Looking back on 2016….

I’ve always lived my life day by day, week by week, month by month. A pretty simple way of living but one that has served me well. Going in to 2016 I decided that I needed to inject a little something extra in to my life and this was going to be more adventure. You could almost say that this decision had made itself, thanks to a competition win with the outdoor brand Salewa, who 9 weeks in to 2016 would be taking me, my lovely wife and a group of like-minded Europeans on a two and half day guided snow-shoe trek through the Dolomites. The excitement that winning a place on this mini-adventure had instilled in me had prompted some reflection upon my own attempts at adventure during 2015 and I’d decided that whilst photography had been a great medium for getting me out in my beautiful Beacons regularly, it had also made me  lazy. I know that may sound quite strange, but before I picked up a camera, I was going much further and staying out longer. My outings had now become more about the making of a photograph and I had started to lose sight of why I went in to the hills in the first place.

Starting 2016 with this was exciting! Now ending it feeling like I’ve achieved this, is incredibly satisfying! From the first snow in January to the coldest night of the year in December, I have walked and wild-camped more this year than in any other and I have enjoyed every outing. The wild-camps haven’t always been comfortable. I think it’s fair to say that after my first few attempts this year I was left questioning why I was even bothering, with sleep being hard to come by and staying warm an achievement just out of my reach. But I am nothing if not enthusiastic and I stuck with it, acquiring the right skills, knowledge and equipment as I went. I was given a huge boost in April, when a new outdoor brand called OEX  saw something in my photographs and gave me their top of the range Cougar Evolution tent, a very kind gesture and one that has gone a long way to keeping me comfortable on my nights out in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonian mountains. I guess quite fitting that in December I was camped by my favourite mountain lake on the coldest night of the year (-10°C reported a few hundred meters below in a nearby village)  and I am pleased to report that I slept like a log.

Llyn Y Fan Fawr

Llyn Y Fan Fawr wild camp

I have also pushed myself to branch out a little this last year. Our competition win with Salewa played a large role in this. 2 1/2 days of snow-shoeing through the gorgeous Dolomite’s was a first big mountain experience….


….which though exhausting, it did motivate me to seek out Wales’ own big mountain experiences, the rugged peaks of the Snowdonia. Previous visits here had resulted in the typical Snowdon summit and little else, as if there’s nothing more of note in Wales’ most epic national park.  I’ve not found as much time as I would’ve liked to head up north, though I have made sure each one counted and they’ve given me some of my most exciting mountain experiences,  with a heart pounding scramble up Tryfan’s north ridge and an awe-inspiring wild camp on Glyder Fach topping the list! odds (1 of 1)-5gyder fach

Glyder Fach Wild camp

Whether a result of the above or not, I can’t talk about 2016 without speaking about the effect the change in attitude and behaviour toward the outdoors has had on my photography. Not necessarily on the quality of photographs, as I feel this has been relatively consistent over the last 2 years, but certainly in the frequency and variety that I have been able to share and of the direct benefit this has brought, which has given some noteworthy reward – beginning the year with a commissioned piece in Outdoor Photography Magazine and ending it with my favourite yet, a huge piece on the Brecon Beacons in December’s issue of The Great Outdoors Magazine. The Great Outdoors have been very good to me this year,  with my photographs being commissioned for the “Escape” feature on several occasions.  I’ve also been interviewed for online promotions by both Outdoor Photography and Birchall Tea, plus had a commended image in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 and made it in to the years book, aswell as having a spot in the 10 year anniversary edition, all achievements that I am immensely proud of!

I suppose that leaves 2017 which I’ve already dubbed “My Year of Adventure”. A year I had hoped to start as one of The Ordnance Surveys #GetOutside champions, which sadly isn’t to be. But I will still be going in with a mentality and attitude that I hope will help to motivate, enthuse and encourage others to take advantage of the great outdoors. How that is going to look I am not quite sure, though writing more about my experiences will feature heavily. With exploits like hiking the Beacons Way, Icelands Laugavegur Trail,  wintry wild camps in Snowdonia and maybe an entry in to bike-packing, I hope to have lots to waffle on about!

