The logical thing to do seemed to be to venture into the teeth of the gale to take some photos.

Storm Chasing

Written by Haydn Williams

Storm Desmond was widely reported to have ‘battered’ the UK last weekend, breaking records for rainfall and bringing exceedingly strong winds. The logical thing to do on the Friday seemed to be to venture into the teeth of the oncoming gale to take some photos.

Alex suggested a trip to Anglesey, where the exposed Western coast would receive a beating. Having only achieved a rather insipid shot of South Stack lighthouse last time I visited I leapt at the chance, although the forecast looked a bit wild.

Forecast for Holyhead. Looks lush..
Forecast for Holyhead. Looks lush..

Saturday started dull and moderately stormy, and we spent the morning at Church Bay looking at various pattern shots.

A rather dim and dismal start to the trip at Church Bay. © Haydn Williams 2015
A rather dim and dismal start to the trip at Church Bay. © Haydn Williams 2015

The wind picked up while we feasted on fish and chips for lunch, and by the time we reached South Stack it was really getting feisty.

It's all getting a bit blustery at the top of the cliffs. © Haydn Williams 2015
It’s all getting a bit blustery at the top of the cliffs. © Haydn Williams 2015

We descended the 400 steps to the short bridge leading to the small island on which the lighthouse sits. I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you by not having sufficient vocabulary or literary finesse to adequately describe the scale of the waves crashing against the cliffs.

South Stack starting to shine as dusk approaches. © Haydn Williams 2015
South Stack starting to shine as dusk approaches. © Haydn Williams 2015

Suffice to say, it was definitely one of the most awesome displays of nature’s force which I have ever seen (in the classical, ‘inducing awe‘ definition of the word). We both got some good shots, but Alex more than me because (1) he’s a better photographer and (2) I was being grumpy about not having a proper SLR.

Impressive! © Haydn Williams 2015
Impressive! © Haydn Williams 2015
Biggest wave of the day, and I'm looking the wrong way! © Alex Hyde 2015
Biggest wave of the day, and I’m looking the wrong way! © Alex Hyde 2015

One of Alex’s shots ended up on the Telegraph website too, which isn’t bad going.

Alex above the maelstrom. © Haydn Williams 2015
Alex above the maelstrom. © Haydn Williams 2015

As the sun disappeared we returned to our accommodation, satisfied with a job well done. More problematic was the drive to Beaumaris for some food, which involved fording some flooded bits of road, a diversion around another flooded road, and then a nice chat with a police lady who – on our way in to town – informed us all other roads out of Beaumaris were closed. The fire brigade were pumping out the castle moat, and our chosen restaurant was deserted as residents tended to the sandbags outside their homes.

Looking across to the Lleyn peninsula. © Haydn Williams 2015
Looking across to the Lleyn peninsula. © Haydn Williams 2015

The following day we again went west, this time in the hope of finding interesting things washed up on Newborough beach. However, the storm had just washed everything away (and had a good go at the sand dunes too), so we satisfied ourselves with several hours pottering to the far end of Llanddwyn Island and back.

Nice shapes from all the sand deposition. © Haydn Williams 2015
Nice shapes from all the sand deposition. © Haydn Williams 2015

In light of my tantrum the previous day, Alex leant me his spare camera body and I had a wonderful time taking mediocre shots of almost everything I saw.

Sea ivory. © Haydn Williams 2015
Sea ivory. © Haydn Williams 2015
Periwinkle. I know it's not razor-sharp, but I was shooting one-handed while hanging from a cliff. © Haydn Williams 2015
Periwinkle. I know it’s not razor-sharp, but I was shooting one-handed while hanging from a cliff. © Haydn Williams 2015
The view from Llanddwyn as the sky starts to clear. © Haydn Williams 2015
The view from Llanddwyn as the sky starts to clear. © Haydn Williams 2015
Sunshine after the rain. © Haydn Williams 2015
Sunshine after the rain. © Haydn Williams 2015

So, a fun and productive trip, although we got off lightly since there were homes nearby which were unlucky enough to be flooded and/or lose power which can’t have been fun. Nevertheless, a top weekend from our perspective; well done Anglesey.

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