2007- part 2: April - a bustle in the hedgerow!
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"If there's a bustle in
Don't be alarmed now -
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen"
- Led Zeppelin, circa. 1971
April 2007 will long be remembered by those who pay
attention to such things as the month in which Spring
came early, with Summer hot on its heels! Day upon day of
blue skies, sunshine and warmth, to the extent that those
relying on springs for their water supply began to have
concerns about running out - this in a traditionally very
wet country! Apart from two localised afternoon
thunderstorms, which I both intercepted, on 28th March
and 15th April, and a single night of steady rain, this
has been an exceptionally dry month. However, that rain,
followed by more Summer-type warmth, brought forth the
best display of Spring flowers I have seen for a long
time. So I'll start with some of these, from the Dyfi
Valley and all within a short distance of
These woods, by the Aberdyfi road, never fail to
produce! Yet they are tricky to capture in a way
that suggests the feeeling of being there on a
sunny afternoon. Early to mid-afternoon is the
best time, on a very sunny day - any earlier and
the sun is "overhead", any later and
there are too many long shadows.....
Elsewhere, the hedges and roadside banks were a
blaze of colour, from the deep yellows of
celandines with the snow-white wood anenomes....
....to the cheerful contrasts given by these
primroses and violets.....
...or these bluebells and greater stitchworts!
Spring - the season of renewal - is always a
powerful time. Change sweeps across the landscape
with unstoppable force. In a few short weeks, the
tired browns and greys of late winter give way to
an explosion of life. It is little wonder that
most people seem to cheer up a bit!
Now for those thunderstorms....
Of the March 28th storm I can just say that I
caught it whilst doing some geological fieldwork
in the Borders district: it was unphotogenic but
listening to the thunder rolling about the hills
is always a great pleasure!
A very hazy April 15th saw sea-fog creeping up
the Dyfi Valley to bring a cool chill to
barbecue-goers. With some instability forecast
over the Cambrian Mountains, and clearer skies
(and therefore warmth) to my east, I jumped in
the truck and set off.
Sitting up on the top of the mountain road, I
watched convective towers struggling to build in
my area. It was clear that moisture was lacking
and before they could get going they would
collapse from below. To my north a line of towers
were doing a better job of persistence. They
extended a little further west, flanking out to
meet the moist air of the sea-breeze and perhaps,
I thought, tapping into it. They therefore looked
a fair bet for a storm, so I tracked northwards
towards them, crossing the A470 at Caersws and
pushing across country on minor roads towards
Llanfair Caereinion. The photo above shows my
approach route just N of Caersws, and the
towering cumulus through the haze (last word is
the relevant one!)....
The best photo of the chase came a little later.
Crepuscular rays beam down between the flanking
towers to the now building storm, with the wind
turbines of Mynydd Clogau in the foreground. It
was getting very gloomy....
By late afternoon a thunderstorm had developed on
this line of towers. The first thunder was heard
to the north of Llanfair Caereinion, with the
core of the storm in the Llanfyllin area. I
arrived here just after the core had drifted away
northwards. Big pools of muddy water were
everywhere. Distant thunder still boomed away but
visually the thing was a mess - as can be seen
here in this shot of its western edge. I turned
westwards, for home, via Llyn Vyrnwy and Bwlch y
Bwlch y groes is the highest tarmac road in
Wales. The top of the pass is 545 metres (or 1788
feet in old money) above sea-level. From the
car-park at the top, the sun was setting through
the haze. Aran Fawddwy is the peak on the L.
Not the most spectacular of chases, but it took
me through some interesting new places, I got to
know another little slice of Mid-Wales, and at
least one decent photo was to be had!
Last one from this month, taken one afternoon
from a layby overlooking Cardigan Bay.
Crepuscular rays again - they always make a good
subject for the camera. There are other photos,
but in order to include some of the flower ones
and make this page just about downloadable in
dial-up, I have left them out. For reasons best
known to whatever computer processors do, images
with a lot of greenery in them are very difficult
to compress as JPEGS. Even at fairly low quality
they are still disproportionally big filesizes.
But nothing represents Spring for me so much as
the flowers, so they get the vote to stay!
May has arrived with cool, wet and blustery
weather. The rain has been most welcome, more so
than usual! With the Atlantic once again in
charge of our weather, hopes are that I might get
a good storm or two this month, but as ever, time
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