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Tuesday, 6 December 2011


The Wedding Present Town; Portugal's most romantic medieval village
All of Obidos has been declared a national monument.
It is known as the "Wedding Present Town" because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282, but that alone is not what makes it such an extraordinarily romantic place -- what make it one of Europe's most romantic medieval villages are its incredibly picturesque cobblestone streets lined with colourful houses filled with geraniums and bougainvillea, Gothic doorways and windows, whitewashed churches, flowerpots and dazzling tiles -- all encircled by the walls of a 12th century castle. Scaling its 13m (45ft)-high medieval walls is the best way to admire this picture postcard-perfect place.
The main street ("Rua Direita") leads from the town gate (decorated with 18th century tile panels) to the main square (Praça de Santa Maria). It has a beautiful fountain, a 15th century pillory, the Town Museum (with exhibits ranging from archaeological finds to 15-17th centuries sculpture and paintings), and Santa Maria Church. That's where 10-year-old King Afonso V married his 8-year-old cousin Isabel in 1444, with an interior entirely faced with tiles and containing the tomb of João de Noronha, the castle governor who died in 1575. Close by is Misericordia Church (with a fine Baroque doorway), while outside the walls is the Amoreira Aqueduct, built at the behest of Catherine of Austria in 1575

Colour is the name of the game in this little gem of a town

Bright colours and a pride in their town made Obidos a very special place to visit

The local tipple

Óbidos remains a well-preserved example of medieval architecture; its streets, squares, walls and its castle are a popular tourist destination.

It is possible to walk around the whole perimiter of the town via the original walls, not a lot of regard to health & safety with some mighty unprotected drops of 10 meters or more to the roads below--great stuff

Bags of places

Beautifuly maintained cobbled streets

An old bicycle used as a clothes display in a local shop

An old bicycle used as a clothes display in a local shop

The castle and walls of Obidos

The streets of Obidos were a warren of suprises and colours

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Mynydd Mawr

From the saddle of Mynydd Mawr looking towards Snowdon

Snowdon and beyond from the ridge leading to the summit of Mynydd Mawr

The summit of Mynydd Mawr

Mynydd Tal y Mignedd on the Nantlle Ridge
Mynydd Mawr or Big Mountain lies in the Nantlle region and at 698mtr is not very "mawr" at is known locally as Elephant Mountain due to its profile as seen from the north.The summit carries an ancient burial cairn much of which has been used to erect a small open shelter, on this day I climbed up from Planwydd Farn at the western end of Llyn Cwellyn which gives great views on to the Llechog face of Snowdon and on to the summit itself, there ar fine views on the the Glyders and Tryfan beyond too.I undertook the ascent on the 13th of November and despite the date it was warm enough to only wear a T shirt during the ascent, I saw a Red Admiral butterfly on the wing, a huge caterpillar and was buzzed by a Bumble Bee on the summit, the only downside was the howling gusts on the summit ridge and the summit itself, approx 60 mph and almost impossible to stand up at some point.The summit of Mynydd Mawr and its immediate surrounds has witnessed two air crashes, the first being a De Havilland Mosquito on 1st of November 1944 and the second a De Havilland Vampire on the 12 October 1956

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride
Two contrasting photographs, the first taken in 1968 and the second in 2010.
As a schoolboy my friends and I would often jump the 73 bus from Penny Lane and head to town,after a Wimpy and going into Nems Records where they gave you albums to take into a small booth in which there was a turntable and a pair of headphones, after a few hours in the town we would head out and explore. I inveriably had a camera of sorts with me and on this partucular day we ended up at the Anglican Cathedral,I can now confess some 43 years later that we found an open door in the tower and climbed to the top via a vertical ladder, not allowed by any means but we weren't caught and got away with it.
The waste ground had only the remains of a childrens playground and this roundabout was all that was left.My friends on the roudabout Laurence and Paul struck this pose which summed up the decade.
There was talk for many years that the area was to be landscaped and grassed over to create a formal garden/park with the majestic cathedral as a backdrop.The second photograph shows the pace of progress, the university were given permission to erect student accommodation in front of the building and also some private houses were erected too.
It seems to me now that the park option was never considered and as "Money Talks" the  developers got their way, it would have been a wonderful vista and a great place to spend an afternoon with the sun over the Mersey and the sandstone glowing brightly as it catches the tower and the wings of the largest Anglican cathedral and church in the world.
Ah well, progress

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Going With The Wind
During the last winter we had a huge dump of snow,this image was taken on a short walk from home.
The snow was untouched, these trees had bent over the years with the harsh winds that blow over the ridge, but on this day it was breathless. One in a million.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Half Way House

Another shot from the Llyn y Dywarchen set, this is the remains of the "beudy" (Cowshed, Byre,Shippon) which was part of the small farmstead.Although set in a very idylic location amongst the mountains with a lake as the main focal point it was still a very harsh way to exist.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Presence 
It was one of those days when the light was just perfect,crystal clear and you could see for miles.
This image was taken from the shore line of Llyn y Dywarchen close to the small village of Rhyd Ddu, it shows Snowdon and the cliffs of Llechog falling into the cwm .I was born and bought up with this view as a child and I am often drawn back to it as a photographer.Although I have ommited the classic "Island View" of this lake I prefer this viwepoint as it is a little different to the norm.There are a couple of derelict buildings here which add to the foreground interest, the one shown in this image is an old barn and to the left of this image is the remains of the farmhouse (see other posted image)
 The island itself is also interesting and is mentioned in Geraldus of Wales's history, it is also very mythical and has local tales of Tylwyth Teg (Fairy People).Edmund Halley (1656-1742) the Astronomer Royal also visited the area and swam out to the island .
After The Mist There Will Be Sunshine

Taken one morning in October on the way to work, the mist was hanging in the valley and was draped over the lake like a soft blanket, the fishing boats were just visible through the mist with a cormorant drying his wings.

This photograph appeared in the Daily Telegraph Readers Section "Autumn Colours"

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Pioneering Spirits

 The farmhouse at Llyn y Dywarchen, Rhyd Ddu. No road, no running water, no easy access to civilisation, this really was the pioneering spirit. This dwelling most probably dates back to the early 18c when many small farmsteads were built within the shadow of Snowdon.