Retracing Wales: Morfa Bychan
From Planet 225

by Jan Morris

© Jan Morris

© Jan Morris

I am no trecker, and sometimes I sense in walkers along the Welsh Coast Path, which runs close to my home in Gwynedd, a certain sense of déjà vu. They have walked a long way beside the sea, and perhaps they are ready for a different kind of Welsh experience. Well, if it is a dose of the old hiraeth they are pining for, wonder, beauty, enigma, irony and all, here is a little expedition I recommend from my own experience. From the Path at Morfa Bychan near Borth-y-Gest, which is a very Vegas of trailer camps and bathing beaches, I like to take a track inland, up into the hills above the sea, until I find myself in a place of almost allegorical Welshness.

All alone up there, in a grassy clearing, there stands a solitary huge basalt boulder, grey flecked with white. How it got there I know not, but it is popularly, or poetically, associated with the bard Dafydd Owen, who sang a famous melody about a white rock in these parts 300 years ago. The song is still being sung today, and to my romancer’s mind my own big rock, too, is instinct with a magic all its own.

Sign in to read more
Subscribe here