Thursday, 8 March 2012

Volcanic Sunsets in Wales

The volcanic eruption that took place in Iceland in April 2010, provided amateur photographers like myself an opportunity to bag some decent sunset photos. It also of course created a nightmare for holiday makers and airlines across Europe. I must say though that I was a little disappointed as I think I was expecting something a bit more spectacular than what I witnessed and caught in my camera lens.

In this day and age we understand what causes volcanoes to erupt although we cannot predict accuratley when they will blow their top. In Wales we have experienced the after effects of volcanic eruptions many times over the ages and in fact some of our finest mountains are the result of volcanic eruptions hundreds of millions of years ago. Last April we had reports and video footage of the exploding volcano on our TV screens within hours. We then had numerous reports tracking the volcanic dust with the aid of satelites in orbit around our planet,

In ancient times our ancestors would have witnessed the after effects of distant volcanic eruptions but would have been totally oblivious as to what was happening in the skies above them. I remember reading Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicles of the Princes) many years ago and some of the entries made me realise that what was being recorded was in all probability the after effects of volcanic eruptions in Iceland or possibly somewhere else further afield. Here are the entries which are probably records of volcanic effects in Wales and also other entries relating to lunar and solar eclipses.

688. And then, four years after that, it rained blood in the island of Britain and Ireland
690. Six hundred and ninety was then the year of Christ, and then the milk and butter turned to blood
692. Two years after that, and the moon turned of a bloody colour.

710. Seven hundred and ten was the year of Christ, when Pepin the Elder, king of France, died. And then the night was as light as day

810. Eight hundred and ten was the year of Christ, when the moon turned black on Christmas day; Menevia was burnt; and there was a mortality among the cattle over the island of Britain.

831. One and thirty and eight hundred was the year of Christ, when the eclipse of the moon happened on the eighth day of the month of December. And Satubin, bishop of Menevia, died.

1185. The ensuing year, about Lent, the patriarch of Jerusalem came to England, to request aid from the king, lest the Jews and Saracens should destroy all Jerusalem; and with a multitude of cavalry and infantry he returned back to Jerusalem. In that year, on the calends of May, the sun changed its colour, and some said there was an eclipse of it. In that year David, abbot of Strata Florida, died; and Howel, son of Ieuav, son of Owain lord of Arwystli, died, and was honourably buried at Strata Florida; and then Einon, son of Cynan, died.

Well, I have not seen any red milk recently unless you include a McDonalds thick strawberry milkshake. Recent reports suggest that an even bigger eruption is brewing in Iceland so maybe we are due for some even more spectacular sunsets. I just hope that Yellowstone does not blow any time soon as that is overdue and when it does then goodbye mankind.

Here are a series of photos taken at Penclawdd on the 17th April, 2010

And here are some more taken from on top of Mynydd y Gwair on the 15th April 2010.


  1. Stunning sunsets! By the way, if you look at my latest blog post, there's a video of a Robin taken last week in Singleton Park, with a Tawny Owl hooting in the background: .

  2. Cheers Jeremy. Have had a listen to that owl and responded on your blog. Waiting now for another volcanic eruption for some more sunsets. Having said that we get some pretty decent ones anyway without the aid of volcanic ash. At the bottom of my blog there is a rolling album of some of my fabourite photos which I loaded I think via Picasa Web albums. It is thumbnail size but not sure if it opens up when you click on it??? Will have to try it myself.