quarta-feira, 26 de agosto de 2009

Day 18 - alfred watkins photos

Day 18

looking through you


Ok, how things works: when I went to Abergawane last Saturday, the lady of the bus company told me she could even sell the ticket to me, not even if I stop in other city to take another bus. No service to Abergawane.

I took a bus to Cardiff and from there I took the train and the trip costs me £ 5 the bus and £ 18.70 the train, £ 23.70 the whole. For my budget is a bit too much, but it’s ok.

Today in the morning I just went to the bus station to take the same bus to Cardiff to take the same train to Abergawane (but actually I was going further on, to Hereford), and for my surprise there were a bus straight to Abergawane for £ 8. Of course I jumped up and went happy amongst a crew of older people.

Now, is it me or there’s something wrong with the attendants?

Getting to Hereford was easy too, just some more £ 4.40 and the bus drop me at the city center.

I tried to use my “Tourist Information Bureau” skills but this time I had no such a luck. The only available room I could get was £ 40, which is the double of the average i’ve been spending, and almost my budget for the day.

Well I just can’t be bothered. I have two more days before going to London, and get some more money, and I have enough for until. So just relaxed and went to what I came for.


That’s right, the Museum and Gallery that the guys from the Alfred Watkins Project told me. They should have a lot of information and a collection on Watkins photographs. So I had to go there. The museum is quite simple but it has a vivid atmosphere. It is not allowed to take photos of the collection, which is simple and basically ranges from Natural Science to Pop music, not forgetting Medieval hats and the world famous Bee Meter, one of the first apparatus to fix time exposure for photos (invention of Alfred Watkins). A bit too much? Not until you get there. The museum is a bit of everything. But there I could not find what I was looking for. The woman told me to look for the reference library, in other area of the building and there I could not only find a huge collection of around 1500 prints of his photographs as I could (for a modest fee) photograph them. Fair enough, I spend the whole day immerse in Watkins beautiful universe, and could learn a bit more about him.

Through his photos we follow Watkins for at least 45 years of traveling and registering the folk life of Herefordshire. He could witness the traditional ways of production, the old country traditions that were about to disappear. He had a true interest in architecture, botanic, biology, social organizations, archeology, traditions from ancient civilizations, engineering instruments, and sometimes simple things as clouds. So, yes, he had such a wide range of interests, beside his own professional ones. Yes, because Alfred Watkins was an inventor (he invented amongst other things the already mentioned Bee Meter, the Pin Hole camera and instruments for measurements), and commercial manager of his father’s brewery and mill, and had his own business (and bees). He looks very much someone interested in its time, with unending curiosity.

instrument designed and produced by him

Watkins researchs on ancient Britain and documentation for Hereford Museum

this was in an envelop tagged "Clouds"

some old bees house in England. this is according to Watkins the last time he saw one of this kind.

The Ley lines idea came to him when he was 65 years old, after he had seem a lot of the countryside and know very well the histories of the folk which lived there, so far from being disconnected from any real basis, the Ley lines would bring back something that’s been hidden but still visible through the right angle.

some Ley lines registred by Alfred Watkins

There were his maps, photos and illustrations for the “Old Straight Track”, which is from particular interest to me.

some maps and anotations for "The Old Straight Track"

I had time to look around 600 photographs, and will try to see the rest tomorrow. It was hard to select the photos to post, because all of them look so beautiful.

It will be my last day before going to London, so I will need to get ready for this too.

But I am happy, I had this little treasure in my hands for a while.

segunda-feira, 24 de agosto de 2009


I heard about Seahenge for the first time this week, take a look:

day 16

Day 16

“ did you see the graves today with weeds all overgrown?”

(r wakeman)

Another grey morning in Swansea. As the forecast say it would not have rains, I just pick a light coat, as it was chilly, and went to explore the Gower peninsula. Things were not as I expected, as the bus services during the Sundays are quite poor, so I had to choose between wait for two hours for a coast cruiser or pick one to the middle of the way. I choose the quick one and it was not good option, as the bus would not really anywhere. As I acquired the ticket for the whole day I left close to the Killay park, but the rain was tough, so I give up and went back to town. Try to take another bus, but that one won’t take my ticket and I did not want to spend more money on that. So going home feeling miserable I found a bus to Pennard which was actually a good choice, for I could go after Parc Cwn and Pen Maen Burrows, both burial chambers.


Pennard Cliffs

When I arrived in Pennard I had no much idea of where to start, as the maps on the area are very poor. I decided the walk around the coast through the cliffs, and it was lovely. I was followed by an Irish Setter most of the time. It took me a while to understand the whole place, but basically all is around the mouth of a river.

I got a friend

more of Pennard Cliffs

the Three Cliffs

The tide changes here is the second in the world, and I had seem it in other areas of Wales. Today the tide was low, so the valley of the river could be crossed easily. The cliffs were all exposed and it was possible to walk through them. There is a castle which gives name to the area, Pennard castle, in the top of a little mountain.

Pennard Castle

the Three Cliffs at the low tide

It wasn’t very easy to find the burial chamber in the field, as I had no much idea of how it looked or where it was. These chambers, quoits or dolmens, call it as you want, are not very big and mostly very poorly signed, so it is quite possible to miss it if you are not aware. But I did found it in a meadow, with two standing stones and a huge capstone fallen. It was taken by the plants around and looked just forgotten there.

Penn Maen Burrows


the Gowan Way

Leaving the cliffs I figured a mountain and a path. As I wish to see the area from the top, I went up and realized that it was in a park called Cefn Bryn, and decided walk around there. My short experience with the monoliths teach me the most of them are in high places, close to the top (but strangely never on the very top) of the mountains.

wild poneys in Gowan Way

As I started to walk that extraordinarily well paved track, I realized that it was much bigger than I thought. In fact it was the Gower Way, inaugurated by the Prince of Wales itself, and it cover the higher areas on the peninsula. From there is possible to see both sides of the sea and most of Gower. Walking close to the main track I spoted some stones around and found some that looked much like a quoit, although it is not described in any map or guide.

loose stones at Cefn Bryn, or alignements?

the other side of Gowan Peninsula

Some other stones around showed much like they were placed there, and some of them had some clear alignments which it’s been rare to observe so far. In fact a very famous quoit named Arthur’s Stone is not far from there. Not to take the name very seriously, because, as we’ve seem in Glastonbury, apparently no other character in England has been buried so many times as Arthur. In the area there’s a lot more to explore, including the Cat Hole Cave and an Iron age hill possible to be seem from the top of Cefn Bryn.

Tomorrow I must come back and try to reach some those sites. It will be probably my last day in Swansea, and the buses must be in their regular time, so I think I can do it without wasting so much time. Sometimes buses and transport or bad weather leaves me irritated, but the beauty of the sites, and discovering new and exciting places makes the balance.

Again is hard to say if I have found any Ley line, but today I had this vision of some aligned stones starting at the quoit, and I could have a glimpse of how it would look.

In the end it was a bad start but a very surprising day.