abandoned buildings I have visited in the last few years. “We just need a one hour session, followed by a short break for tea and coffee, and then if you could do another three-quarters of an hour that would be great” That’s a long time to fill up and first I was really reluctant. But hey I need a challenge at the moment so eventually I agreed. This week I am showing you some photographs from the talk I gave. Are the appropriate for the weekly challenge, probably not, but with my broadband still being down, with no sign of it being restored, this is it.

Grwych Castle 3.jpg

The top photograph is from Porth Wen on Anglesey. Not the easiest place to get to but well worth the visit. Followed by Grwych Castle. It’s really a modern castle, built in the last 150 years, not like some of the really old one we have here which were built 8 to 9 hundred years ago.

Just below is Sheldrakes, or to be more precise, Lower Heswall. It’s a boat graveyard and all along the tidal estuary you can find old abandoned boats that are fantastic to photograph. You have to watch though, the tide comes in really fast, and I mean fast. It’s very muddy and wellie boots are required if you go walking there.

Sheldrakes 7.jpg

Of course no talk about abandoned would be complete without including Dinorwic Slate Quarry, Lots of tunnels, old ruined buildings, rusty metal and fantastic views over to Snowdon.

Dinorwic 6-3.jpg

Way out in the middle of nowhere is Ynys-y-Pandy Slate Mill. It’s now a preserved building, so the outside views are much better. Visit on a nice day or wait for those dark brooding skies when you’ll get some amazing black and white photographs.

Ystradlyn 3.jpg

Another place well worth visiting on a sunny day is Copper Mountain on the island of Anglesey. When the sun is out it seems to enhance all those reds and oranges of the rocks. The only building worth photographing though is the old windmill which sits high on the hill, where else, with commanding views over the countryside.

Copper Mountain 6-2.jpg

Dorothea Quarry is another great source of unusual abandoned building. This is the entrance to the stables, lots of graffiti, vastly overgrown, but worth photographing.

Dorothea 6.jpg

So why do I photograph these old buildings? For one, they are there, and two, in past times I used to do quite a lot of digital art, compositing different photographs together to give me a totally new scene. Unfortunately I’ve let that skill slip over the years, but last week I was looking at some old composites I had put together in years back and thought maybe it  was time to rebuild that skill. Especially as “winter is coming”, where have I heard that before, I go out less often to take photographs so it’s an ideal time to spend some time in front of the computer.

Below is a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. Both of the figure in these composites are stock photographs supplied by Phelan Davion who can be found on DeviantArt. The buildings are mine. The first one from Dinorwic Quarry and the second is from an abandoned industrial site called Greenfields.

Sniper3.jpg

Greenfields 9.jpg

That’s it, normally I would include ten blogs here who were taking part in this weeks challenge and whom I’d visited but with the limited data allowance and slowness of the broadband circuit I’m going to skip that this week.