May 29



Since moving to Wales, I have fallen in love with the land, its scenery, culture and history. My aim is to add information here about Welsh places, people, traditions, stories, music, anything really that catches my fancy. It will be a rather eclectic mixture of topics reflecting my own interests. I hope that some of the content will interest you as well. I add to it as and when work and other commitments leave me time. If there is any topic you would like to see covered, please feel free to contact me, although I can’t promise when I will be able to tackle it. Just one thing, though. I really am not interested in rugby or any other sport and do not intend to cover that at all. Heresy, I know!
Thank you for visiting and please return.

Dec 14

Staying in Brecon


The narrow Georgian streets of Brecon call out to be explored.

The small market town of Brecon is a great place for a short break or as a base from which to explore the surrounding Brecon Beacons national park. Its narrow streets and passages, lined with Georgian building hide all sorts of interesting shops and eateries. Shoppers should also remember the market that is held every Tuesday and Friday. If you are after something more exclusive, try the craft market every third Saturday of the month. Brecon is not just for shoppers, though, there are other things to see and do.

Jazz fans descend on the town each year in August to enjoy the world-famous Brecon Jazz Festival. The 31st festival takes place in 2015 over the weekend of 7-9 August.

Read on to find out what else you can expect from a stay in Brecon, or Aberhonddu if you want to use the Welsh name.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 19

Welsh Christmas Carols – The Plygain Tradition

Plygain carols are a specific variety of Christmas carols sung in Wales in the Welsh language. The carols, which date from the 17th to the 19th century are some of the most fantastic music I have heard.

This is music sung with a full voice and a full heart. It has a renewing and life-enhancing effect on both singers and listeners. It is lovely to see the happy smiles on most faces at the end of a plygain session, no matter whether the participants are believers of the Christian tradition or not.

The plygain tradition managed to remain alive in churches and chapels in small pockets of North Wales and in the border region between Wales and Shropshire (England). It is now undergoing a revival as more and more people discover this wonderful music. Read the rest of this entry »

Welsh love spoons and their symbols – a Celtic “I love you”

A hand-carved love spoon, also written as lovespoon, from Wales (Welsh: llwy caru; plural llwyau caruis the perfect romantic gift for Valentine’s Day, to mark an engagement or a wedding anniversary. While love spoons originally symbolised a marriage proposal, today they are also given as presents for children to parents, as simple expressions of friendship and on important life occasions. Many people also like to buy them as a souvenir of a visit to Wales or to display in the home to show their Welsh roots. Read the rest of this entry »

Glamorgan sausages: history and recipe

Glamorgan sausages enter into the most traditional Welsh foods. Sausage in Welsh is selsigen (plural selsig) so in Wales they are called Selsig Morgannwg. They have sometimes been called “poor man’s sausages”, because they are meat-free and are also a way to use up stale bread. Thus they are a great idea for anyone looking for cheap veggie recipes. Read the rest of this entry »

Routes up Pen y Fan (2907 ft) , Brecon Beacons

Highest peak in South Wales

This article describes walking routes to the summit of Pen y Fan, which is one of the three most iconic Welsh mountains, Cadair Idris and Snowdon being the others. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking to the summit of Cader Idris

Cader Idris (or more correctly Cadair Idris) is justifiably the second most-popular mountain in Wales after Snowdon. It is actually a ridge, 6.5 miles long, at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park. The summit itself is called Pen y Gadair and is 2930 ft high. There are a number of approaches to the summit.

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Snowdon: Names and Legends

The highest mountain in Wales

This post gives some lore and facts about the highest peak in the UK outside of Scotland. There are six official routes for walking to the top of Snowdon, which are described in other posts (links at the bottom of this post). They vary in difficulty, so with the right choice, this mountain can offer the desired level of challenge to most walkers. For those not able to make the ascent on foot, it is also possible to reach the summit of Snowdon using the mountain train, details of which are given below.

Sunrise over Snowdon By Sebholland (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunrise over Snowdon
By Sebholland (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Names and legends

Like many places in Wales, Snowdon has associations with the Arthurian legends. Some variants of these stories have Arthur disappearing into the mist wreathing the mountain after being mortally wounded by an arrow at the Bwlch y Saethau (Pass of Arrows). Read the rest of this entry »

How to keep safe when walking in the Welsh mountains

The weather in Wales can be treacherous. It is possible to start walking in brilliant sunshine and suddenly be faced with a heavy mist and/or lashing rain. The temperature up in the mountains is often about 10°C (18°C F) lower than in the valleys, and wind-chill will make it even colder. Do not underestimate the risk of exposure and the dangers of losing your way in the mist. Learn how to be safe. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking to the top of Snowdon: Llanberis Path and Snowdon Ranger Path

There are six main walking routes up Snowdon. This post describes the two easiest paths, namely the Snowdon Ranger Path and the Llanberis Path.Walking times are estimated by many authors to be about 6 hours, but if you are less experienced at hill walking, I recommend assuming that a full day will be needed. Read the rest of this entry »