A Photographer’s Insight- Becoming A Film Star

The other week I was involved with filming… my first break for stardom.

The Location- On the Monmouthshire-Brecon Canal between The Lock at Llanhamlach and Talybont-on-Usk

My Part- Walker number 2 (I know what you are thinking…what a great name! Right?)

My character- A walker who is enjoying a countryside stroll next to the canal with my friend. (I think I did the part justice)… Yes…I was an extra.

What were we filming you ask? Well, something big, something HUGE, something that will make me a star… the S4C IDENT! (For non Welsh readers, S4C is like the Gaelic BBC ALBA station- a Welsh TV station who broadcast programs in Welsh)

When you think about it…I will be on the channel at least twice a day, which is more than Ian Beale could ask for! But I was definitely not the main star, it was actually a really interesting and fun day. Let me tell you about it…

A bunch of lovely people like myself all met in the Coach and Horses Car Park in Llangynider (which is under new management -a great place to eat) and made our way over to the bridge going over the canal near Llanhamlech Lock.

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Photo: the lovely film crew setting up the 1st shot. Wonderful sunny weather!

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Photo: Having to wait for the canal barge to pass before mounting the Akwakats

When we got there we were enthralled by the futuristic looking water bicycles, called Akwakats, which were being constructed on the side of the canal path.

Ann’s Daughter Becky, who was also part of the eager extras, was the “daughter” in the family canal bikeathon and actually got to ride the Akwakats for most of the day while the rest of us looked on jealously.

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Photo: Becky mastering the skill of the Akwakat

The Akwakats looked a fun mix of mountain bike frame and catamaran-like inflated tyres. Technician Tony Bain from Green Dragon Activities was there to show everyone how easy they could be ridden and help if anyone got stuck-which only happened once pretty close to the start of the day.

After performing my part to perfection (?) which included walking, smiling pointing and waving at the “family” on the water bikes up and down the canal we moved on to Talybont-on-Usk. There is a wider part of the canal and a turning space which was used for a family race. We had lunch at the White Hart Pub (Thank You Rhodri) and watched as the filming came to a close and then were told we too could have a go! Which was great!

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Photo By Rhodri John: There I am! Such a happy cyclist!

I have to say despite looking sedate- they are actually quite fast when you are on the bike, faster than a canal boat anyways. The Akwakat also doesn’t require as much effort in pedalling as you would on a normal road surface.

The only downside is that there is only 4 of them in UK. They have come over from New Zealand where they even use them on the SEA!

It will be on in September- so switch over to S4C and have a look, see if you can spot me in our idyllic Welsh landscape up in the Brecon Beacons …or possibly my trainers on the bike!

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