Blaen-y-glyn Falls

Blaen y Glyn

Frozen waterfall at Blaen-y-glyn in the Talybont valley.

For today’s post I’ve gone for somewhere a little closer to home, and I reckon this is probably not far off how it looks now -it’s that cold. I’ve got to work up there next week, so here’s hoping for a thaw! The river Caerfanell in the Talybont valley is a real beauty spot, popular with tourists in the summer, and outdoor centres for the rest of the year. What draws the visitors are the waterfalls, which occur throughout the river’s upper course, and are ultimately the result of geology. A real gorgewalking playground, the river’s generally pretty shallow, but with enough water to get you wet! It’s also a great river for fieldwork, being so compact and accessible. I love it in the winter, when few are brave enough to venture out, and the airborne moisture turns into icicles on any available surface.

The bedrock here is part of the Old Red Sandstone, a sedimentary rock formed approximately 391 to 417 million years ago in the Devonian Period. To be specific, the rocks here are called Brownstones, and the reason they help the waterfalls form, as any good geographer knows, is to do with differences in the strength of the layers within this rock. The Brownstones are alternating bands of hard sandstones and softer fine-grained rocks -you can break the softer stuff just by hand- that formed on a floodplain beside an ancient river channel. All of this happened when Britain was part of a larger continent, somewhere around the Tropic of Capricorn: changing water levels and corresponding changes in kinetic energy because of a period of mountain building in the north led to sorting in the alluvial sediments, and the all-important layering. Move forward in time a few million years and the ‘modern’ streams start eroding away the rocks with a strong vertical component that eats straight down into the the soft rock, creating a step, and a waterfall is born. The result is a waterfall for nearly every soft layer/layers, and that means a photographers paradise, extending from the valley floor to near the top of the surrounding bluffs!


Click to order (opens a new window)

If you’re planning to buy a print, try 6″x4″ or scale it up.

All images ©Stephen Tyrrell; Mountains, Wild Places & Water, 2013. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Blaen-y-glyn Falls

  1. Pingback: Coire Uaigneich | Mountains, Wild Places & Water

  2. Pingback: Talybont Reservoir at Sunset | Mountains, Wild Places & Water

Have a question/request? Please leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The Hazel Tree


Explorers of the RSGS

The history, heritage and people of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society


All cultures, all inclusive. TM


Everything steep - from Snowdonia to the Alps


Glaciology, Climate, Travel, Mountaineering, Photography

Tales from the Hills

Author and photographer Pete Buckley online

Geog Blog

Our own ideas and opinions...

FSC Geography Buzz Group

Sharing ideas and innovation about geography and fieldwork

The Ray Mears & Woodlore Bushcraft Blog

The latest news, guides and special offers from Ray Mears and Woodlore


Wandering in the Cairngorms and other lesser ranges, by Neil Reid


Writing improvement for young and early career scientists

Nick Livesey Mountain Images

Capturing the heart and soul of the mountains

Sarah's Adventures

exploring, discovering, writing and learning... wherever the journey takes me!

Photography Blog by GT

Landscapes and other images

M. S. Lewis - Author

Single Dad, Author, Leadership Trainer & Mountaineering Instructor

From a Glaciers Perspective

Glacier Change in a world of Climate Change

%d bloggers like this: