South Towards Pontypridd

Download the full-size picture to use as your desktop wallpaper.

As the end of the week approaches, and time runs out to pick out HDR shots in tribute to my Nikon D200, it’s getting harder and harder to pick my wallpaper choice, I don’t mind admitting! But there was no way I could leave this shot out of my selection. For me, like my Calanais At Dusk shot that’s sadly the wrong aspect to ever be a Daily Desktop Wallpaper (but, do try it on an iPad … it’s the wallpaper for the lock screen on mine!), this shot is an example of what HDR can really achieve when it all comes together. The end result looks more like a painting than a photograph, and I could happily stare at it all day.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! At least until tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing my last choice from the D200 HDR archives.

Oh, and tonight I’m planning on working on the shots for next week’s wallpaper theme. Mrs H has set me a photographic challenge. I’ve no idea how it will go, but I’m looking forward to doing something a little different (for me). If there’s a photographic challenge you’d like to set me for a future wallpaper theme, drop me a comment on my blog and I’ll certainly consider it 🙂

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Silliness At Sardis Road

Silliness At Sardis Road

There are several stations along the old Taff Vale Railway that provide park and ride facilities – most notably at Trefforest and Taffs Well. Sadly, despite being one of the major towns along the route (arguably the most major other than Merthyr at one end and Cardiff at the other!), Pontypridd does not provide such a scheme.

What we have instead is the car park at Sardis Road. It’s a pay and display car park, but the all-day parking charges are pretty reasonable. And, on Sundays and Bank Holidays, car parking is free. There’s just a couple of problems with that.

First of all, the car park is only open from 7am to 7pm. If you’re a commuter who needs to be heading into Cardiff before 7am, you can’t park here. And if you’re a commuter who can’t be sure of making it back to rescue the car on time, you can park here, but you’ll have to come back the following day to rescue your car.

Secondly, as the sign says, the gates are locked at 7pm Monday to Saturday. So how exactly are you supposed to park for free on a Sunday if the gates are still locked …? Just to be certain that it wasn’t a mistake on the one sign, I popped down to the other sign and checked that too. They are consistent. The locked gates on a Sunday also means that the recycling bins hosted in the car park aren’t easily accessible if you’re too old or otherwise infirm to carry the waste from the road.

I’m sure that Rhondda Cynon Taff council must have good reasons for these restrictions, but they are very commuter unfriendly. Commuters needing to drive to the railway station are probably much better off driving to Trefforest or Taffs Well, especially if you’re likely to have to work late unexpectedly or if you need to commute on a Sunday.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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The Rooftops Of Cilfynydd

Cilfynydd today stands on the northern edge of Pontypridd as it creeps up the Taff valley towards Abercynon and beyond to Merthyr Tydfil. It sits to the east of the route of the Glamorganshire Canal (now buried beneath the A470 trunk road).

Most of the old terraced housing was built between 1884 and 1910, with the population exploding from a hundred or so people to over 3,500! This sudden population of what was originally a farming hamlet was driven by the opening of the Albion Colliery (closed 1966; today is the site of Pontypridd High School) in 1887. The village suffered great tragedy and loss in 1894 when 290 men and boys were killed by a massive underground explosion in the colliery.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilfynydd

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Looking North Along The Lost Canal

I wasn’t around when the Glamorganshire Canal still existed; I wasn’t even born when in 1969 the canal was filled in to make room for the A470 trunk road. So I can’t say for certain that the Glamorganshire Canal ran exactly along this wall, and I can’t say for certain that this wall is a remnant of the wall sometimes seen in old photos separating what’s now the A4054 from the canal …

… but whenever I stand at this spot and gaze north towards Navigation (modern-day Abercynon), sometimes it’s nice to dream of what the views might have been two hundred years ago, and one hundred years ago.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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The Royal Oak, Pontypridd

The Royal Oak, at the southern end of Cilfynydd, is today best known for its Chinese restaurant and take-away. I can certainly vouch for their omelettes, although I must admit in recent weeks my favourite has been the sweet and sour chicken strips. Perfect when I’m home late from work and we’re both too tired to face the cooker!

I haven’t been able to find out much about when the Royal Oak was built. There’s mention of a Royal Oak pub in Glyntaf in the 1891 census, but unfortunately the accompanying images are behind a paywall (grrr – the National Archives website sends you to a commercial firm’s website which charges for access), so I can’t confirm whether this is the same pub or not. Like many of the properties along the A4054 through Cilfynydd, the Royal Oak would have backed onto the Glamorganshire Canal before it was closed.

If you can cast any light on the history of the Royal Oak, please leave a comment below.

References:

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Place:Pontypridd_Registration_District%2C_1891_Census_Street_Index_P-R

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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The Maltsters Arms is a public house in Pontypridd known to date back to at least 1858. It is believed to sit on the site of the original earthen house from which Pontypridd takes its welsh name (Pont-y-tŷ-pridd – the bridge by the earthen house).

Maltsters Arms

Maltsters Arms

My strong memory of the Maltsters Arms is walking by over the bridge on an evening and hearing the live music that is often being performed down in its cellar room. The cellar room opens out onto a stone patio beside the River Taff.

References:

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/wal/GLA/LlantwitFardre/Slaters-Pontypridd.html
http://wikitravel.org/en/Pontypridd

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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The Chain Link Arches were a public art installation beneath Brunel’s impressive viaduct across the River Rhondda in Pontypridd in 2010. Consisting of coloured floodlights that lit up the underside of the arches as dusk turned to night, they made a somewhat eerie sight.

Chain Link Arches

Chain Link Arches

Chain Link Arches

Although I can’t find any reference to it online, and unfortunately RCT’s own website doesn’t leave old news articles published (grrrr), I’ve a memory of reading that this was conceived along with Unity to help promote Pontypridd. I must be mistaken on that part, because the Chain Link Arches have so few hits on Google that it is as if no-one knew it was there 🙁

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find out anything more about this piece of art. If you know who the artist was, when it was first installed, and when it was finally removed, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Beneath Brunel's Bridge

The view from Mill Street, Pontypridd, looking up at one of the TVR bridges built by Brunel in 1840.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Passing Beneath Catherine Street

The old subway linking Pontypridd’s market and shopping area with the new car park development on Catherine Street.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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The Lonely Cone

Seen looking out of a window in Pontypridd town centre.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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