Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Eowyn Challenge -- Isengard to Minas Tirith with Merry and the Rohirrim

Miles travelled today: 5½
Miles travelled so far: 21 (1685 from Bag End)
Miles still to go: 557

Percentage complete: 3.5%

Point reached on journey: Leaving the hills of the northern ranges, we have now returned to the highway and turned south.

Where I really went...

Well, it's not often that I go somewhere that really is more magical and mysterious than Middle Earth, but yesterday was that day. :)

They took the flowers of the oak, and the flowers of the broom, and the flowers of the meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden anyone had ever seen. And they baptized her in the way that they did at that time, and named her Blodeuwedd.

Waterfall on the River Cynfal

This is the River Cynfal (sometimes spelled Cynfael) and somewhere on its banks Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the man Blodeuwedd was created for, the man she had to marry, was struck by the spear cast by Pebyr Gronw who was the man she actually loved.

Because of his uncle Gwydion's magic, Lleu could not die. Instead he was turned into an eagle and flew away. Gwydion tracked Lleu, returned him to human form and nursed him back to health. A year later, out for revenge and brandishing a spear, Lleu challenged Pebyr Gronw to stand at the same place on the riverbank. Gronw asked that he be allowed to place a flat stone between him and Lleu and his wish was granted, but such was the force of the throw that it pierced the stone and killed him anyway. For her part in Lleu's death, Blodeuwedd was turned into an owl and her maidens fled, only to be drowned in a nearby lake. (To be visited on another field trip)

The stone pierced by Lleu's spear is still supposed to be there by the river, but there was no time to hunt for it.

Viaduct over the River Cynfal

A railway viaduct spans the valley.

Cwm Cynfal

After walking down Ceunant Cynfal, we briefly returned to where we'd parked the cars and then walked up Cwm Cynfal. This is where we stopped to eat our picnic before returning down the valley again.

Celyn & Fudge posing

Nikki brought the dogs again. Here she is getting them to pose for photos. :)

Manod slate quarry

From the mystical to the mundane! (Though having said that, with a bit of tweaking, this could pass for Mordor!)

After visiting Cwm Cynfal, we all piled into the two four-wheel drive vehicles to drive up to this quarry. As it turned out, it was a perfectly good tarmac road all the way and there weren't even any gates to open. We parked by the quarry gates and walked up to look at the workings.

Only 5 people work here now. What was once a traditional Welsh slate mine with underground chambers and tunnels is now an open cast mine.

Basically, they are removing the levels one by one to take out the good slate that had been left as supporting pillars.
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