we're now at mid-August and the great heat may
have subsided, but there has been hardly any
significant rain, let alone storms! So I'm
feeling somewhat deprived, which I suppose is a
whole lot better than feeling somewhat depraved!
But there's always something of interest in the
Mid-Wales landscape, and this page sees me out
and about with the camera to do exactly that!
Before continuing I'd just like to express my
thanks for the many emails I have received in
recent times, from people all over the world, who
have found this site. I'm glad it gives you as
much pleasure to read it as it does to me to run
the thing - even when there's nothing very
spectacular going on overhead!
I get a certain amount of solace, in a world
seemingly torn by war and bitterly divided one
way and another, in contemplating the vast depths
of the skies. Something more people ought to do -
it might calm them down a bit! Gotta be better
than shooting and bombing, I would imagine...
One evening in late July I ventured down to
Borth, to see if any noctilucent clouds might
appear after sundown (there had been a display
the night before which sadly I was unable to
photograph). Got a nice sunset instead - without
the "green flash" as the sun sank over
the horizon, but it was peaceful enough watching
it sink over the islands and disappear...
glow was particularly strong that evening.....
This was one evening in late July too - a burst
of crepuscular rays from behind a bank of
summer in Mid-Wales is a good time to get out
into the wilds. The hillsides are a blaze of
colour as you follow narrow winding pathways
through the expanses of bell-heather and
On the same day (near Ystumtuen): a farmer was
ploughing a small field - enough to attract
predators and scavengers looking for worms,
grubs, mice etc. First one kite appeared....
...then three! A rare sight to see one when I
first arrived in the area in 1981, sights like
this are not that uncommon now. The story of the
red kite is one of the really big successes in
conservation in recent times.
But the big theme is summer has to be lack of
rainfall. The very dry winter, followed by a
brief wet spell through May, gave way to the
heatwaves of Midsummer and beyond.
The drought is now taking its toll. Here is
Nant-y-moch reservoir in early August. This whole
arm of the lake is dry, where normally 10-20ft of
water would be expected....
The peat forming its bed (it was formerly a boggy
upland valley) has dried out and cracked. Damper,
less cracked peat in the background marks the
centre of the lake-bed.
Nant-y-moch is used for hydro-electricity, so
some of the drop in water could be explained if
demand had been high. A bit odd though during a
heatwave, unless everyone switching their
air-conditioning on at once caused abnormal
It makes an interesting subject for the camera
though. I've only included a few images because
they are rather large files even at high JPEG
compression. This is the centre of this part of
the lake, with just a trickle of water running
When we hear of drought restrictions, we normally
turn our minds immediately to SE England, leaking
pipes, depleted aquifers and hosepipe bans.
However, in these traditionally wet Welsh
uplands, it has been biting. I have several
friends who rely on springs for their water. Most
have failed. In some cases this is the first time
since 1976 that this has happened. Some farmers
have had to cut gaps in fences to let stock get
This, then is serious stuff. With a blocking
high-pressure in the Eastern North Atlantic,
depressions are running well to the north of the
UK, with attendant frontal rainbands decaying as
they move SE across the country. So although we
have had some rain in the last few days, we
desperately need more. It is hoped by everyone
who lives in rural areas that the rest of August
will deliver - a shame for the visitors but then
- if you've got nothing coming out of your taps,
other priorities come into play....
Finally, back at the coast, this time at
Tonfanau, where Afon Dysynni flows out into
Cardigan Bay and the normally lush coastal
vegetation is frazzled to a desert-brown.
Brackish lagoons behind the great storm-beach
have virtually dried to nothing....
The vegetation features plants that can cope with
the harsh environment here - very exposed all
year round and sometimes arid in dry summers.
Various succulent species are met with - plus
this - Sea Holly with its bluish-green spiky
leaves and heads of blue flowers, with a Common
Blue butterfly sharing a feed on one flowerhead
with a small species of wasp. Lots here for the
serious macro photographer (which I'm not)....
And finally - the rains came - with a vengeance!
More on the next page HERE.
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