September 6th, 2019
The nights are drawing in and the days are getting shorter, so why not make the most of one of the region’s beautiful sunrises?
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope” said 20th century moral philosopher Bernard Williams, and our three stunning sunrise walks along the Welsh coast this month might prove just that.
The western coasts of Wales are well known for their stunning sunsets but did you know that the it is also a fantastic place to witness the sunrise – especially in the winter months because this daily phenomenon happens much later than in the summer months, which means you don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn.
In technical terms sunrise occurs at the precise moment that the top edge of the sun appears over the horizon in the morning. The sun always rises in the east, so any elevated position along the Welsh coast that has a good view eastwards will be a wonderful place to first catch a glimpse of the day’s sun.
And of course, a sunrise is really a clever optical illusion. It may appear as though the sun lifts up into the sky but it really occurs because the Earth is moving past the sun. For thousands of years however, it was believed by many cultures across the world that the sun was so powerful that it had the ability to move around in the sky. It wasn’t until the 16th century that astronomer Copernicus came up with the idea that the Earth (and all the other planets) moved around the sun, and not the other way round.
Sunrise is an important and sacred daily event for many cultures and religions, and has been for centuries. The transformation from night into the dawning of a new day is thought of as a powerful and cathartic time of new beginnings. The Ancient Greeks, the Chinese, Mayans, Egyptians and Indians have all held the sun in great esteem, and in fact some of the world’s most important historical monuments seem to have been designed around the sunrise and sunset times. The buildings of the Egyptian Pyramids, the site of Machu Picchu in Peru and Stonehenge in England are all thought to have some link to the perceived rise and fall of the sun. In Paganism, welcoming the sun into a new day is an important ritual, as are sun salutations during the ancient art of yoga practice.
Sunrise is one of the best times of day to witness the glorious and gorgeous colours of Mother Nature. If you’re lucky you may catch vivid reds, pinks, oranges, yellows and mauves scattered across the sky. These stunning colours are caused by tiny air molecules and dust particles that scatter the sun’s white rays as they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the light to change colour to the human eye. And the crisp cold air of winter makes these colours even more vivid.