Thank you for your support in 2016!


 Llyn Y Fan Fach

The Big Four (1 of 2)

salewa (13 of 27)

Glyder Fach wild camp-4

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Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, snow, Sunrise, Sunset, Wales Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Getting Vertical With Salewa…..

Our guided Snow-shoe trek in the awe-inspring Italian mountains – The Dolomites.

In October / November last year a sponsored post popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, offering entry into a competition in which the winners would receive an unforgettable mountain experience.. but of course people never actually win those do they! At least never me anyway, but I was feeling lucky and there were Manfrotto Off-Road Tripod’s up for grabs also, which was something I was could definitely use!

So I entered the competition, which entailed a short game where you had to guess the correct items of clothing & equipment needed for your chosen “mountain experience” , in my case this was Snow-Shoe hiking through the Italian Dolomites. Followed by being asked for a few words about why you would wanted to be apart of this incredible opportunity.. Well that bits obvious, who wouldn’t 🙂

That was it.. Done… I entered the competition.. Then completely forgot about it!

Then on December 17th I received an email saying that I had won a place on the Get Vertical Winter Base Camp Experience in Alta Badia.. I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was a joke. People never win these holidays!! At least not me! At the time I was on a Stag Do in North Wales and signal was very poor, so trying to find out the specifics of what I had won was very difficult and involved a bit of a confused, yet cautiously excited phone call to my wife back home to get her to find out just how lucky we had been. I really dread to think how many emails the team at Salewa must’ve had off me in those first days after getting the prize winning notification..

Even as we drove from Venice Airport to the Alta Badia resort, 2 months later, and after a number of communications with the Salewa team, part of us still thought it was all a joke.. This really did all sound too good to be true. I mean it wasn’t just a guided trek in an incredible location, there was also free accommodation in what looked to be out of this world scenes and even free outdoor equipment.. We would never be that lucky, would we?

Then we were shown to our room and found this! We were each given a 35 ltr rucksack, Salewa Polartec Fleece, Salewa Jacket, Manfrotto Trekking Poles and even a neat little BMW bobble hat! Wow!

pic 1

Finally, it all became real!! We really were about to go on a real adventure! We met with the rest of the winners and Salewa representatives where we were told about the exciting plans they had for us all over the next few days. Could this get any better!!

Well, yes! The beer was also free 🙂

First stop was a Mountain Refuge in the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park. It was hidden deep in a beautiful alpine bowl, surrounded by stunning snow covered mountains and pine forests. We were speechless and awe-struck!

The plan for the day – An “easy” hike through these mountains.So, off we went for an “Easy” walk in these fabulous mountains..

 Conditions were perfect for the day’s Snow-shoeing, with a light breeze, plenty of blue in the sky and a little sun to warm our faces! Bliss 🙂

salewa (4 of 27)

The plan ? To head out in the sublime Val di Fanes and hopefully reach the Col Toron (2459m) before heading back back to the Fanes Refuge.

I think it’s fair to say that about 3 hours in to our activity there were quite a few of us wondering where they got their route grading from! Now I am not as fit as I could be, nor I am a slouch – but 3 hours in these mountains, hiking up to around 2500m and I was a wreck! The going was quite tough and at times also quite steep! The guides were helpful, friendly & patient and it was great to see that I was not alone in finding this a challenging trek!

Inspite of this, it was impossible to wipe the smile off our faces. What a place & what a start to this 2 1/2 day adventure!

