Living in the Land Where Clouds are Born
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... where Clouds are Born

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I think it's about time I explained the name of this blog.

Valley mist

Mist swirling in the valley, at sunrise

It's damp here. Really, really damp. Do you remember learning about the water cycle at school? Water evaporates from the sea, gets blown inland, rising over hills and cooling as it goes, then when it gets cool enough, condensing into clouds and rain. Also trees, taking up water through their roots and releasing it through their leaves back into the atmosphere. Well, I'm at that point on the diagram, half way up the hill, just above the trees, where all the water returns to the ground.

The average humidity here is over 80% and 100% for days on end is not uncommon. I thought I was pretty familiar with varieties of wet weather before I moved here, but I'd never encountered wet air before. It's not raining, or even drizzling, nor is it misty or foggy, but when you walk around outside, the air feels wet.

It may be hard to dry laundry, but there are upsides to this humid environment. My house sits on the side of a steep, wooded valley. There's a stream running by that disappears over a lip of stone in a small waterfall as it heads down to join many similar streams in a river at the bottom of the gorge. As I sit at my breakfast table, I can look across this valley at the mountains beyond, but it's the woodlands* cloaking the valley below - a temperate rainforest - that give rise to the phenomenon I'm talking about today.

Known poetically as "Gwynt y ddraig" or "dragon's breath", in the humid, forested river gorge, respiration from the trees condenses, forming low-lying mist that flows and swirls around the valley. Sometimes, these swirls break free of the valley floor and drift upwards, to start a new life as clouds, floating free in the sky.

I could watch the swirling, rising mist for hours, and sometimes do. I've made numerous attempts to film it, some more successful than others. Here's one, recorded in the early morning, back in July last year:

If you like this, you might like to have a look at the new video series I've been working on (the reason I've been a bit quiet on the blog recently). Each on of these is ten-to-twelve minutes of a relaxing scene that could be used as a focus for meditation, or just to take a little time out. If you're on my email list (subscription button at the bottom of the page) I'll assume that you'd like to hear about both blog posts and new videos unless you tell me otherwise, which you can do by clicking the 'update your preferences' link at the bottom of the email.

* Although not one of the four woodlands identified in the Celtic Rainforest project (see link), this valley is right in the middle of that area and a very similar environment. Return

Comments (6)

  1. Anneli:
    Feb 26, 2021 at 06:49 AM

    Ah, you just brought back memories ... It was certainly one of the most amazing places in UK to visit. We were constantly damp whilst camping there, but the views! Oh migosh! So worth it! I’m not sure how far you lived from there, but i think it wasn’t far. Lovely place, I’d like to visit again one day.


    1. rseabrook:
      Feb 26, 2021 at 11:43 AM

      I live just at the other end of the village from the campsite, so not far at all. I agree that the views are well worth the damp, though I'm not so sure I'd agree if I was camping. It probably helped that there was a cosy pub just down the road!


  2. Paul Campbell:
    Feb 26, 2021 at 12:35 PM

    I did wonder why the blog was called "Where clouds are born" but now i know! This mist phenomenon is quite fascinating, i have never seen anything like this where i live now so its amazing to see. We never get just "wet air" so it must present problems like you say when you want to dry laundry. Does it ever affect the houses? Would you see more damp on the brickwork because of this or is it just and outside kind of problem? On another note, i don't seem to be getting any blog post updates, i joined the mailing list as you know but i don't get any notifications, i do get them about replies on here but not your new blog posts.


    1. rseabrook:
      Feb 26, 2021 at 01:09 PM

      Well there you are, I'm glad I explained! Yes, the damp gets into everything, indoors and out. I dread to think what it's doing to the timbers of my house, but most of the house has been here for two hundred years, so I guess it's fairly resistant to rot.

      Thanks for letting me know about the problems with the email list. I've sent you a test message - we'll see if we can get to the bottom of it.


  3. Millymollymandy:
    Mar 02, 2021 at 03:37 PM

    What a nice shiny new blog! Very posh. I noticed a new post from your old blog on the blogroll on the sidebar of my blog, so clicked. I hadn't realised it was so long ago that you stopped your last blog - doesn't time fly! Love your mist, but I couldn't live in the damp atmosphere. Good luck with your new blog and new projects. Mandy xx


    1. rseabrook:
      Mar 08, 2021 at 12:22 AM

      Aw, thank you! Nice to hear from you xx


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