Shining brows and orange clouds
Cerridwen lives under Llyn Tegid, or Lake Bala, so if I didn’t find her on the Black Road yesterday, I may well find her here. This was where Taliesin served his apprenticeship, stirring Cerridwen’s cauldron for a year and a day until he accidentally imbibed the brew that was intended for her son, thus becoming the awen-filled poet with the shining brow. As such, Llyn Tegid was an unmissable stop on my Welsh pilgrimage and poetic odyssey.
My introduction to the lake was a little more prosaic: I took the narrow gauge railway along the southern shore from Llanuwchllyn to Bala. Along the way, I realised that one of my challenges would be to find access to the lake itself: the shores seemed to be mainly private land and those parts where the public did have access had the feel of a crowded beach resort.
That evening I drove out along the north shore and got lucky. From a deserted lay-by I found a steep path that led down to a secluded part of the lake shore. It was exactly what I wanted. I sat and began to listen. The water of the lake lapped against the stones at my feet in an ever-changing pattern. Nevertheless, the constantly changing and evolving lake song began to take on a steady rhythm. There was nowhere to go, nothing to do, but sit and be. I wondered if stirring a cauldron for a year and a day would induce a similarly meditative state. Perhaps that was a formative factor in Taliesin’s poetic development?
I heard voices coming down the path. A man in his 20s spotted me first: “Don’t let us spoil yer evening, luv” he said. “Don’t worry” I said “you didn’t. I was just going.” I had nowhere to go, nothing to do and so I could just as easily go do it somewhere else.
I just back to Llanuwchllyn in time to see these remarkable orange clouds. That, and the hot chocolate back at the B&B, were a perfect ending to the day.