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salewa (13 of 27)

We spent the evening recovering and relaxing in a comfort & quality that would rival any 3* hotel in the UK. As soon as dusk arrived it really became clear just how isolated we were up in these mountains and I just had to spend some time outside appreciating the places peace and tranquility…

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The next day we set off for what was the more challenging of the two walks. Todays plan was to hike up Limojoch (2172m) and then onto Stores (2185m) before our night camping near the Pralongia Refuge. I don’t mind saying that I was little apprehensive about this, as I was still fatigued from the previous days outing. But I am not one to turn down a challenge, especially one in a place like this! The first of the day took us through a stunning valley and close to a famous cave where a bears skeleton was once found. The weather wasn’t as great as the previous day, but offered up some interesting conditions for making photographs!

Nevertheless, it was hard not to be excited and inspired!! Even our seasoned mountain Videographer and former professional snow-boarder Harry Putz found it difficult to contain himself at times 🙂

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About half way we were able to stop for a much needed re-fuelling before taking on the final leg of this day which would see us climb to Pralongia Refuge, ready for our night in a tent at 2155m.To get there, we just had to follow a gradually inclined trail for about 2 hours… That 2 hours felt like 4 to me. Some found it easy and made their way up without any difficulty, but for us stragglers at the back it was so tough! I remeber at one point leaning over and using my the handles of walking poles to rest my head, closing my eyes for a few seconds…I am sure at times I was just taking photographs as excuses to stop…

The top couldn’t come quick enough!!! But we carried on, still smiling and when we finally caught up with everyone else – oh the relief! I am sure a few years ago I would’ve managed this just fine, but between marriage and photography I was no longer used to walking long distances , let alone on consecutive days! It had been such a hard climb for me!

We had plenty of time to rest up, before our night under what I had hoped would be stars, but instead up being thick cloud with an over night forecast of -4°C and around 15-20cm of snow!

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Easy 😉

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 Especially when you have been loaned the sort of equipment that Salewa make. I can honestly say I have never slept so comfortably and been so warm when camping.

The next day it was all hands on deck to get everything packed away, which was quite a task and the snow was coming down thick and fast! But still I smiled 🙂

salewa (25 of 27)

Just half a day’s walking back to Corvara and then it was all over! We had been truly spoiled by Salewa, Manfrotto & the Alta Badia Tourist Board. What a place, what an adventure!!! We had an absolutely amazing time!!!

We cannot thank Salewa enough and would urge everyone to keep a close eye out for the start of their next Get Vertical Competition, which apparently begins in just a few weeks!!

35’000 people entered this one and I am so glad I was one of them!!


#salewagetvertical #getvertical #salewa


Posted in Blog Post, Landscape, snow Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Snow day…

beacons (4 of 4)

Whenever there is a little snow forecast for the UK there is always a flurry (couldn’t resist) of excitement and a contagious buzz on Social Media, most notably on Twitter where my feed is full, almost exclusively of photographers, from all over the United Kingdom, with interests as widely spread as our respective post-codes.  Most of us have occupations that dominate our commitments during the working week, which come Friday 5pm – means we must all feel like a dog being let off the lead in the park – all running off into the hills, mountains, valleys and forests. fully laden with hot flasks of coffee, down jackets, tripods & cameras.

Excitement had been building for a few days in the Brecon Beacons, in the run up to the weekend of 16th January, as snow had arrived mid week and forecast conditions for the Saturday morning were looking about as good as  anyone could’ve hoped for.  I hadn’t been able to add any new snowy images  to my “Moments before Dawn” series for quite some time and I was extremely hopeful that this weekend I would be able to make one of the Big Four (Pen Y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn & Fan Y Big).  I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted from this trip and if the Beacons were really good to me I also hoped to grab an image of the four central beacons with the first light of dawn gracing the peaks of some of the most walked mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

beacons (3 of 4)

From what I could gather, most seemed to be heading for Pen Y Fan, which left me hopeful of an empty summit on Fan Y Big and plenty of un-trodden fresh snow, as being able to make the first footsteps in the snow on any path always feels quite special to me,  maybe not quite as special as Neil Armstrongs’ first steps on the moon but with a hill walking event of 500+ participants starting out from Pont ar Daf early Saturday morning, this experience would certainly be limited to a very select few!

pyf no see

Winter sunrises allow for a much later than start than is typical of the rest of the year, with my alarm for this outing set at a very civilised 5am, allowing 30 minutes for breakfast, an hour for the drive, an hour for the hike up and then plenty of time to chose the specifics of my photographs on location, get comfortable and enjoy the show.  And aside from a very brief  and tricky encounter with waist deep snow, everything went exactly to plan.  Definitely a rarity in my outings as an enthusiastic Landscape Photographer!

