Today's trip starts from the Angel Pub in Llandeilo after our regular Saturday lunch and more importantly to make the most of the last day of my wife's participation in "Dry January". Everyone in our household has a cold. So no one really fancies a long walk especially as it was freezing cold once in the wind.
So it was decided on a bit of a car safari up towards the upper reaches of the Towy valley - Llyn Brianne. This incredibly wild and remote feeling area is beautiful from both a landscape and wildlife perspective. After a short drive from Llandovery, we parked up in the main car park next to the reservoir.
These first few shots are taken from the main reservoir car park looking back down the valley. Although the wind made it feel incredibly cold the view is stunning - well worth the short walk back down the road.
The reservoir was constructed by Wimpey Construction in the late 1960s and early 1970s in order to regulate the flow in the River Tywi to support large potable water abstraction at Nantgaredig in the lower reaches of the river near Carmarthen, providing water to the Felindre water treatment works; the treated water is piped to a large area of South Wales, up to the borders of Cardiff.
Under the reservoir there are a couple of houses, which were flooded to make way for the water reservoir. Before the water level was raised, it was possible to walk to Fannog farmhouse as a "For Sale" sign was once erected on it. It is still possible to see the top of the house when the water levels are low (source Wikipedia)
Though it was about 2 o'clock when I took these photo's, the light wasn't too harsh which made for beautiful light on the faces of the hills opposite.
As with most trips with the family, I tend not to bring my Nikon kit as I only to get a few minutes at a each location before everyone wants to move on. So my new trusty X-T1 with a 27mm f2.8 lens was in my pocket. Although I did soon wish that I had my Nikon with my favourite 24mm f1.4 lens with me, the FijiFilm X-T1 is still great - and I'm trying to resist buying the 10-24mm f4 wide lens available for it.
A short drive to the highest point (about 400m high) and you get a dramatic view back down the reservoir. The roads are passable but as you can see from the picture below, a 4x4 is sensible given all the snow and ice - although there were plenty of non 4x4 cars driving on the road.
I've always been accused of going a bit silly when I have a new hobby (Golf, Fishing etc..) and photography is no exception. I am like a magpie and attracted to lots of new things. At the moment I am doing my very best not to buy one of these……a Rolleiflex square format camera.
After Watching "Which Way is the Front Line from Here?" which tells the story of photographer Tim Hetherington who sadly died in 2011 while reporting on the Libyan conflict, I instantly wanted one. The documentary shows him using this camera to capture some beautiful landscapes and portraits. In you haven't seen this documentary, then watch it to witness the bravery of these people who risk everything to record war, atrocities and crimes that are happening throughout the world today.
I have started to crop my images square just in the vague hope of kidding myself that I don't need this new camera. Although they are not even close to the quality of the images made by Tim, I do love the format, and I will probably cropping square lots more often from now on.
After following the road further around Llyn Brianne you will find yourself at a small Chapel.
Wales’ most remote chapel, Soar-y-Mynydd, stands amidst the hills to the south west of Tregaron, on the road to Llyn Brianne. Although actually near to the headwaters of the River Towy (standing on the banks of the Camddwr) it is worth making the trip out of the Teifi Valley to see this Calvinistic Methodist chapel in its wonderful isolation. It is difficult to get a sense of this isolation from a map, but this is certainly evoked by the trip along the single track road passing several ruined stone buildings (and a strikingly lonely red telephone box and post box), past waterfalls and acres and acres of open land on the way to this simple place of worship. It is worth stopping on the way at the Cwm Berwyn lookout point, which looks down the ice-sculpted U-shaped valley.
The chapel was built in 1822 by request of Rev. Ebenezer Richard of Tregaron, in order to provide for the farmers, who lived in the surrounding area, and for the drovers, who would pass this way on their journey to or from the village. A memorial to Rev. Richard can be found in the churchyard in Tregaron, while a more substantial monument to his son Henry Richard (see Tregaron section), stands a few hundred metres away in the village.
Soar y Mynydd is usually open and it is possible to go inside and sit amongst the tightly packed rows of pews.
Source - Teifi River Trust http://www.teifiriverstrust.com/?page_id=233
I will be returning here again soon but this time alone (with my Nikon). It's a place you can literally loose yourself in - physically and spiritually.
More information on the area can also be found on - The Enchanted Towy website - http://www.enchantedtowy.co.uk/llyn_brianne_and_the_upper_towy.htm