I've been wanting to go back to this place for ages actually, but it's a big walk from the nearest car park, across many headlands and cliff-tops, but I'd made special arrangements with a local holiday site which made a big difference to me getting the late evening shots without having to cliff walk back in total darkness and in gale force winds. The other beauty about it's inaccessibility is the lack of people there, until the summer of course when powerboats, jet skis and yachts are all being launched there from the beach, and the holiday makers adorn the beach, don't get me wrong, this is a GOOD place and a stunning location to have a holiday but for me of course, winter time is the only time I want to be here, Hard to find solitude when power boats are toing and froing. That said, fighter jets launching from the nearby RAF base is not exactly quiet either ! :-)
|Succession of Promises|
The tide was at extreme ebb when I arrived, I pulled on my Wellies, KNOWING this would be a wet beach afternoon, and plodded down to the water's edge, well I say water's edge, the powerful windblown waves were racing maybe 40 feet up the beach on each plunge so I was immediately up to my knees in sea-water, the Wellies 'just' high enough to stop me feet getting soaked at first base! You can see why this place is called Silver Bay - the air was crystal clear, even with the waves creating so much spray, the wind was fresh and sharp, clouds doilyed their way across the smooth blue sky, mimicking the patterns of foam and wave crests in the sea below. On each retreat of the waves an immaculate smooth stretch of sand was revealed, hard and clean, except for the beautiful patterns left left by the back-surge.
It was cold once again, even in the sun, and my gloves were on for most of the walk, and especially useful when carrying my aluminium tripod, which is the only one I dare use in the sea itself. You see carbon fibre swells, 'furs up' and then snaps the immovable cast alloy brackets ! (see previous blog posts from late 2009). I walked the length of the beach in shallow sea water, fascinated and inspired by natures ease at creating pattern. I was enjoying the sound of the sea, though the roar of the jet engines was intense for the whole time I was there. Helicopters were taking off and landing and doing manoeuvres out at sea. I imagined soon-to-be-wed Prince William, piloting his chopper over large seas whilst Kate was somewhere out in the landscape taking photographs. I thought about sharing my flask of coffee with her if we bumped into each other, but we never did.
And then something disturbing again, though I have seen it here before. The beautiful grassy headland with views right out over Cymyran, is fenced off with barbed wire and a large wooden gate which makes it quite obvious that no-one must walk on this cliff-top. Even more surprisingly the fence makes its way right out over the rocks as well, to stop anyone daring to get around via the coast. If it were a garden, or house, I'd sort of understand, but a grassy cliff-top with stunning views, and only a set of cattle-filled muddy fields behind hardly seems to warrant such defensive territorialism ? Even though there was no-one around I didn't break the boundary, but not out of respect, I find it immoral to stop maritime British people access to their own coast. Anglesey seems one of the few places where a coastal footpath is no such thing - Cornwall has much better rights of access, and think of how famous their coastal footpath is ?
|Wave After Wave of Explosions|
I crouched amongst the permitted cliffs to shoot huge explosions of waves pounding at a small gully. They were backlit by intense sunlight, performing against against a black horizon - massive contrast and massive seas (for Anglesey at least). My camera got covered in spray no matter how fast I hid it after each wave break, and I was making desperate but somewhat vain attempts to clean the filter using my Selvyt cloth!
I retreated to the beach as one too many large waves soaked my Wellies. I made the most of enjoying the dusk, the incoming sea and surging waves in the half light. The jets seemed louder than ever, doing vertical ascents with their engines definitely aimed straight at me, I know ! William and his crews were still flying two helicopters all around the coast, hovering, landing, taking off, endlessly. My ears were ringing and my head was humming with all the noise. Almost back at the van, and through the dark clouds came an amazing salmon-pink light, spreading across the horizon! It reflected off the flat spots between waves and drew colour into the stormy depths. Then the rain started as I shot some frames of a huge log in the surf, washed up by the sea, the waves at this point actually filling my boots, and then the light was gone, as always happens, as quickly as it came.
I sat in the van with a hot coffee and two caramel wafers, and for the first time that day I found silence and relaxation. I didn't really want to turn the engine on, which would re-trigger noise. A beautiful location with so much potential, I just hope there are other days when the whole of the British RAF don't practice within half a mile of here! I'll be having a word with that William ! :-)
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