The pre-dawn sky was just sublime, more vibrant pink/purple pastels than I had seen in the sky before, perhaps down to it’s contrast with the bright white snow covered landscape. With a little whispy cloud in the sky I thought this would be a great opportunity to use a long exposure to try and capture the movement of the clouds and paint the sky with these most beautifully peaceful of colours. It really couldn’t have worked out much better for me.

The Big Four (1 of 2)

ISO100 / 24mm / f16 / 5 secs


I shot maybe two or three frames of varying exposures, trying to find the balance that suited my on-going “Moments before Dawn” series best, and settled on the above, which was shot at ISO 100, 24mm, f16 for 5 seconds – Using a  5 stop nd filter. I am very much looking forward to returning to this spot once the snow has melted to shoot a similar image for comparison.

After I was satisfied with the above image, I sat and waited for the sunrise, hoping that a little of this pre-dawn colour would linger just long enough for me to include it in the only other photograph I had hoped to make on this morning. When I was planning this brief little outing I had envisaged an image of the four central beacons with the first rays of dawn’s light just kissing their summits. But to come away with this and the added bonus of some incredible colour in the sky (not a single adjustment was made to any of the colours in either image) absolutely made my day!


The Big Four (2 of 2)

ISO100 / 24mm / f14 / 15 sec

Given how well the first long exposure had gone I opted for the same technique for the above picture, though this time using an additional 3 stop graduated filter, bringing the total exposure time to 15 seconds. Both taken with a Nikon D610 and Tamron SP  24-70 f2.8 VC.


beacons (1 of 4)

ISO100 / 24mm / f14 / 1.6 secs


beacons (2 of 4)

ISO100 / 24mm / f14 / 1.6 secs

Hopefully this won’t be the last of the white stuff for the Brecon Beacons this season.

Thanks for reading.


Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, snow, Sunrise, Wales Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A near perfect morning for Landscape Photography in the Brecon Beacons…

Over the last few years there have been many memorable moments spent amongst the hills, valleys, mountains and rivers of the Brecon Beacons National Park, but few more so than the morning of the 3rd November 2015.

As a hill-walker & amateur photographer there are few experiences more coveted than being able to stand above the clouds looking down on everything below and the chase for this experience will more often than not mean sitting in cold/damp conditions atop your chosen location, cursing the Met-office for not being right all the time.

pyf no see

These mornings have been quite frequent, where there is little to do but  hunch over in the sometimes sub zero temperatures and disappear in to an almost meditative state trying to keep warm  while waiting, wishing and hoping for something interesting to happen. Often this can be quite a de-motivating experience given the effort that is involved in getting to these places – the 4am alarm, the sickeningly strong coffee, those awkwardly dry mouthfuls of an unwanted but needed breakfast, not to mention getting growled at by your dogs for waking them at such ungodly hours, and all this before you have even left the house! There is still the 45 minute drive with the now twitchy caffeine enthused eyes and the horrible first few hundred meters of walking, when your body is still doing everything it can to get you to turn around and go back to bed.

But I persevere.

In the hope that one day I can reach the top and have the clouds so close I could step right on to them!

On the morning of the 3rd November I came as close as I have done to this feeling.

The few days prior had seen Temperature Inversions in the Brecon Beacons and the Sunday had tempted me up out for dawn a hike up Pen Y Fan. It was a pleasant morning out on the hills, with a nice blanket of “the Dragons Breath” on the land below. But it didn’t rise much passed a few hundred meters and so failed to give me the experience I had been chasing.


