The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed 29th November to 3rd December 2005
Post-production completed 4th February 2007
Latest revised edition 13th February 2016
Running time 47 minutes
During the winter of 2005 I spend a short break in Mid Wales including a few days in the  Elan Valley . I particularly remember spending my 18th birthday in this picturesque region and so I have a lot of memories of back then. Revisiting this area also reminds me of someone who was very special to me at that time.....
Filmed in the counties of  Monmouthshire Powys  and  Ceredigion  featuring part of the  Brecon Beacons  and the  Elan Valley .  Specific locations include  Abergavenny Crickhowell Brecon Builth Wells Rhayader Devil's Bridge  and  Aberystwyth .
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Background and production details
I can remember going on holiday with my family to a specific destination in  Wales  and the route we used to take was along the A40 through the  Brecon Beacons . There was one particular part of that journey that always stayed in my head.  It was a long double-bend in the road which slowly climbed up a big hill through a village called  Bwlch  before dropping down the other side as the road headed on towards  Brecon .

Around this time I was introduced to Pink Floyd music for the very first time. An uncle of mine owned the album “ Meddle ” which he played to me, and it made an everlasting impression on me.  The track entitled “Echoes” was (and still is) some of the most atmospheric music I had ever heard.  Whilst I was listening to “ Echoes ” for some reason it made me think of the journey along the A40 as described above.  For example, there is one very eerie sequence in “Echoes” which sounds like deep howling winds, and this particular sequence made me think of the aforementioned road climbing up through Bwlch.

A few years later my family took me to the  Elan Valley , which I thought was a truly remarkable place.  The scenery was unsurpassed and I was fascinated by all the huge dams and reservoirs.  I don’t remember my first trip in any great detail to this part of Wales, but I do remember my second visit as it was on the day of my 18th birthday.  My family took me there as a special birthday treat as they knew how much I loved it from our first visit.  We also explored the area more thoroughly the second time around including visits to  Devil's Bridge  and  Aberystwyth .

I was a very moody teenager and I do recall that I had a lot on my mind when I turned 18 years old.  I was very keen on this girl with whom I worked at that time.  Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, she was always on my mind.  My trip to the Elan Valley on my 18th birthday was no exception. Even though I loved seeing the wonderful scenery again I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl all the time we were there.

Therefore, I decided I wanted to make a film that combined all the elements I have described above.  In November 2005 I took a week off work and drove down to  Abergavenny  where I spent one night in a B&B a few miles outside of the town.  Whilst I was staying here I was determined to record some scenes along the A40 through Bwlch to try to recreate my original memories of this hill with Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” as the accompanying soundtrack.  I shot some scenes through the car windscreen to show some of the journey to Abergavenny and beyond as well as shooting some scenes in the town itself as well as  Crickhowell  and Brecon.

The next day I moved on and travelled northwards through  Builth Wells  to  Rhayader  and shot many scenes in these towns as well as the countryside in and around these areas.  I spent three nights in a  B&B in Rhayader , where I recorded my scenes in the Elan Valley reservoirs as well as the wonderfully bleak mountain road to Devil’s Bridge and Aberystwyth.  Whilst I was staying in Rhayader I decided to record some scenes of me talking about my memories of previous visits to the area, as well as the girl who was on my mind when I was 18.

In the editing stage I recorded what is possibly the least amount of music I have ever composed for a “Solitary Rambler” film.  I composed some very satisfying themes, but because I wanted to include quite a large selection of Pink Floyd music from the albums “Meddle” and “ Animals ” my own musical soundtrack seems quite sparse in comparison to previous stories.

An interesting point about this film is that it is the first "Solitary Rambler" story where I am not credited as the writer.  As with the last two films I was getting very conscious of my own name being the only one appearing in all the credits, hence creating the pseudonym Martin Roy, which I have used again in "Enchantment of Elan".  This time I have created Bryan Maltby as a second pseudonym as being the writer of this film.  Bryan is actually one of my middle names and Maltby is my mother's maiden name.

Revised edition
I was on a real roll in re-editing my earlier videos in early 2016. After successfully completing re-edits of films 7-11 I looked to work on film 12.
I didn’t want to change “Enchantment of Elan” during re-editing this film apart from cutting down some of the internal scenes of me talking inside my guest houses, which I felt dragged on in some parts in the original 2007 version. This updated version now runs at 47 minutes and, like the re-edits of “ Perspectives in Pembrokeshire ” and “ Mound of Mercia ”, the sound is all in stereo.
There were also a small number of photographs I had used in the original 2007 version, which I decided not to use in this new edit.
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Previous: Mound of Mercia
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