Railings on the Taff

Stuart Herbert’s Photo Diary

Railings on the Taff

Railings on the Taff – © Stuart Herbert

I recently discovered Stuart Herbert’s Photo Diary.

Stuart is an excellent amateur photographer who concentrates on landscapes and Post-Industrial South Wales.

He’s currently documenting the Merthyr Road – the legacy of the industrialisation of the South Wales Valleys from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff Docks.

Stuart is great at capturing the essence of the industrial South Wales valleys and his photos are well worth a look.

You can find Stuart’s photo diary here – http://blog.stuartherbert.com/photography/ and more of his photos on Flickr here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartherbert/

St. Augustine’s Church, Penarth

We visited St Augustine’s Church in Penarth last week.  The church is set high up on the headland between Cardiff Bay and the Bristol Channel.  Its prominent position means that it’s clearly visible for miles around.

I see the church almost every day but have never visited it before.  It has stunning views back across the Bay towards the Pierhead building, Mermaid Quay and the city centre, and then on to the hills and mountains north of Cardiff.

The church is pretty impressive, though the graveyard needs a bit of love and attention.
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Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre

We visited the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre today just south of Brecon.  The centre gives you some background information on the National Park and best of all, as you can see, gives you a great view of Pen y Fan. Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales (886 metres / 2,907 ft above sea-level).

The visitor centre also has some nice tea-rooms with seating outside which is great when it’s sunny – just watch out for the hungry sparrows and chaffinches which pester you for crumbs!

Plenty of car parking if you’re travelling by car though there is a small charge. You can find a location map below.

Cardiff Bay Barrage Art Illusion

A walk across the Cardiff Bay Barrage is a great way to spend a few hours in Cardiff. If you’re in a car then access the barrage from the Penarth end where there’s a large carpark.  If you’re on foot then either walk from the Cardiff Bay visitor centre near the Norwegian Church, or catch a boat across the Bay from Mermaid Quay near the National Assembly Senedd building.

There’s lots to see, there are 3 boat locks between the Bay and the sea that operate every 30 minutes.  From the sea-ward side of the barrage there’s a great view in clear conditions across to Penarth pier, Flat Holm and Steep Holm and the English coast across the Severn. read more

Cardiff International Whitewater Centre, Cardiff Bay

We visited the new Cardiff International Whitewater Centre in Cardiff Bay yesterday.  This is part of the Sports village that is being developed on the west side of the Bay.  Nearby is the Cardiff Arena Ice Rink and the Cardiff International swimming pool.

The pumped river is about 250m long.  It looks lots of fun, you can either try the kayaks or go white water rafting as a group.  Each white water raft has a “captain” on board who ensures that everyone is safe.  It’s not cheap, between £250 and £300 for 6 people but you’re on the water for about 2 hours which is about as long as most people can last for!  It’s pretty tiring!! read more

Why the music industry is dying…

Why the music industry is dying…a friend of mine Em made a great vid of her year in Paris.  She added a backing track that was really apt for the vid.  It’s a track that’s pretty cool.

I hosted the video on YouTube for Emma so her friends could see it. Emma has a lot of friends!

I just received a copyright notice for the vid because it has copyright music in it. So I’ve deleted it.

But when I originally saw the video I thought that’s a pretty cool song, so I tracked it down on iTunes and bought it, with real money.  That’s a real sale because of Em using that track in her video.

Imagine if say only 5% of people who viewed the video thought the same and bought the track, that’s quite a few sales.  But instead UMG would prefer to exert their legal copyright and stop Emma and me using their music to back her video.

So their copyright is protected, but you’ll never know what that great track is, and you’ll never buy it, and they’ll never get your £1.

That’s why the music industry is dying.

St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major

View of St Illtud's church with a snow covered graveyard

St Illtud's Church - north

St Illtud’s church in Llantwit Major is a remarkable place. A church was first set up here by St Illtud in AD520 when he created the first collegiate church and monastery.

