on from the northerly outbreak of early March
came an Easterly, bringing more snow and
atrocious conditions on the 11th and 12th,
especially over high ground, where big drifts
developed. A slow thaw then set in but with
slightly milder air coming in
over cold ground surfaces, the inevitable
happened - sheet ice. A dryer but still chilly
spell followed with some nice sunsets - and brush
fires - before the Atlantic finally broke through
and a major dumping of rain brought flooding to
some areas. The final day of March saw my first
attempt to photograph the Severn Bore, hampered
somewhat by the floodwater, but still quite a
sight! So, without further ado.....
Sunday March 12th on the Machynlleth-Llanidloes
mountain road. Still very overcast with snow
blown from fields and accumulating in any
I didn't get much further than this as above the
conditions rapidly deteriorated! Snow has blown
off the fields straight into the road....
pretty serious quantities in places!
Nice sculptings on this drift! On
the way back down I met a snow-plough and
thinking things might therefore be better the
following day I resolved to return...
Next day - looks like new snow or something has
fallen high up. It turned out to be "or
This is just below the Wynford Vaughan Thomas
pulpit at about 470m. The car ahead of me was
trying to turn round and I could see it was
having problems. Losing traction myself, I backed
into a gateway and got out of the jeep. The guy
behind me wound down his window to ask what it
was like, when a gust of wind caught me and I
fell flat on my backside. The ground was covered
in a clear layer of water-ice about 2cm thick. He
took one look, turned around and fled! Meanwhile
I thought to get some images so I struggled
across the road, wishing I had crampons to
Drizzle or light rain had obviously been falling
onto frozen surfaces and building up ice on
everything. I liked the effect on this fence -
however standing on sheet-ice in a freezing and
gusty force 8-9 wind doesn't make photography
zoom-in! I was determined to get a better still
image so I grabbed a section of ice that had
fallen off a fence, fixed it behind my spare
wheel and headed carefully home. Once there, I
stuck it in the deep-freeze whilst the computer
and scanner fired up....
Result! Beats grovelling around on frozen tarmac
freezing half to death!
The snow was slow to thaw inland despite milder
conditions moving in. This was taken during
geological fieldwork at Llangynog on the 14th.
Where are the rocks - they're all buried! Made
for an entertaining day!
The thaw continued so that by Sunday 19th of
March only the larger remnant drifts remained.
This was taken close to where I had parked on the
icy day - looking across the Dyfi valley to
Tarrenhendre late in the afternoon, on my return
from the TORRO spring conference, where I'd been
reporting on recent extreme rainfalls and
flash-floods, neither of which had been obvious
features of 2006 so far!
little later - very soft hazy light makes for a
Very flat landscapes, however, are often found to
be the case during easterlies - until right on
sunset. This is just above Aberdyfi looking
across the estuary towards Borth. I've had better
ones from here in the past - but during clear
afternoon in question wore on the light improved
dramatically as indeed expected. This was taken
at Tywyn, from the prom...
...while this one later again, with a weak
sun-pillar, was taken from the Tywyn-Aberdyfi
road. While taking this image a smell of burning
was noticed. Behind me a brownish pall of smoke
hung in the air - a brush-fire was ongoing
somewhere upwind. I set off to investigate...
...passing a returning fire-engine near Aberdyfi.
By the time I found the source for the smoke
above Abertafol, it was almost dark but I managed
to get this image of the fire burning itself out.
During anticyclonic setups in late winter, where
dry winds can occur for several days in a row, a
controlled burn can easily become an
uncontrollable one, although whether that
happened here is unknown.
By the end of March very mild conditions and
Atlantic fronts had spread eastwards to cover the
UK and finally give welcome rain everywhere.
Fieldwork in the Llangynog area was resumed
despite the at times foul weather. This was taken
north of Llanrhaiadr-ym-Mochnant, on the way back
from Glyn Ceiriog. I liked the sudden lighting-up
of the road after a passing shower....
...while the 240-ft Pistyll Rhaiadr, the highest
waterfall in Wales, more than merited the 4-mile
detour with the river in spate!
Closer zoom-in to the natural arch through which
the river broke many centuries ago. The noise
this thing makes is deafening and you need to be
careful with your camera due to the clouds of
The following morning I set off at 0430 to do
some work at the National Museum, Cardiff - via a
Severn Bore intercept! This was my first and the
rainy skies as I left, plus the knowledge that
the Severn was full of floodwater, did nothing to
dampen my enthusiasm!
The very early start was not really necessary as
it worked out. I arrived at the Strand at
Westbury upon Severn at 0730, nearly 2 hours
before the bore was due! While having a
sandwiches-and-coffee breakfast, various surfers,
from equally various parts of the world, arrived
so I had a chat with them and learnt a bit about
By 0830 they started getting in the water and,
paddling by hand, set off downstream amid whoops
and cheers. Obviously part of the
"experience", I thought to myself....
Soon, they were mere dots in the water a good
mile or so away. Meanwhile fellow enthusiasts
Bren Jones and Laura Gilchrist turned up - they
were chasing the bore from start to finish!
The Bore duly appeared around the corner, visible
in the distance as the thin white streak across
.... and slowly approached, as did a faint but
growing sound - the roaring of many hundreds of
tonnes of water! The surfers were out-of-frame to
the R, staying on the outside of the bend where
the wave was highest....
...and in a moment it was upon us, sweeping
noisily past in several waves. Not bad given how
flooded the estuary was! By now the surfers were
lesser in number, with various bods hauling
themselves up onto the bank...
Quick telephoto of it going past. So many things
to try and photograph and so little time! I think
this demands several visits to just work out the
best strategy for photography.
And so it continued its relentless way up the
estuary towards the higher reaches where trees
overhang the grassy riverbanks and spectators
frequently get a soaking from waves breaking over
the banks. In fact, the day before, several cars
had to be rescued from a location on the opposite
shore upstream from here. After the Bore has
passed, the water continues to rise rapidly for a
while, and upstream this can mean deep flooding
occurs quickly. One to beware of!
So a bit of everything in March 2006 - except for
decent convective weather of course!
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