Wales is a very watery country. No news there, for those who live here nor for the less fortunate ones who don’t! The country is surrounded on three sides by the sea, criss-crossed by rivers and streams, dimpled by lakes both natural and man-made, and soaked by rain which sometimes seems to be relentless.
As a result it’s very green here – soggy, maybe, but green. Though when the sun shines in the summer the beaches compete with the most gorgeous anywhere, something that isn’t always known to people from outside Wales. I still remember several years ago being shocked into silence by a new member of staff (who’d spent three years as a student in Cardiff) asking where the beaches were in Wales! This was almost as bad as hearing another girl commenting that her cousins had told her (when they heard she was coming to work in Cardiff) that Wales was where you ended up when you “went wrong” at Bristol!
Talking of things being wrong: last month saw the fiftieth anniversary of the flooding of the village of Capel Celyn in order to construct a reservoir in the Tryweryn Valley. This was done to provide what was said to be much-needed water for the people of Liverpool. In an appalling, underhanded political manipulation of a small Welsh-speaking community, Liverpool City Council submitted a private bill to the House of Commons with the aim of carrying out this ruthless landgrab. And they succeeded. The people of Capel Celyn didn’t stand a chance. And today there’s a white-water rafting centre on the Tryweryn river, which benefits from the fact that the flow of water can be controlled via the dam.
On to happier things. The abundance of rain and the hilly terrain combine to give us plenty of waterfalls. Cascades. Cataracts. Not sure what the difference is…
Our waterfalls aren’t giants like Niagara, Victoria or Iguacu. They are much smaller, suiting the size of the country.
Some are in out-of-the-way spots, such as Sgwd yr Eira (shown above – which you can walk behind!) in the Western Brecon Beacons, Talybont-on-Usk (below) or Abergwyngregyn in Gwynedd (bottom of the page).
We’ve visited each of these over the last few months but clearly there are many more to see. I’m going to make this a bit of a mission: no hiding for you, Rhaeadr, Aberdulais, Conwy…or even the brilliantly named Water-break-its-neck falls in Radnor. It may take a while but as soon as there are more pics I’ll post them here. Waterfalls are better after heavy rain, of course, so that’s one thing we can thank the climate for.
And, because I can’t resist it, I can also thank Dylan Thomas, whose “…birthday began with the water…” for these lines
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days