Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Pilgrims of a kind

After a good nine hours sleep and a hearty breakfast we lazed around, uncertain how the day's weather was going to evolve. Would it get cloudier and rain, or clear up? Well, by half past eleven nothing had changed, it was just cloudy, not too cold, so we headed off inland, first to Bettws-y-Coed where we had a picnic lunch and visited the railway station. In addition of serving as a station on the main line, it boasts a miniature steam railway pulling several dozen tourists around a large oval track several hundred yards in length, and alongside it a small electric tram, plying up and down a single line, carrying half a dozen. There are holday cottages, a few shops and a restaurant in the old station buildings. Altogether it's a creative re-purposing of real estate no longer needed for running a rail service, adding great value to the town's tourist offer.

From Bettws-y-Coed we followed the old A5 coach road in an eastward direction as far as a junction which took us to the village of Penmachno. We then followed a single track metalled road several miles up and over a forested mountain into a secluded valley to find Ty Mawr Wybrnant, a sixteenth century farmhouse now in the hands of the National Trust. 

In 1545 it was the house of a prosperous tenant farmer, and became the birthplace of William Morgan, the first translator of the Welsh Old Testament, and reviser of Salesbury's Welsh New Testament. Alas, it was closed! We were, however, able to walk around and enjoy the peace and beauty of this hidden place, and to marvel that a young man from here had made his way to study in Cambridge in the 1560s. In addition to his scholarly achievement, he was appointed Bishop of Llandaff in 1595 and moved back home up North to become Bishop of St Asaph for the three years before he died in 1604. His translation of scripture has done as much for the formation of the Welsh language as it Tyndall's English and Luther's German translations for their respective mother tongues.

We returned the same way, stopping in Beddgelert for a walk along the river and a cup of tea afterwards. As we entered the riverside park, we couldn't help noticing more than a dozen dogs of various breeds and sizes, all attached to their owners, assembled alongside the wall by the entrance gate. We puzzled over this rather conspicuous gathering for a moment, and that Clare said, "Well what else should be expected in the vicinity of Gelert's grave"

No comments:

Post a Comment