SUMMER 2006 - part 1: Midsummer twilight/Riptide!


New! Fine Art Prints & digital images for sale-
Welsh Weather & Dyfi Valley landscapes Slide-Library - Click

Winter seemed to end this year on 31st May and Summer to begin on June 1st!

With the cool wet May consigned to history, it was time to get out there and appreciate the warm sunshine, usually with fishing rods in tow. The camera came along at times to try and capture some of it, although I must admit I do storms better! Anyway, without any further ado.....

Bass-fishing on the S side of the Dyfi Estuary opposite Aberdyfi. We caught huge amounts of.... seaweed!

Weed gets displaced by all the jetskis etc that throng the estuary at weekends and once it starts floating about in the water it can take ages to clear. It drapes fishing-lines in the strong tides on flood and ebb and can make fishing impossible!

This almost luminous green weed is prolific over the sandbanks at this time of year.....

Meanwhile at Borth the sea has an almost Caribbean look to it. What's that strange dark area in the sea? The shadow of a cloud?

No - it's a massive shoal of whitebait. Here, bass or mackerel are attacking them and driving them towards the surface, where hundreds of gulls, terns, shearwaters and the odd gannet or two flock to the easy pickings.

Another evening fishing the beach at Borth. At this time of year, in fine weather, it's too busy to fish by day. The sea is full of people, dogs try to eat your bait and the fish are out in deeper water. At dusk, they move back in - sometimes!

Sunset, with a faint light-pillar....

The sun is now well below the horizon. This is the time of year for noctilucent clouds which are sometimes seen a couple of hours after sunset, but not on this occasion! If you see them, they will appear as ghostly, white to electric blue clouds, sometimes in rippled or herringbone formations. They can occasionally be very bright and have been mistaken for an aurora. Over 80km up, they exist in the outermost part of our atmosphere - on the very edge of space itself!

Midsummer twilight in the Northern sky, with the lights of Aberdyfi R.

On other days, work was put to one side and we journeyed up to Uwchymynydd, at the SW tip of the Lleyn Peninsula, fishing for mackerel and pollack amid stunning scenery - this area is known as the Land's End of Wales. A hilltop above the point hosts a coastguard's observing station, whilst hereabouts are the concrete footings of long-gone WW2 gun-emplacements. The panorama out to sea is certainly extensive - would make a good storm-photography venue I keep thinking to myself!

Looking down to the point. The tidal rip, as it forces itself around the point, is particularly evident during the ebb on a big Spring tide....


On smaller tides, smooth plains of upwelling water mark where the sea is rising over submerged rock pinnacles....


...whilst on big tides the area resembles a river's rapids - the tide bombs along at over 5 knots in these conditions with numerous standing waves forming: no place to be in a small underpowered craft!

It's difficult to do justice to this in photographs alone. They lack the motion - and the sound the thing makes. The noise is not dissimilar to the Severn Bore!


The fish lie in wait alongside the tidal rip, devouring any small fry swept through it, and casting lures from nearby rock platforms into this area does the job! Freshly-caught mackerel, grilled with a little butter, pepper and herbs takes some beating, so this has been a regular haunt on fine days when it's safe to be out here. In rough or wet conditions, these rocks are very dangerous and I for one avoid them in all but flat calm, dry days....


....when Bardsey appears to float on the jewelled sea beyond the Sound.


By early July things were on the change again, though. Thermal plumes moved up from the Continent and in time destabilised after giving several days of temperatures in the high twenties - ka-boom! The above (last shot on this film) was taken recently looking across to the Trannon windfarm and sets the scene.

I've been chasing four afternoons in a row now (July 6th) with a mixed bag of results which I'll sort through and post on the site when I get the films developed. One thing's for sure - after the amount of lightning I saw yesterday, I feel in serious need of a digital camcorder!



New! Fine Art Prints & digital images for sale-
Welsh Weather & Dyfi Valley landscapes Slide-Library - Click