But undeterred from this experience and with another Temperature Inversion forecast I had nothing to lose other than sleep so off I went.

Week-days are a great time to get up on to the hills for sunrise if, like me, you enjoy the solitude and isolation of hill-walking. As I reached the summit of Pen Y Fan, there was a wild-camper packing up and heading back down, a decision I am sure they would later come to regret, as this had the makings of a very special morning indeed! The build up was near perfect. With the Moments before Dawn, my favorite of almost any outing, gracing me with the most beautiful pre-dawn sky and soft pastel colours.

Cribyn (1 of 2)-2

near perfect (1 of 1)-3

Sitting on the summit of Pen Y Fan, South Wales highest mountain watching the clouds flow over Cribyn like a river was like nothing I have experienced before and one that will be with me for some time. If the weather took a turn for the worse from here, I would’ve been quite satisfied and would’ve gone home and then on to work, with a smile on my face and a definite spring in my step.

With the sun still a way off rising, I took some time to enjoy the events unfolding infront of me, without the pressure of trying to photograph it. I just sat above Cefn Cwm Llwch with a flask of coffee, some home made brownies and took the time to enjoy the moment.

The sunrise itself was pretty uneventful, due to a band of cloud on the horizon. But still the Dragon breathed, the valley-fog kept rising and eventually started to engulf the whole of Cribyn. A scene that I had just had to capture, but with little light around I was at first unsure of how best to make a photograph from it. But watching it flow over the highest point of the mountain and cascade in to the valley below gave me the idea of using a long exposure to encapsulate it’s slow graceful enveloping of this iconic Welsh Mountain.

I composed my shot to include a little foreground and used the topography of the mountain to lead the eye in to the main interest of the photograph, I focused (using the back-button method approximately) 1/3 rd in to the scene as I don’t know about you but calculating the hyperfocal distance still confuses me. I set the sensitivity to my cameras lowest native setting, calculated 5 shutter speed stops back from my camera’s light-meter reading &  used the Timer function to ensure as sharp an image as I could.

As soon as I pressed the shutter the sun just began to peak through the clouds, but not so much as to over-expose the final image, just enough to grace the clouds above and below it with a subtle tint of it’s early morning colour. I knew at this point I was going to have a final image to be proud of!

And I was not wrong! I am still smiling 2 weeks later as a result of having this image short-listed for Outdoor Photography’s “Outdoor Photographer of the Year”


 Kit used

Nikon D610, Tamron 24-70, Velbon Tripod, Format Hi-tech 5 stop ND Filter.


Manual Exposure, 24mm, ISO 100, F20 , 20 Seconds.

If you’ve reached this far  – thank you!

Grant Hyatt

Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, Myths, Sunrise, Wales Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The moments before dawn…

In my opinion, the last 12 months has seen my biggest gains in Photography. Not in terms of monetary, exposure or credit, just in how I feel about the photographs I have been posting. I’ve been really enjoying myself in the hills and I feel that is has shown in the images I’ve returned with.
But one thing that I felt was still missing, was a project. And this is something that has bothered me and I am not entirely sure why. Though I think it is in part down my Twitter feed being full of wonderful series’ of photographs from some exceptionally talented people and I’ve spent some time recently, wondering how rewarding it must be to have a purpose to your photography other than to enjoy being out with your camera.
Yesterday evening I was feeling a little reflective and through a chance interaction with another photographer on Twitter I was helped to the realisation that I have possibly been unknowingly compiling a project. I’ve been looking at a photography project as this intricate, detailed study of a particular subject. Something above my level of understanding and beyond my current reach as an “Enthusiast / Hobbyist Photographer” But what do I do on my outings? I return to the same locations, under different conditions, to see the effect the changing light has on the landscape and how this affects me, whether it excites me or causes me to reflect.
I think this is beginning to sound like the makings of a project – “The moments before dawn”

Cefn Cwm Llwch
Cribyn (1 of 2)-2

I find these moments before the sunrise to be my favorite of the day, watching the final Stars fade from the night and the beautiful pastel colours gradually build in the pre-dawn sky.  Before the first rays of light have come over the horizon with it’s Midas touch.   The softness of the colour palette of these moments make it virtually impossible to feel anything other than at peace.

