3 November 2018 - The science of sunrise - PART 1

 I watched the weather forecast yesterday, the one with the squiggly lines and the moving circles and I said to myself based upon the information presented "There is the possibility of a sunrise tomorrow but I don't think we'll see the sun for long". My thinking here is that there was a high to the east, which means clear skies and a low over our heads that arrived late yesterday evening, which means clouds not so far away in the distance and we might see the sun in between the land and the clouds as long as the clouds don't stretch as far as the horizon. So how far away is the horizon. I'm going to google that right now and the answer is.........

"For a six-foot tall person, the horizon is a little more than 3 miles (5 km) away. Geometry tells us that the distance of the horizon i.e. the farthest point the eye can see before Earth curves out beneath our view depends simply on the height of the observer."

Conveniently I'm 6 foot tall less a little shrinkage but if I'm standing on a hill that's 457 metres tall and about 5 metres below the summit then that's 457 - 5 + 2 = 454 metres high so that would mean if I was observing the sun rising above sea level then the horizon would be (454 divided by 1.83 (6 foot in metres) (= 247.54) x 1.5 = 371) 371 miles away which is quite a distance. The critical numbers here are that 3 feet = 1.5 miles or 1 metre equals 2.5 kilometers. However, if the sunrise I'm observing is rising above another hill or hills in the distance then whether or not I could see the horizon would depend on the angle of descent between the two hills assuming that is, I've picked a point higher than the hills in between me and the horizon. This I believe is where trigonometry will come into play and I'm not prepared to get that scientific unless I become a professional sunrise and sunset observer.

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Back to this morning's sunrise and my prediction nailed the sunrise on the head. The sun was only visible for 4 minutes and never at one time was it wholly visible. It rose above he mountain and disappeared into the clouds. Below are three photos, the top, middle and bottom of today's sunrise and above is a lighter shot showing the village of Abercanaid, just to the south of Merthyr Tydfil.


But why Mynydd Aberdare for the second successive Saturday. Remember I said I had a memory like a sieve which is why I've created this blog, well Mr Dozy, that's me left Harry the head torch on the mountain last week. Last night I planned a longer trek to the other side of Aberdare, near to the electricty line I photographed at sunrise on the 22 October when I discovered Harry missing. By the powers of deduction I worked out that I could have left him on the mountain when I re-packed my bag last week for the return journey. When I arrived at the top of the mountain, there he was, lonely with just the trig point for company but he was still working like the true champion he is. Result :)

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6 November 2018 - Iron man not Ironman

I touched briefly last month on iron content in rocks. Today I came across a superb example of a coal seam and ironstone or rock with iron content. There is an amazing chunk of ironstone that has formed around something, it looks like a rib cage or maybe a clump of branches. Whatever it has formed around has disintegrated. The coal seam is only about a foot deep but there were some nice pieces of coal dotted about. I'd love to know more about the Ironstone if any geologists out there can shed some light on the 'rib cage rock'. CLICK HERE to visit my personal website with links to a contact page.


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7 November 2018 - NEATH-PORT TALBOT TOUR - walk 28

Dale and I continued on the 'Tour of Neath-Port Talbot' with another leg on the St Illtyd's Walk. Again there were discrepancies in the route information, what is shown as the route on the ordnance survey map and the on route signage are totally different. Not that it mattered today, both Dale and I have ridden this area extensively on our mountain bikes but what we hadn't ridden was the route as it's marked on the ground. This was a plus because the route was really nice in open country across open fields on the top of a mountain as opposed to forestry tracks. Starting in Caerau, Maesteg it was quite a trek to where we left off the last walk on June 30th . On joining the St Illtyd's Walk, we followed it to the Afan Forest Visitor Centre . This is a great location which includes the South Wales Miners Museum and a cafe. After visiting the centre we doubled back on ourselves for a while before the path split for an alternate route back to Caerau. There was major bonus ahead as this route passed through the prominent coal tips above the village of Duffryn Rhondda. These tips tower over the village and are quite noticeable as you drive through the Afan Valley. The tips are the spoil heaps of the Duffryn Rhondda Coal Company which operated in the valley below from sometime before 1880 to 1967. I believe they are heritage protected from removal or alteration. Our path cut right through these remnants of our industrial past.

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It rained for most of the trip so the camera stayed tucked away in the dry apart from the two above shots.



