There is a road not far to the north of Swansea that traverses Mynydd y Gwair which follows an ancient route from Llangyfelach to the Amman Valley. The section of the road in my photo below I believe is referred to as "The Golden Mile". Just out of shot to the right is a small lay-by where on a clear day you can see the Black Mountain to the north-east and the Brecon Beacons and Fan Gyhirych to the east.
To the right of where the road disappears on the distant horizon are the remains of a castle. The castle marked the boundary between the Cantrefs of Gwyr and Mawr. The views in this last wilderness area of the county of Swansea are stunning and will soon be ruined with yet another wind farm to be built on the land you see in the photo below. But wind farms are not the subject of this blog but I would like to take issue with that matter in a future blog.
I have for quite some time lived in hope of seeing the Northern Lights ( Aurora Borealis), and am aware that on rare occasions they can be seen as far south as Swansea. So, many years ago I subscribed to an aurora alert whereby when there are the right conditions with regards to solar activity, I am notified by email when there is a chance of seeing the Northern Lights this far south. Over the years I have received a number of alerts but frustratingly this part of the world was under a blanket of cloud for most of these and thus making it impossible to see the aurora. Had there been clear skies then the aurora would have been visible as there were confirmed sightings further south than our latitude in places such as Slovakia and the south of Germany.
One day in August of 2010, I received a " RED" alert and the conditions were not ideal but favourable that night. The moon was not rising till after midnight and there would be scattered clouds. So, for the best chance of seeing the aurora then you need to get away from light pollution and Mynydd y Gwair is the ideal spot and closest to Swansea where I live.
Another hot summer when I was a teenager , myself and some friends spent a week in a caravan down Oxwich on the Gower. We decided to go for a midnight swim as the weather was so balmy. Oxwich being sheltered, you dont get the big Atlantic breakers as you do down Llangennith but we had great fun swimming in this phenomena. The photo below gives you an idea of what we experienced.
I do not know what will come first, a hot balmy summer or clear skies and intense solar activity. As far as a hot balmy summer is concerned then I think we are more likely to witness the second coming of Jesus but we can live in hope. If either come then expect to see me parked up in a lay by on Mynydd y Gwair or walking along a beach late at night. If you have not been on the mountain road from Swansea to Ammanford then take a trip up there. It is surprising how few people in Swansea have been up there and there are some stunning views which will be ruined with the proposed wind farm on Mynydd y Gwair. Much to my horror they have completed the wind farm on nearby Betws mountain and those turbines are visible from Cockett in Swansea.
Below are some photos taken from Mynydd y Gwair and nearby, including some taken from that lay by.
Below is a recent photo taken from the lay by where I have zoomed in showing a section of the Golden Mile and the heads of the wind turbines recently erected on the adjacent Bettws Mountain.
Below is where the Golden Mile ends and you descend down onto the next section of the mountain road which takes you over Bettws mountain.
And this is what greets you further on :