Llangors Lake, Brecon Beacons
Pre-dawn on Llangors Lake

Cribyn, Brecon Beacons. 
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Cefn Cwm Llwch & Cribyn, Brecon Beacons 
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Craig Fan Ddu, Brecon Beacons
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Llyn Y Fan Fawr, Brecon Beacons
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Corn Du, Brecon Beacons
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Corn Du, Brecon Beaconsblog post (2 of 2)

I hope that now these pre-dawn wanderings have been given a purpose other than my enjoyment of being there, I can turn this into something more of a story, a set of images that when combined paint a much larger picture.
But if I can’t, then atleast I will still have the enjoyment of these moments. Which in the grand scheme of things is far more important!

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Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, Sunrise, Wales Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The start of my walking season..?

There is a little road that myself and my wife often take from our home near Brynamman in to Llandeilo and the Towy Valley.
It traverses the far western fringes of the Brecon Beacons National Park and offers up great views over the Amman Valley and then, further along, over Carreg Cennen Castle and the picturesque village of Trap, with Bronze Age Burial Cairns dominating the hill tops to your right with some great walking opportunities, on paths that few others seem to tred, despite the great views, topography and history that it follows. Tair Cairn Isaf
The slopes / open land here is grazed by Cattle and Horses and with narrow roads, driving slow is highly recommended and be prepared for lengthy reversing manoeuvres if you come across others. It is very wet underfoot, often quite boggy which offers up great conditions for some plants as the seasons pass. In the Spring, Cotton Grass seems to do exceptionally well here.
Cotton grass
Though, now Summer (if it can be believed we had one at all) is drawing to a close, it is the turn of Heather, and it hasn’t disappointed! This area is dominated by vibrant purples / pinks at the moment and can be seen from miles away! Heather loves the moist soil here and it’s tips are often grazed on. It has been lapping up all of this rain and is flourishing! A lovely place for an evening stroll!
It also gave me a little time to think about where I am going to concentrate my photographic efforts on during this coming autumn/winter/spring.
Heather (2 of 4)

Heather (3 of 4)
I’ve decided to stick around my local hills and try to avoid the more popular central beacons. I am very much in my infancy with Photography, having only really discovered the importance of good light, quite late in to last years Autumn and was left mesmerised by the effect Dawn’s light had on anything it graced. I spent the next few months out as often as my work commitments would allow and felt I made huge leaps in my confidence both in composure and in my understanding of the elements..
Now with this in mind I think regular visits to the likes of Llyn Y Fan Fawr / Fach, Fan Bryncheiniog, Fan Foel, Picws Du, Fan Gyhirych would offer me up some great viewing experiences and give me the chance to learn more about the landscape and it’s history, aswell as help me progress in this most captivating of hobbies that is photography…..

Heather (1 of 4)

Have a good day!

Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, Myths, Sunset, Wales

A place of myth and legend…

I am lucky enough to call the Brecon Beacons my home, with some of my favorite summits visible from my back garden and the starts of great hikes just a short drive away. I live in a little village called Ystradowen at the base of the Black Mountain, on the Western fringes of our National Park. In my village next to a disused school is an information board. This isn’t the sort of information board that I had been accustomed to, growing up in London or even in my many years living in Swansea. The sort of information board that I had come to expect provided information on bus time tables and local martial arts classes.