When I was growing up, back in the dark ages, we'd ask each other, how do you spell Tenby, and the answer of course is 1b, 2b, 3b, 4b etc. I never got on with algebra in school, it was always confusing and spelling Tenby was the closest I ever came to getting an algebraic sum correct. We were staying overnight in Habititabities on the outskirts of Tenby with the intention of walking early the next morning but on arriving a little early at Habititabities and there were still 90 minutes of light left in the day a short walk was definitely on the cards. Where to go was not really an option, the beach was calling even though the weather was not the best with heavy showers every 20 minutes or so. It struck me that if I was in Tenby then at least I should try and do a walk that relates to the spelling Tenby connection and so post walk I set my mind to the task. There are two b's in Habititabities so technically if I wanted to spell out Tenby on a walk I should find a place with only one b to start. Bosnia springs to mind, Bogota is another or I could travel to the Baltic Sea and back again maybe but these are all a bit far away so I settled on starting with 'b' for beach because the beach was our destination, my 10b walk started to take shape and as I was hitting the sack my 10b walk looked something like this:

1b = We are going to the Beach

2b = We are staying at Habititabities

3b = we are walking via a Bridleway

    4b-9b = I'll have to come Back again because more research is needed to find some B's on route.

10b = North Beach & South Beach, Tenby, our final destination


13 November 2018


What a great sleep................ Looking at last nights blog I can see I've gone off on a tangent and have failed to record the walk, more on that..............

We made it to the beach and the heavens opened but luckily there were a couple of shelters. When the rain had packed in it's nonsense we emerged to the changing colours of the sunset. Following our noses we eventually ended up above South Beach where the sun had set in the distance. Not the best of sunsets but it's a cracking spot for future reference because I bet there are some amazing ones from the South Beach Esplanade.

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On my sunrise walk to the beach I learned to spell Tenby again.


1b boots 34-boots.jpg (242098 bytes) Get you boots on David, its almost sunrise and time for a walk
2b Bryn Hir 17-bryn-hir-woodland.jpg (738396 bytes) 14-bryn-hir-woodland-2.jpg (570861 bytes) Head out into the garden and Bryn Hir woods. 
3b bird 00w-bird.jpg (287948 bytes) The way to go is to head for the bird in the corner of the field
4b bridleway 00y-bridleway.jpg (668720 bytes) Once you are at the bird turn right onto the bridleway
5b  battle 58-brynhir-save.jpg (256134 bytes) 49-battle-sign01.jpg (359664 bytes) 48-battle-sign02.jpg (200362 bytes) 47-battle-sign03.jpg (112530 bytes) 44-battle-sign04.jpg (357290 bytes) 46-battle-chairs.jpg (404853 bytes) 45-battle-sign04.jpg (504068 bytes) At the crossroads yesterday we went straight ahead but this is the scene of a battle, local residents are trying to save the field we walked through from housing development. This is their facebook page.


I'm in full agreement with the group, we need to keep this type of recreation space for the future generations. Please support this group if you are able.

6b bike path 25-bike-path.jpg (513798 bytes) so I turned left and continued on the bridleway to the bike path, this is the main route to London if you ever fancied a long ride. 
7b brynteg 21.jpg (105318 bytes) The bike path met the main road for a short stretch and I  remembered to turn left after the Brynteg Dental Practice.
8b bin 03-bin.jpg (448005 bytes) 02-north-beach-tenby-steps.jpg (427874 bytes) Up towards the car park, up the steps and onto the road. Pass the bin hiding behind the car in the photo, the down the steps..............
9b beach 01-2018-11-13-boat-shed-nf.jpg (49485 bytes)  ............. and it's on to the beach. I'm so focussed on trying to get a good shot of Goscar rock with the lifeboat station in the background that I'm caught with the wrong lens on the camera and I almost miss the sun rising around the corner, a quick readjust of the position to say................
TENBY boat house 56-2018-11-13-ss-boat-shed0.jpg (103338 bytes) 55-2018-11-13-ss-boat-shed0.jpg (57803 bytes) .............. good morning to the life boat house, is that the sun that's just rolled down your ramp?



Our lunchtime walk today from Habititabities took us to Tenby the long way round, via Waterwynch Bay, unfortunately the tide was in at Waterwynch, it would have been nice to have walked out onto some sand but beggars can't be choosers. What I like about this type of bay with the steep sided cliffs are the different layers of rock, I can spend all day just wondering how these came to be, there are so many unanswered questions hidden amongst these rocks. 


