Is Barry Island Returning to the Glory Days?
When we get the opportunity, Jackie and I walk as much as we can. There are so many fantastic places to see in South Wales and the regeneration of Barry Island is one of them.
I have been going to Barry Island since I was a child and can still remember the excitement when Mum and Dad said we were going. There was sand and a huge funfair! What more does a child want?
However, Barry Island fell on hard times as people deserted the British seaside towns for cheap holidays abroad. Maybe also for the guarantee of at least a few days of sunshine. This once iconic holiday destination that attracted literally thousands of holiday makers each year, was in deep decline. And then something marvelous happened in the form of a BBC TV show called ‘Gavin & Stacey‘.
This brilliant comedy series, written by Ruth Jones and James Corden, introduced Barry Island to a whole new audience. Nearly overnight, people were starting to drive down to Barry Island to see if it really was as depicted on the TV show. At that was the beginning of the regeneration of a wonderful seaside destination.
Over the past few years, there have been huge amounts of investment into the sea front, a great deal of it provided from local and the Welsh Government. Barry Island is an example of how to transform an area and now thousands of people flock there all year round.
There are excellent walks right along the coast from around Whitmore Bay to Jackson’s Bay. The Barry Island promenade is now littered with an array of coffee houses (like the fab Bay 5), chip shops and places to buy your buckets and spades. Even the funfair has been rejuvenated and is in the midst of a major overhaul. It is alive with activities being organised along the front and on the beach, which is also constantly cleaned. This is a million miles away from the Barry Island I knew and loved, but so much better.
Although my day job is photography, it is also my hobby and I just love photographing all the colour and magic that now fills Barry Island. A selection of photographs of the new Barry Island can be seen on my website and I intend to keep adding to them until there is nothing left to photograph!
Paul Fears is a Commercial and Industrial Photographer based in South Wales. For further information on his work or to request further information, please visit Paul’s website.
The sea was crashing into the coast, smashing against the rocks and sending spray high up into the sky and yet the sea fishermen appeared oblivious to it all. February stormy weather had hit the South Wales coast and my wife and I were out walking along a coastal path by Ogmore-by-Sea. Heavy mean looking clouds were rushing across the sky and the sun was constantly fighting to bite through and light up the glorious coastline. It was exhilarating!
Then I saw the first pair of fishermen. They were positioned on the edge of a rock face just metres away from where the sea was pounding against the rocks. Despite spray showering them, they stood and simply chatted, although they must have had to shout as the noise from the waves was deafening. Out came the 300mm zoom lens and I took a few shots to try and capture what I was seeing.
Further on there was further evidence of fishing madness. These keen but crazy sportsmen precariously perched themselves on rocks close to where the waves thundered into land. I wondered how, in the stormy seas, they would have a chance of catching any fish, but maybe that wasn’t the point. I was excited watching them and so the adrenalin must have been pumping through their veins as they defied the elements in pursuit of catching that special fish. Was this a classic example of the thrill of the chase?
As we walked back, the fishermen were packing up and walking home and I managed to get one final shot of a fisherman from Bargoed Sea Anglers all packed up and just gazing out across the sea. He appeared content, although maybe not with his catch of fish, but after winning his battle with the coastal elements.
Photographs of the sea anglers and sea fisherman can be seen on my website.
It is January and the temperature is around 4 degrees C with a wind-chill that takes it below freezing. I am wrapped up in around 4 layers of clothing, including thick socks and gloves and I am still cold. Not only is it cold, but there is a strong wind that whips up the waves that are pounding onto the beach at Porthcawl in South Wales, UK. And yet, I watch and take photographs as surfers brave the elements, striding out into the crashing froth is search of a wave to ride.
Rest Bay in Porthcawl is one of the best beaches for surfing in the area and on Saturday 17th January 2015 the weather was stormy and perfect for surfing. I couldn’t believe how many surfers were braving the elements and wondered how good those wetsuits were in keeping them warm. I doubted whether they were that effective.
The photographs I took hopefully tell the story and I particularly like the one with the surfer striding out into sea carrying his surfboard. The collection can be seen on the Paul Fears Photography website.
Stormy weather hit the UK again in early May 2014. Jackie and headed down to Porthcawl, for a walk along the beach and the sea front. The wind was so strong that it was difficult to walk and you were constantly being sand-blasted as the small grains of silica were whipped into the air and into your face. I had sand everywhere. It was exhilarating!
After the beach, we walked across to the sea front and watched the waves crash in against the lighthouse. I didn’t have the right lens, but I wasn’t going to change it in the awful wind and so I took what shots I could.
Some other photographs of the sea crashing against the coast at Porthcawl can be seen on my website – http://www.paulfearsphoto.co.uk/index.php?cat=photographs&id=16&album=Storms
It had just gone 6am and I had been poised waiting for the sun to rise for at least half an hour. Despite it being summertime, it was cold. I had positioned myself on a sand spit facing Herne Bay and the rising sun. My camera was mounted on my tripod for extra stability and it was just a waiting game for the sun. I occasionally acknowledged some joggers as they plodded past, giving me odd looks even when they had got up at this unearthly hour to burn off that fat and keep fit. Each to his own, I thought. And then the sun peaked over the horizon and the sun burst into colour. As I clicked away, I just thought how lucky I was and how worthwhile it had been to crawl out of bed over an hour earlier. More photos of the sunrise can be seen on my website on http://paulfearsphoto.co.uk/index.php?cat=photographs&id=16&album=Sun-Setting-and-Rising&sub_album=Sunrise-in-Kent