Now Ystradowen is a pretty small village in Carmarthenshire and is pretty unassuming. No pubs, no shops, no school, not even a post office (though we do have a community centre). But what it does have is stories, myths and legends! The most famous involving my little village is one of the “Twrch Trwyth” . The Twrch Trwyth is said to have been an enchanted boar that was chased all across Wales by the infamous King Arthur and his dog Cavall. Having only come to live in this little village a few years ago, I found this legends association here amazing and has made my calling this home a little magical.

The myths and legends of the Brecon Beacons don’t end there! One of personal favorites involves the daughter of the 5th century King “Brychan” and his most beautiful daughter, Gwladus. Gwladus is said to have fallen in love with a peasant by the name of Einion. I will not do the story the disservice of attempting to tell in my own words so here is a link – ( http://tinyurl.com/oefv6c8 ).

But I will say is that her spirit is said to have become immortalised in Sgwd Gwladys, a wonderful waterfall (and one of the more accessible) in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Sgwd Gwladys (1 of 1)

I have spent alot of time around this lovely waterfall and have even had a quick dip in it’s plunge pool during a run in the heat of last summer! About 500 meters up stream, in a far less visited area is another waterfall that has links to this story, the waterfall of Sgwd Einion Gam. This waterfall is said to contain the love stricken spirit of Einion, Gwladus’s love.
It is in a beautifully secluded position, far out of reach for all but the most adventurous of ramblers to this area. But to those that make the effort in the month of May, it’s journey is filled with the colour blue 🙂

Sgwd Einion Gam (1 of 1)-2

The waterfall is really only accessible during drier times as several river crossings are needed to reach it, though even then wellies are advisable! It can be tough, it can be slippery, but on arriving at this incredible enchanting place, you will wonder why you’ve never bothered before!

Sgwd Einion Gam (1 of 1)

I think stories, both of fact and fiction are the most complimentary of companions to any outing in the wilds of Wales 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I would encourage you to look up the Mabinogion, which is the earliest prose literature of Britain and full of wonderful welsh stories!


Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, King Arthur, Landscape, Legends, Mabinogion, Myths, Wales, Waterfalls

Location, location, location :)

In the 2 or so years that I have been attempting to make nice photographs of even nicer places I have lost count of the amount of locations I have driven passed and thought to myself “I must come back here with my camera”.. Some of these places have been when on holiday, some on my daily commute to work while others I pass regularly when visiting friends and family. Some I know I will probably never visit again, others, I will kick myself every time I am in the area without my camera..

There have been a few occasions where a friend / family gathering has been happening in area where I know there is a subject close by that I wanted to photograph and despite how rude it may have seemed to my companions, I have made my excuses and disappeared to said place.. As, not only was it close by, but I would perform my disappearing act when conditions were also favorable for the makings of a nice image.

The first such occurence was during a charity music gig where by my Wife’s Aunt was performing on stage, as lead singer in a blues Band… Now I may have had a secondary motive for the evening out but I was not above appreciating her talents and didn’t perform my Houdini like disappearing act until well after she had finished on stage. I think my absence was barely noticed and I was able to spend an hour or so Photographing the moored boats on the estuary around Penclawdd on North Gower.

Grant Hyatt  (1 of 2)

I came away with several images that I was happy with and was able to tick one of many locations and many, many subjects off my list..

Dusk on Penclawdd

Most recently we were visiting some friends in Pontarddulais, where as am sure some of you will know, there is a beautifully engineered 11 Arch Bridge over the Afon Llwchwr and within a stones throw from the M4 Bridge.
This place we pass so often and usually catch it in the most beautiful times of day.. So much so, that all my lovely wife wanted off me for Christmas was a framed picture of it. A present that Santa failed to deliver, I might add! So I decided to capitalise on our venture to the area by spending a little of our time in the area out photographing the Bridge during sunset.

11 Arch Bridge, Pontarddulais

Luckily this time, the husband of our pair of friends agreed to come with me (and also gave me the idea of including the cracks in the mud in an image) so I didn’t appear quite as rude as it would otherwise have seemed and we spent an hour admiring and photographing it’s location..

Pontarddulais 11 Arch Bridge

And we still managed to make it back in time to rescue our respective wives from a broken, cold hot tub!!

Pontarddulais 11 Arch Bridge

Another “tick” and my Wifes 2015 christmas present sorted 🙂

Posted in Blog Post, Gower, Landscape, Sunset, Wales Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

A trip down memory lane…

Before photography, before my dogs, before even my wife, I lived a very different life! A sort of semi nomadic one, where all of my worldly posessions had to fit within a 65ltr rucksack and I would often find the only roof over my head would be something dubbed a “green meanie”, with bread crates for a bed base accompanied by the holiest of foam mattress just to add insult to injury.

But inspite of this, it was a life I lived for almost 6 years and one that provided me with the most amazing backdrops to call home and one that I shared with many great people! It was a life of 6 day weeks with 7 day hangovers made worse by being surrounded 24 hours a day, by sometimes as many 1000 children and young people all waiting on you to teach them something cool!

Before photography, before my dogs, before even my wife, I worked as an Activity Instructor on well known Outdoor Education Centres. I have many very fond memories of my times at the 8 or so centres I worked at in England, Scotland and Wales. One such centre and the focus of this mornings outing, was quite literally on the banks of South Wales largest natural lake, Llangorse Lake.
Llangors Lake, Crannog Centre

This is a lake with plenty of history, with their once possibly being a palace on the man made island or Crannog, that is now covered in trees. It plays host to a large variety of wild life, some of which are just stopping off for a rest and a re-fuel before continuing on their migratory routes. From dawn til dusk (and often well into the night) the unmistakable sound of Canadian Geese can be heard from a good distance.

Moored boat on Llangors Lake

My home for two summer seasons (Apr-Sept) was about about 10 meters from it’s shores in a tent aptly dubbed a “Green Meanie” because of the colour of a powder like substance it left on anything it came in to contact with. The sight of mother ducks wandering passed with their brood in tow was a pretty familiar one! I remember one such mother parking herself outside my tent and refusing to move for almost 3 hours! Lucky for me, there was always something to do on a centre like this, be it the obvious swim, a lesson in kayaking or canoeing or a lengthy session in the local climbing centre and then for quick drink in the Red Lion.
Llangors Lake Long exposure
Hard to believe almost ten years has passed since I was lucky enough to call this home! I’ve been trying to work out if I was able to appreciate this places beauty in amongst the foggy haze of what must’ve been a season long hangover. The answer? Would’ve been impossible not to wouldn’t it!

The stillness of movement on Llangors Lake


Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, Sunrise, Wales Tagged , , , , , , |

Chasing the Light…

I had decided that I was going to get up for a sunrise yesterday morning and that I was going to head to Carreg Cennen Castle. It is a magnificent castle in an impressive location, with the commanding and majestic views that you would expect from a Welsh Castle. I’ve been driving passed a particular spot that I wanted to photograph the castle from and the forecast looked favourable for something special this morning!
Unfortunately for me, at 4am , my body had other ideas! It point blank refused to get out of bed when I asked it too.
So I have spent quite a large portion of today a little miserable as a result of my laziness. Fortunately, around 5pm tonight I happened to glance out of my window and see the most amazing skies rolling across the western flanks of the Brecon Beacons National Park, so I grabbed my camera bag and headed out!
And with only one place on my mind – Carreg Cennen Castle above the Village of Trap. One of Wales most loved and supposedly most romantic Castles. What a sight I was greeted with! DSC_1756
After managing the capture the Rainbow against the castle’s hill I decided to head over to Paxtons Tower to try and see the last view moments of the suns light. The most interesting and dramatic skies can often be viewed from Paxton Towers throne in the hills over-looking the Towy Valley. I arrived just as the last slither of sun was going dipping beneath the horizon. A nice calming end to a bit of a frantic hour!


Posted in Blog Post, Brecon Beacons, Landscape, Sunset, Wales Tagged , , , , , , |