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walk route Waterwynch Bay Unanswered questions my attempt at photo art Waterwynch Bay - rules and regs


From Waterwynch we headed up and out of the bay to Tenby on the coast path, it was quite a climb out of the bay, with the occasional bench for a rest.


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The coast path passes through Allen's Point, an area looked after by the Tenby Civic Society. We took time out to appreciate the sculptures of the birds there, an amazing job by the society. 

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Once in Tenby, we strolled around the shops and settled on lunch at the Three Mariners. Following this we headed to the Albert monument on Castle Hill and the Lifeboat Station with its impressive Tamar class lifeboat before heading back to Habititabities via the bike path and bridleway. A 4-5 hour walk covering approximately 5-6 miles.


After a quick coffee and rest back at HQ (Habititabities) we headed to South Beach in the car for a sunset walk minus the sun. It was just a short one just in case there was a nice sunset to be viewed. My forecast said no and there wasn't a patch of red, orange or pink to be seen anywhere in the sky. There was however a photographic opportunity and for the second time today the timing was slightly out and I missed a dramatic arms and legs everywhere wipe out by this kite surfer.

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Fair play to the guy, he was travelling back and forth between the beach and a point about three quarters of a mile out in the direction of Caldey Island. He had full control of his kite and he needed it because the wind was strong and quite gusty. He travelled all the way to the beach to show me this wipe out and the camera missed the best shot of his arms and legs everywhere. I can't blame myself here because my finger was on the button and from the first to the third photo. I suppose the technical explanation is that there wasn't enough light for a faster shutter speed. Maybe next time. 

I also took a photo of Saint Catherine's Fort which was featured in the last episode of Sherlock. Also featured is a strange looking bloke guarding the entrance to a corridor. Mr Moriarty is extremely cheeky in this scene but he is no match for the poker faced actor, also known as Dai Richards.

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St Catherine's Island, Tenby, open to the public at certain times, please see info leaflet below.

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After some shopping in the local Sainsbury's it was back to Habititabities for another comfy sleep. We'd recommend this property for walkers, it is ideal for exploring Tenby and the surrounding area and is also close enough to the coastal path. 

For more information or to contact the property owner please click on one of the links below.

 www.habititabities.co.uk  -  Facebook page

18 November 2018

It was a lovely sunny day so off to Aberavon Beach we for a guaranteed sunset. We didn't quite make it to the Ferry Bend which would have given the best angle for the sun dropping below the horizon but the waves wouldn't have been as high there so we struck a happy medium with the whole Mumbles, sun and waves equation. 

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About to go going going going gone (almost)



I just needed this bird to be a little higher and a little to the right for the perfect shot. I didn't see him of course, he just appeared when I downloaded the photos. 

19 November 2018 - Jersey Marine sunset

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I took a long ride on the mountain bike followed by a short walk on Jersey Marine beach to catch what was a possible super-sunset, no joy however as the clouds were not playing ball with the sun. 


22 November 2018 - Rhondda sunrise

I've been working on achieving a half decent photograph of the sunrise from Pen-Pych for the last couple of weeks now. Pen-Pych is the spur above Blaenrhondda that juts out on it's own with views down the Rhondda Valley. Previously I've always hit Pen-Pych from the Craig-y-Llyn ridge above and on a mountain bike but this is a 2 hour ride to get there and the temperature is dropping so today I decided on a different approach, from below and walking. Parking at the Penpych Woodland Park I followed an old track to the top of the mountain arriving 15 minutes before sunrise. The temperature was 0 degrees in the car when I arrived and with the wind chill factor I reckon about -3 on Pen-Pych. My thin gloves didn't do the trick on their own so I hopped into my survival bag and attempted to keep them out of the wind and to warm me up. One coffee later a blood red sun rose up at the valley end and lit up the valley slowly but surely.............

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25 November 2018

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My youngest daughter Victoria was home for the weekend to celebrate her birthday. On the Saturday evening we walked to the pub to see the Welsh rugby team give her the present of beating South Africa (again) followed by a karaoke. Nursing hangovers we all met on Sunday morning for a walk with the grandkids Gethin and Korra. This was Korra's first extended walk outside of the buggy so it is worth recording here. Just one week short of her 1st birthday she is toddling along remarkably well. Parking at the Rhyslyn in Pontrhydyfen we strolled up to the Afan Forest Centre for a coffee and kit-kat and back again stopping off at the bike skills park so Gethin could fine tune his riding skills. The kids skills area at Afan is a fantastic facility and its hats off to National Resources Wales for providing it. The thumbnails below are the information boards at this location.

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