Updated: Jan 12, 2021
Winter has its grip; frost, snow and the cold. The days are still short and at present we are being compelled to ‘stay at home’. For me, walking is one of the antidotes to isolation. It is much easier on hard ground to forge a path up through the fields to the east of Gelli Dywyll. The dog and I set out, well wrapped, beneath a clear blue sky and begin to climb.
Our breath vaporises instantly in the cold air. A pair of crows pass overhead, heading out across the valley; the only life we see, save for a small flock of sheep feeding at a rack of silage. The rising sun, still low in the sky, casts deep blue shadows out across the snowy ground along the edge of the wood. And a thousand ice crystals sparkle in the light which shafts through the frosty bracken. Everywhere, the clear white light of the snowy landscape assaults our senses. All is white with shadows of cerulean and indigo.
At the moor-gate we turn north along the edge of the hill towards the ruins. Four walls that are all that remains of a small cottage perched on a ledge of the Mynydd. The ledge and the scar above it is evidently part of an ancient landslip that occurred several thousands of years ago, sometime following the demise of the last ice age. Below another cottage nestles at the hill-foot with a larger farm below that. On older maps the ruin is marked with the name ‘Craig’, which means 'rock'- perhaps an allusion to the nearby quarry or, more likely, the rubble of rocks derived from the slipped rock. An old cast iron bread oven, built into one wall, is still more or less intact, although the cottage roof is long gone, perhaps robbed for its slates although it’s clearly old enough to have once been thatched.
This once inhabited site now has a peaceful feel, and today amid this virginal snowscape takes on a pure cold beauty. The tumbledown stones are rimed with frost and mantled with snow. Ancient trees surround; ash, sycamore and groves of hazel. I shall paint it one day.
Snow on the Mynydd
A new work : January 2021