I mentioned that I’d been away for a few days with my writing friends; in the chilly early months of the year we went to Lynmouth and now in early summer – or is it late spring? – we we’ve been to sunny Wales, to the Brecon Beacons. I must use the correct name for this outstandingly beautiful area, the Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog. It’s an area of mountains and hills and a variety of landscapes and with streams of running water and glorious waterfalls. I know there are waterfalls because we left our very comfortable and quirky accommodation in Tredegar and went to visit them.
We set off on our trip by going first to see the records of an awful and tragic visitation which arrived in Tredegar; these records were not details in written records or ledgers, they were the graves of the poor people of the town who had perished in cholera outbreaks in 1832-3, 1849 and 1866. At the time there was no cure or effective treatment for the vile disease which still ravages certain parts of the world today, especially where there is poverty, war or other aggravating factors. Wikipedia tells us ‘cholera continues to affect an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide and causes 28,800–130,000 deaths a year.’ The cholera cemetery of Cefn Golau holds the remains of about two hundred people, many buried in the same grave, and there are about twenty-six gravestones still standing, but you can see the broken remains of others.
We left Cefn Golau (having first picked up enough rubbish to fill a plastic bag, which people had left lying around in a most disrespectful and careless way) and headed off to find some waterfalls, which we did – in fact we found four, the famous Four Waterfalls – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd yr Eira. Now here is a confession – after our adventure visiting St James’ Park on the previous day, which was up a very, very steep hill, from which we had also to come down, I had a somewhat tender knee. I was ok on the flattish trail which leads to these waterfalls, but I did not descend to see the wonders of them, and in fact only one of us writers, the Poet Macaque, forged on and found them all. We, meanwhile sat on a bench and chatted to passers-by and their dogs, particularly the long-distance walking chihuahua, Bill. We returned to the carpark to wait on a different bench, writing, bird-watching and observing more passers-by and their dogs, including the naughty Harry and the very sleepy hound who had to be lifted into his car.
An exhausted but exhilarated Macaque returned to us, his camera full of photos, his mind full of words, and we headed back to our lodgings.
Can you see the fossilised dinosaur?