Will you come with me on my
favourite walk, locally in Llŷn, a walk that I never tire of nor
get bored in doing? It will take about four hours or thereabout depending
on what and whom I see [who’s counting anyway?], the variety
is unavoidable, no two walks are ever the same, even if they’re done
within a fortnight of each other. Nature, history - very ancient in
some parts - present-day industry, early industry, and a portion of
mystery as well, numerous old
wells, who knows what will show up.
the car at the National Trust car park near Cwrt, the other
side of the road, almost opposite. The farm is also
by the National Trust by now, parking is free, and it’s never full.
begin with, Cwrt has a history, as the name implies, Cwrt
translates to Court, it was known as The Abbot’s Court in
earlier times. The Bardsey Monastry and its property on the
mainland - which was considerable in those days - was managed from
Cwrt. A search of the Monastry’s estates in 1547
describes Cwrt as ‘ a house within walls near the Island,
called the Bardsey Court, with orchards, walled gardens and buildings
estimated about two acres . . . in the vicinity also were 157 acres of
arable land, grazing fields, meadows, gorse-land, also six acres known as
‘Tredom.’ ‘ Does anyone know anything about, or the whereabouts of
Tredom? I don’t. This is also where cases of crime, laws and justice
were held, finance and taxes discussed.
Reverend John Owen refers in his volumes of ‘The History of Wales,
1875,’ to a prison on Cwrt farm, to Gallows Hill,
one of Cwrt’s fields, on the highest point if you notice, ‘so
that the capital punishment will be visible
to the whole country as warning.’ There is also a part of the estate
there, a field known as The Abbot Hill.
now go down the track towards Porth Meudwy, - The Hermit’s
Cove - the cove that led the saints and hermits to the Sacred
Island. We see here a number of boats,
a number if you come here summertime, as there are twelve to fifteen local
boats on their trailers, if you are fortunate, you will see them competing
in a regatta several times during the season, a view worth seeing, the
competition is very hot to see who wins the most points over the series,
with glory and a cup perhaps, presented at the prize-giving dinner at the
end of the season.
here also one of the local industries that continues, seasonal maybe, but
as the climate changes, the lobster-catching season is extended, at least
five local lads earn their
living at this work. Another of Llŷn’s industry is farming, this
is an all-year-round occupation, and at some periods, lambing-time
especially, it’s a round-the-clock job, hard and diligent work, but the
farms and crofts look neat and tidy.
Porth Meudwy and the smell of sea-weed, - take a lung-full of it, it
will do you
- we go to the right and up the steps, steps that have been repaired
after a land-slide in 2005, a great deal of damage was done to the
Llŷn cliffs as the result of heavy rains, which entailed hard and
extensive work to safeguard the paths.
climbing the steps and passing through the gate, we view the sea proper,
and a lovely vista it is, Aberdaron Bay and village, Gull
Islands, Penrhyn Point, Penarfynydd Point, Cilan Head,
not to mention Cardigan Bay and the Meirioneth landscape,
the view is an excuse, if not a good reason to stop for a ten minute
breather after the steps, to look around.
narrow windy path leads us next to Porth y Gloch - The Bell
Cove - from the cliff-top it takes the shape of a bell, but there is
another story as to how the name came about, by now it’s part of history.
goes like this :- it is said that a bell from the Bala Monastry
was being moved to Bardsey Island for safe keeping at the time when
monastries were being destroyed, but that as it neared Pen y Cil,
- that’s the western-most arm of
Bay - the bell fell into the sea, all attempts to get it back into
the boat failed, and they had to abandon it and let it rest where it fell,
which leads us to an old Welsh saying, ‘As firm as the Bell of
a great variety of birds and flowers in the area, some of the birds such
as the skylark, curlew and the yellowhammer are getting scarcer, while
birds like the wheatear, stonechat, woodcock, buzzard and the hawk seem to
be holding their own, also sea birds like the fulmar, cormorant and the
gulls. The area is not without its vipers either, in spite of the old
tradition that they did not exist on the western side of the Saint
there’s a great variety of flowers to be had, like the thrift, sea campion,
thyme, hare-bells, heath bedstraw, carline thistle, foxglove and many more
like the heather and gorse that go so well together, all very striking.
there we are, the next site of interest is one of the old industry,
Porth y Pistyll, but is better-known locally as Trwyn Dwmi,
Craig y Cwlwm is also close by, I have no explanation on the meaning
of either word, I approached Professor Bedwyr Lewis Jones, an
expert on place-name meanings, but he could not help. The rock is
granite, and setts for road and kerb making for our towns and cities were
produced.. Work was first recorded here in 1907, and there was a
period of work in the 1930s when 45 people worked the
rock, it was so promising at this time that houses were partly built for
the workers, they are still standing exactly as they were then, a shop
and chapel were part of the development plan, plus
more houses, but the money was spent before any profit was made,
therefore, the company went bankrupt, the quarry shut down, an auction was
held, some buildings went to Pencwm, Uwchmynydd, others to
Rhydgaled, Nanhoron, everything went a-scatter. Some of the
machinery can still be seen at the site.
