This post is the first in a new series I’m starting all about Wales, with it’s varied landscapes and locations. I’ve been based in Cardiff – Wales’ capital – on and off for the past seven years, and recently I’ve been challenging myself to get out and explore more of the wonderful places I have on my doorstep.
Just an hour and a half outside of Cardiff is the scenic Llyn Y Fan Fach: a beautiful, clear lake lying in the the shadow of the dramatic Black Mountain.
Legend has it that Llyn Y Fan Fach was once (and maybe still is!) home to the mysterious Lady of the Lake….
The story goes that one day, a shepherd boy was out tending his flock on the mountainside when an ethereal woman rose out of the lake. He was so enamoured with her beauty that he begged her to marry him; she agreed, under the condition that he must not strike her three times. They lived happily together for many years, with three sons and a thriving farm… but the husband couldn’t keep his promise. After he struck her for the third time, she sped back to the lake, taking all of their livestock with her. Heartbroken, he was left to raise their children alone.
It’s a dark tale, but surprisingly feminist for a folk story!
Though the lady might be long gone, there’s still an air of magic at Llyn y Fan Fach. As I wandered around the edge of the lake, a breeze rustled the long grasses in the surrounding fields and the carried voices of other walkers across the water. It’s a relatively easy walk up from the nearby car park, but I must admit the consistent incline of the path wore me out a little! If you want more of a challenge, you can continue up the path along the ridge of the Black Mountain and Fan Hir.