We’ve been staying with my parents while we wait for our new place to be finished and ready to move into. This week we’ve noticed a family of birds on the wire fencing. I’ve been told they are red crowned sparrows, please correct me if that’s wrong. The Mum and Dad birds have been flying about catching food and feeding the chicks which have been perched on the fence.
My Dad said I should be out photographing them and reluctantly I took out the big camera and stuck on my 100mm lens, the biggest I currently have with me. I eventually managed to get this shot and had to bow down to my Dad and admit he was right. I’ve zoomed into the picture, hence it looks a bit grainy.
Below is what it looks like without zooming in. I did patiently wait one evening to see if I could get another shot with the chick facing me, but alas a certain 3 year old preschooler put paid to that! Still, not bad hey?
The first weekend in August saw us visit Elan Valley for the first time this year. BattleDad and I first discovered it on one of our many bike trips around Mid Wales and immediately fell in love with it.
Elan Valley comprises over 70 square miles of unspoilt nature, reservoirs, rivers, lakes and mountains. Situated just west of Rhayader (Powys) it became a route we took en-route to Aberystwyth and if you ever get the chance to visit you’ll see why it has become a firm favourite of ours. Even better, since we moved to our current house in 2013 it’s closer than ever at just 1 hour and 20 minutes (or 52 miles) away.
Having not been able to go as planned a few weeks before, despite the grey and wet start to the weekend, we decided we’d take a chance and head up anyway after a lie in until 8.30am. We ate toast with BattleKid, and I got some things ready for our picnic which we were taking with us. I packed tapas, freshly baked ciabatta, dips, cold meats, crackers for BattleKid, olives, fruit, some crisps and drinks all round. Along with my camera bag and a change of clothes for BattleKid, we loaded up the Landy and set off just after 10am.
As we drove north on the A470, the weather began to improve a bit. BattleKid had a good 40-50 minute nap on the way up and as we passed Rhayader and headed into Elan Valley he woke up and rejoined us. BattleDad had found a route about a year ago when in Elan Valley with friends on his bike which leads to a picnic area beside one of the dams, Claerwen. We first visited here last October and having discovered the picnic area, this was where we headed to first.
We unpacked the picnic and BattleKid, and set up on one of the benches. I decided to get some shots of BattleKid on my DSLR before we started eating in case he didn’t want to play ball afterwards. After a few minutes we started eating but soon enough we had to abandon the bench in favour for the back of the Landy as the rain came in. Thank god for a huge boot with full head room!
We finished off our lunch and by the time we were done it had stopped raining so we thought we’d have a little walk with BattleKid. We headed down to the riverside where BattleDad decided to teach BattleKid about throwing stones into water, as you do. He had an absolute ball, picking up one stone at a time and throwing it into the water before going back for another. I also got some lovely pictures of my two boys having fun together, unfortunately at the expense of a wet arse! I had sat on ground near the water’s edge to get some shots and got a wet bum for my troubles.
After the stone throwing episode we loaded the car up and headed for a drive around some of the upper reservoirs and dams. While crossing one bridge I saw a photo opportunity so BattleDad pulled over out-of-the-way so I could run back and snap away. It was the first time I’d ever seen the water flowing over the top of the Pen-y-garreg dam and managed to get it on camera from this bridge. I told BattleDad we’d have to stop when we got to the top of the reservoir for more pictures.
When we got there I snapped away while BattleDad chatted to a biker who had stopped. It really was an incredible sight at the top. As I’ve said I’ve never seen the water flowing over the top of the dam before and was glad we saw it this time, as it might be a while before we see it again.
As we left the Pen-y-garreg dam we headed towards Rhayader around the upper lakes and this is when the heavens opened. My Sunday Photo from that weekend sums it up. I’m glad we got our window in between the showers to play with BattleKid and for me to get some photos.
On the way back down the A470 BattleKid snoozed while we chatted on the drive home. We had an early dinner of mince and mash which BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed before baths/showers. BattleKid went down easy enough and BattleDad and I watched the film Kingsman: The Secret Service, which was an easy watching film. We all slept well and BattleKid had another lie in until 8.50am on the Sunday morning. What a treat!
We had a lovely day out to Elan Valley and were looking forward to our forthcoming holiday to Slovenia for some more much-needed family time together. Those holiday diaries will be featured on the blog just as soon as I have time to type them up.