I am lucky enough to call the Brecon Beacons my home, with some of my favorite summits visible from my back garden and the starts of great hikes just a short drive away. I live in a little village called Ystradowen at the base of the Black Mountain, on the Western fringes of our National Park. In my village next to a disused school is an information board. This isn’t the sort of information board that I had been accustomed to, growing up in London or even in my many years living in Swansea. The sort of information board that I had come to expect provided information on bus time tables and local martial arts classes.
Now Ystradowen is a pretty small village in Carmarthenshire and is pretty unassuming. No pubs, no shops, no school, not even a post office (though we do have a community centre). But what it does have is stories, myths and legends! The most famous involving my little village is one of the “Twrch Trwyth” . The Twrch Trwyth is said to have been an enchanted boar that was chased all across Wales by the infamous King Arthur and his dog Cavall. Having only come to live in this little village a few years ago, I found this legends association here amazing and has made my calling this home a little magical.
The myths and legends of the Brecon Beacons don’t end there! One of personal favorites involves the daughter of the 5th century King “Brychan” and his most beautiful daughter, Gwladus. Gwladus is said to have fallen in love with a peasant by the name of Einion. I will not do the story the disservice of attempting to tell in my own words so here is a link – ( http://tinyurl.com/oefv6c8 ).
But I will say is that her spirit is said to have become immortalised in Sgwd Gwladys, a wonderful waterfall (and one of the more accessible) in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
I have spent alot of time around this lovely waterfall and have even had a quick dip in it’s plunge pool during a run in the heat of last summer! About 500 meters up stream, in a far less visited area is another waterfall that has links to this story, the waterfall of Sgwd Einion Gam. This waterfall is said to contain the love stricken spirit of Einion, Gwladus’s love.
It is in a beautifully secluded position, far out of reach for all but the most adventurous of ramblers to this area. But to those that make the effort in the month of May, it’s journey is filled with the colour blue 🙂
The waterfall is really only accessible during drier times as several river crossings are needed to reach it, though even then wellies are advisable! It can be tough, it can be slippery, but on arriving at this incredible enchanting place, you will wonder why you’ve never bothered before!
I think stories, both of fact and fiction are the most complimentary of companions to any outing in the wilds of Wales 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I would encourage you to look up the Mabinogion, which is the earliest prose literature of Britain and full of wonderful welsh stories!