THE BARD TALIESIN AND THE TWIN LAKES WALK
Llyn Crafnant is serenely beautiful, and it’s only 5 minutes from the car to its northern tip. Here, at the head of the ‘valley of garlic’, is a lake surrounded by woodland, lush pasture and craggy hills. The walk is easy too, on an undulating forestry track that gives a slightly elevated view of the lake. Little whitewashed cottages are arranged neatly in the lower pastures, while the hill slopes at the head of the valley are tinged with the russet of heather and the golden grey of the much-faulted crags which rise to the knobbly ridge crest. Here the summit of Crimpiau rules supreme. You will visit open slate mining caves, and old mining buildings, and get a feel for the workings and hardships of the miners many years ago working in this serene and beautiful area.
We have a true tale to tell of this area which many years ago shocked the region and its mining community.
After rounding the lake the route climbs out of the valley, through the trees and zig-zags down into the upland hollow of Llyn Geirionydd. This is a wilder place altogether, one with barren hillsides and conifer plantations – sometimes there are water-skiers on the lake to contradict the wildness. Another lakeside path follows, sometimes almost dipping into the lapping waters. Round a corner you come to the spoil heaps of a huge old lead mine.
During the walk, we will have a coffee and cake break at the quaint lakeside café , where we can make use of their Canadian canoe’s for a paddle on the lake.
On a grassy mound at the end of the lake stands an obelisk. Erected in 1850 it commemorates Taliesin, a 6th-century bard who has been linked to legends as colorful as his poems. Most scholars believe him to be of Irish descent and it is known he lived here at the northern end of Geirionydd. In those times bards would have been resident in the courts of many warlord kings, and Taliesin was said to have attended King Maelgwyn Gwynedd, one of the most sinful rulers in history, according to one of the local monks. After a fiery row the departing bard predicted that a yellow creature would rise from Morfa Rhianedd (Llandudno) and kill the King. It is known that when the King died in ad 547 there was an outbreak of yellow fever. Many of Taliesin’s more fanciful poems recall tales of magic and mystery, and many of them relate to the heroics of the great King Arthur, who some believe was his one-time master. It is quite possible that he spent time in the court of Urien of Rheged, a northern leader whose kingdom occupied much of modern Cumbria and south west Scotland. Many people link Urien’s deeds with those of the mythical Arthur.
The bardic traditions didn’t die with Taliesin, for the Welsh poet, Gwilim Cowlyd organised an Eisteddfod in 1863, after a disagreement with the rules of the national event. It was held here until 1912, eight years after Cowlyd’s death, and each year attracted many distinguished entries.
The café on the walk is not open all year and an alternative stop for refreshments will be made. Also mobility and fitness levels will determine if the full twin lakes can be completed, or a shorter alternative route would be more suitable