Climbing up Moel y Croesau, Hill of the Crosses, near Trawsfynydd, the climber can see many landmarks: the Llyene Peninsula stretching languorously into the Irish Sea, the hills of Porthmadog, and Afon Dwyryd and its tributaries. It's a map come to life pinned down in the wild wind by pylons that seem to send crackles down their wires.On November 19, 1943, under a waning crescent moon, four airmen died and two survived when their Wellington bomber crashed upon this desolate landscape. It was routine flight, but radio failure, a cloudy night, and, due to their blind wandering, a diminishing fuel supply doomed the mission. In the dark hours after midnight they had no choice but to descend in order to try to establish their position, but their plane's wing clipped an outcropping of rock on Moel y Croesau, which stands at 1,608 feet. We had come up this hill to pay tribute.
As far as tombs go Bryn Cader Faner, a Bronze Age cairn, is the least gloomy one I've ever seen. It is set in a circle pattern, about 30 feet in diameter; its array of 20 slender stones, a few feet in height, point outward and upward. The assemblage brings to mind images of the sun, a star, a sunflower, or something like one of the radio antennas from Very Large Array. On this hot, cloudless, piercingly blue day, it does feel like the New Mexico desert standing here; making the radio astronomy observatory comparison feel all the more real.
DJ Bob Shannon at radio station WLNG-FM in New York interviewed Cathy Frumerman on October 2, 2006 about Abergavenny, cheese, Wales and The Prisoner.
Listen to the radio interview:From Welsh cheese to The Prisoner
Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were the Ladies of Llangollen. The devoted friends moved from Ireland to Wales and lived in their delightful black and white house, Plas Newydd, from 1780 until 1829.
At first glance Plas Newydd looks like yet another of the dozens of magpie houses scattered around the UK. But once the observer draws nearer, and cuts within, she sees what a truly eccentric cake it is!
Well after its retirement, the mine served to house over 2,000 tons of TNT during WWII. Still closer up the time scale, Chwarel Hen played the role of Mordred's hideout in First Knight, a movie starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere. If you have seen First Knight you have already seen the large iron ring and the winch in the center of the Cathedral Cavern.
One sunny day in Gwynedd, a young house painter, sprucing up the front of a cottage, asked us whether we'd ever visited the Roman Steps. He described this area as having vast views dotted with wildflowers, sheep, and possibly wild goats. It sounded like a fiercely romantic place known only to stargazing shepherds.
One minute you are cruising among tranquil hills, the next you are seemingly sledding through a crevice in the upheaval zone of hell. On either side of the road mountains of dead slag shroud the sky. Here, no matter what time of day you pass by, it always seems to be dusk for the slag's dolorous gray eclipses all other colors. The sight is dead beautiful.
The tourist attraction of Llechwedd, on the other hand, is somewhat reminiscent of Disneyland.
I know we have arrived in Wales as soon as I catch sight of an antiquated ruin just yards away from the train tracks. Sure enough, the next sign we see is in Welsh as well as in English.