It has often been called “the oldest university in the world”. Llanilltud Fawr became the centre of learning throughout Christian Britain.
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Useful South Wales Travel Information

View of a pond and trees in snowy conditionsI’ve been getting lots of visitors over the past day or two looking for information on South Wales travel and M4 webcams.

Here are some previous posts that I’ve done over the last year or so that you may find useful rather than you having to search around:

http://www.south-wales.org/2009/uk-weather-rain-and-snow-radar/

http://www.south-wales.org/2009/m4-motorway-traffic-cams/

You may also find this page useful as it has lots of useful links to all sorts of travel information – http://www.south-wales.org/useful-south-wales-links/

Update: Wednesday 6th January – it seems the webcams are struggling with the load of people trying to have a look.  You may find that they don’t work for you.

Update: Thursday 16th December 2010 – you may find this new page useful – http://www.south-wales.org/2010/useful-information-for-south-wales-snow/

St David’s 2 Shopping Centre, Cardiff

View of the St David's 2 shopping centre

St David's 2

St David’s 2 is a prestigious new shopping centre in the centre of Cardiff. It builds on the existing St David’s shopping centre that houses Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Boots.

With the opening of the new shopping centre in November 2009 it is now possible to shop totally under cover from Cardiff’s main shopping street Queen St. right through to the Cardiff Marriott Hotel on Mill Lane.

Building on Cardiff’s shopping arcade history the centrepiece is a large 2 storey glass-topped arcade that runs from Debenhams through to a massive new John Lewis store. read more

Christmas Travel

winter sceneWith all this bad weather it’s worth highlighting a post I did earlier this year on travel information if you’re travelling by road to, or through, South Wales – http://www.south-wales.org/2009/m4-motorway-traffic-cams/

My Useful South Wales links page also has other travel resources that you may find useful – http://www.south-wales.org/useful-south-wales-links/ especially if you’re travelling by train, coach or plane.

Trials bikes at Ogmore by Sea

Trials bikes on the rocks at Ogmore by SeaA couple of weeks ago we walked from Ogmore by Sea to Southerndown.  It’s a great walk along the coastal path with great views across the Bristol Channel.

As we passed one of the bays I spotted these Trials bikes practising on the limestone slabs.  Click on the photo for a better view.

It looked like a lot of fun and the guys were pretty skilled. Pretty impressive 🙂

Update 26th January 2010: it seems one of the riders was Dave Kerr – both guys are top of their sport in the UK

Nice view of Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

We had a nice walk around Cardiff Bay last weekend just as the sun was setting.  The light was really nice though it was a bit cold for me!

You can see the Pierhead Building to the left, the Senedd next to it and the Atradius building with the sloping roof to the right.

It’s well worth a walk around the Bay and now that the pathway across the Barrage is open you can now walk all the way across to Penarth.

Be warned though that the path gates are closed at 8pm so make sure you are back before then.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

WRC Rally of Great Britain hits Cardiff Bay

Sébastien Loeb's Citroen Rally carThe WRC Rally of Great Britain hits Cardiff again this weekend.  The focal point in the City has moved from Cathays Park in the centre down to the Oval Basin in Cardiff Bay.

The service park will be located in the Bay with a spectators village in the Oval Basin (Roald Dahl Plass).

The Bay is currently a hive of activity as tents, cars and stalls are being set up.

The picture shows Sébastien Loeb’s car outside the Citroen stand this afternoon. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Mumbles and Mumbles Pier

Mumbles Pier

Mumbles Pier

We’ve recently had a few days in Mumbles staying at the excellent Patrick’s With Rooms hotel.  Mumbles is a great place to visit – it’s right on the seafront with fantastic views right round Swansea Bay.  You can promenade around the Bay for several miles if you wish.

Mumbles Village is great for just spending a few hours – it has lots of little shops, quite a few pubs and great cafés and restaurants.  There’s a good children’s playground and crazy golf (just opposite Patrick’s) and the kids will love the beach at Bracelet Bay and rock-pools when the tide is out.  Note: when the tide is in there’s no beach at all and be warned – the tide comes in quickly here. Check the tides here before you visit. read more