turn our looks southwards along the cliff-top path until we come to
Henborth - The Old Cove, - as far as I know, there is
nothing unusual about it, but the sea looks very nice from this height,
you might see a fox hereabout. Pen y Cil is our next point of
interest, where the Island of Saints come into plain view, [loosely
translated, Pen y Cil becomes ‘the last corner or point that
leads the hermits to Bardsey’], and this is where one mystery shows
itself, carvings on a rock, ‘William a
John,’ who on earth were these two? What was their
Farmers? Fishermen? Were they brothers? Were they related at all? They
obviously knew each other, friends perhaps. More than likely. We shall
never know, but they have spent some time with hammer and chisel, could
they be masons perhaps? Who knows.
some climbing to do now, but it is worth while looking at the view from
almost sea level, no doubt it is different to what it will be when we get
to the top of Grepach Mountain. But before we reach the top,
another mystery that the area keeps to itself is approached, another
carving, this is beside a natural seat in the rocks, the carving this time
is ‘R G M O 1844,’ and further
to the right are two more letters like ‘J W.’
Is there an explanation do you think? I believe not, but it gives rein to
the imagination, does it not?
yards on towards the very top of the hill, we see still another rock
carving, but I can explain this one away, the carving, ‘J.
H. H.H. 1929.’ These were two brothers, they lived at
Grepach, the small-holding that gives the hill its name, or is it the
other way around? Jeremiah Hughes, and Hugh Hughes.
became Jerry Maenhir, Pengroeslon, Hugh became
Hugh Bryn, Pencaerau, both had families who still live in the
area, and there we are, solved one out of three.
on a bit further and stand above and in view of Parwyd, the ideal
spot for archaeologists, the bare rock is high and sheer, revealing the
layers and upthrusts of rock found in this cove. It is a favoured
nesting site in the spring. From this spot, we look inland rather than
towards the sea, with a good vista of Mynydd Gwyddel, Mynydd
Mawr, Anelog, Carreg, Garn Fadryn, Y Rhiw,
and on towards The Rivals and Snowdonia. Winter-time
Snowdonia looks beautiful, with the sun shining on a covering of snow.
Island fills our gaze by now, but between us and the island lies
Graig Ddu - Black Rock - that stands in the powerful
currents of the Sound, the currents are very strong, and it is
quite understandable why the inhabitants in the old days turned to prayers
when making the crossing. On the rock and around it, you can see seals
swimming, and hauled out on the rock.
come to the open heathland of Mynydd Bachestyn, Pigs of Ystum
say some, but I think not. We head seawards where we come upon the ruins
of very old buildings, one looks like an oblong building within a much
larger oblong earth enclosure. Adjoining these are ruins of much older
buildings, one square and one round, how old, no one knows. There are two
or three wells nearby, and three more further on.
going over a stile, the path nears the sea again, where we see signs of
mining or quarrying, carried out I’m almost certain, by a man named
George Spargo, who along with a number of different partners, did a
lot of exploratory digging, seeking minerals and fortunes. He married
Margaret Griffith, Pengraig, Llangwnnadl, related to the
Felan - The Yellow Cove - is our next point of interest,
this was used by the early inhabitants and pilgrims when other crossing
points were not practical due to adverse weather conditions or wind
direction. On top of the cliff, within view of the cove, stands an old
lime kiln. Two hundred yards on, at the foot of Mynydd Gwyddel, we
row of very old, ruined, square buildings, five or six in numbers.
a climb ahead of us now to get to the top of Mynydd Gwyddel, the
view changes again, we look down towards St. Mary’s Church, or the
ruins of, where the saints took shelter, were fed and cared for while
awaiting to cross the Sound to Bardsey Island, the wait
could be weeks long when bad weather dictated its terms. We see now
Maen Melyn Llŷn - The Yellow Rock of Llŷn - it is partly
jasper and is covered by yellow ken, hence the name - that is situated
above St. Mary’s Well, the fable regarding the well is quite
interesting, if you can hold a mouthful of water from the well without
swallowing it, and climb to the top of Mynydd Mawr, whatever you
wish for is yours. I have witnessed this feat, but the person would not
reveal his wish, we parted that same day and have not met since. The well
water is fresh in spite of having the salt water waves wash over it.
our way down the wide path from Mynydd Gwyddel - notice on your
left, a well that used to work a ram to pump water to Tŷ Mawr and
Gwyddel before mains water from Cwm Ystradllyn came, the two
farms shared the cost of the installation, which was £150, water
had to be piped into the cowsheds before the Creameries at
Rhydgwystl would accept the milk. We now climb part-way up Mynydd
Mawr, then fork right towards Safn Pant, there is a lively well
behind the house, there is also another one at the foot of Mynydd Mawr
that worked another ram to pump water to the top of the hill, H.M.
Forces occupying the whole of Mynydd Mawr and several other
sites then during World War II., but we shall not follow that
path takes us down-hill now, between Safn Pant and Safn Pant
Bach until we reach the road, which we cross, and follow the path
across fields which will bring us to Pwllciw, past Gwag y Noe.
Pwll Ciw was known in the early days of carriers, goods and
passengers, back and forth to Pwllheli, the local township. We now
follow the road back to the car park at Cwrt, passing Bodermyd
Isa’ and Tir Glyn.
you for your company, it will be nice to remove the boots now.
Wil Efail Rhos.