Just an hour up the A470 in Cardiff is the National park, the Brecon Beacons. One of three national parks here in Wales and it’s worth getting out of the urban areas to realise just how extraordinarily beautiful the country is.
I cycle regularly around a 80km radius and going to and from Cardiff is in itself lovely courtesy of the Taff trail, but go to the vale and you are in countryside territory. Where I’m based, I have the Garth virtually on my doorstep and then the taff trail can take you all the way up to Brecon where there are mountains and all sorts of other routes to take.
This weekend, I decided to make the most of the weather and head to the beacons to do the famous waterfall trail there. It was a popular choice last Saturday. It wasn’t too busy thankfully but certainly vibrant.
So near Penderyn (know for their whisky) is waterfall country on the river hepste where there are a series of four absolutely stunning waterfalls. Probably the most noteworthy is Sgwd yr Eira (the fall of snow) where you are able to walk underneath the waterfall.
There are steady parts of the walk, but there are also steep climbs to access some parts so having good footwear and knowing what your capable of is strongly advisable, but there is an opportunity to experience extraordinary natural beauty here and I’m glad I got to see it all again.
I absolutely love building a pedal board. It’s part of the fun of being an electric guitar player!
It’s quite common place for some guitarists to use all encompassing effects units like Kemper and Helix, which are amazing options but I do love the old school approach of putting individual pedals together and running them through an amp.
And my board needed desperate upgrading, since we are going to be gigging again soon. So I decided to invest in new power and a new board.
There are lots of options out there and here’s how I made my approach.
1. The power
I decided what my essential pedals were and what I needed power for to get through a set. I lined them up together, took note of their power requirements. 1 was 12v, 1 was 9v 300ma but the others were straight forward 9dc. 9 pedals altogether, so I needed a relatively big power supply and wanted one that could provide space for future purchases.
I decided to get the Truetone 1spot. It is mega high end but isn’t as expensive as the Mondo or Strymon. Their YouTube tutorials were super helpful and they also sell the thing with mount brackets. the power is all isolated and my rig has never sounded so beautifully quiet!
2. The board
I used tape measure and cross checked it with board sizes. Also with the consideration that I may add to my board in future. The pedaltrain Novo 24 was the one, with a fight case to ensure full protection on the road. The tape is super robust so all my pedals are well truly stuck on and ready to carry about.
So today was a fun creative day building my board and I really look forward to taking it out at my gigs with Kinky Wizzards.
They are a mixture of optimistic hope as days grow longer in spring and days and evenings are lighter, and a mixture of agonising dread as days are dominated by rainfall such as what we had in May and many periods in August.
Throughout this summer, when sun has come out without disruption, I’ve made the most of the weather, I’ve sat out at parks, I’ve walked through countryside and I’ve cycled hundreds of kilometres.
I’ve sat outside, enjoying drinks with friends and taken in the blue skies and beauty that we are surrounded by in South Wales.
As we come to September, the academic year starts, but normally we are graced with quite lovely and cool weather and as days grow shorter and colder, I’ll think back on this summer fondly as a time I became fully acquainted with home and the beauty that surrounds me. Especially after having spent many years travelling.
Summer has been a period for me to be active physically but take it easy mentally and with my creative work, which is at times very consuming.
I’m ready to come back to it a bit more fresh and sometimes the best thing you can do for a project is step away from it for a short while.