Mae Bedwyr Rees ar drywydd hen smyglars wrth deithio o Afon Mawddach i Fachynlleth. Bedwyr Rees goes in pursuit of ancient smugglers as he travels from the River Mawddach to Mac...
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-We're on a journey
-to discover names, folklore...
-..and stories along the shoreline
-of Wales' largest bay.
-Evidence of our existence here
-is permanently chronicled...
-..in place names, old and new,
-and even in the rock itself.
-This is Arfordir Cymru.
-This week we travel
-from the Mawddach estuary...
-..southwards past Tywyn
-and the Dysynni valley...
-..before veering back towards
-the mainland up the river Dyfi.
-It should come as no surprise
-that art critic John Ruskin...
-..and poet Alfred Tennyson were
-enchanted by the Mawddach's beauty.
-The river is teeming
-..and the skies are filled
-with all kinds of birds.
-As a gateway to Snowdonia or a
-starting point along the Mawddach...
-..you can't do better
-..on the outskirts of Dolgellau.
-The village was founded
-to service Penmaenuchaf Hall...
-..but it now has plenty to offer
-on its own.
-Rhys Gwynn is the National Park
-warden in this part of the world.
-He's working on a project which not
-only contributes to the landscape...
-..but also secures the names
-of two rivers - Mawddach and Wnion.
-I'm not sure what grabs
-my attention first about this wall.
-It's such an attractive feature.
-People must constantly ask you
-what is this?
-It's attracted a lot of attention.
-It was a project to re-establish
-the garden behind the wall.
-We've created a wild flower garden.
-We saw it as an opportunity
-to include names...
-..and bring a part
-of the area's heritage alive.
-Since we're on the banks
-of the Mawddach...
-..it was decided to include
-the names of old fishing pools.
-Where are we on this wall?
-We're in Llwnc y Penmaen
-on a meander in the river.
-It looks like a gullet.
-You have the Wnion and the Mawddach.
-This is a catalogue of names.
-Yes. There are many more
-but we had no room for anymore.
-We chose the ones that had
-a particular ring to them...
-..names that had
-a certain story attached to them.
-We have Llyn Dy Fendith at the end.
-It sounds wonderful.
-It is. I would say it was a pool
-that yielded a lot of fish.
-Then you have Llyn y Gadair Goch.
-It doesn't exist anymore.
-It was pool under the main bridge
-That's where witches were drowned
-The chair was lowered by a rope
-into the pool.
-If the chair and the accused witch
-sunk, she was innocent!
-By then, it was too late.
-If the chair floated, she would be
-lowered again until she sunk.
-That was the law of the land
-at the time.
-Llyn Halen Mawr shows the influence
-of the tide at its highest.
-Y Draill is a wonderful word.
-It's an ancient world relating
-to using nets...
-..casting the nets in the pool
-and trawling for fish.
-more than one kind of stone.
-Yes, I've tried to
-use local stone...
-..or stone that reflects
-the local geology.
-There are some hard stones
-which you'll find on Cader Idris...
-..and some smaller stones.
-You'll find different kinds of stone
-in this area.
-To depict the flow of the water,
-I used slate...
-..and as an outline for the river,
-I used copper piping.
-The final characteristic
-is the wood.
-I carved the salmon - it's meant
-to be a salmon, it's close enough!
-I carved it from wood
-sourced in Marchynys...
-..one of the authority's forestries.
-The only part that isn't local
-is the salmon's eye.
-It came from Llanrwst, from
-a company that makes glass eyes!
-How many hours do you estimate?
-That's a very good question.
-On some days, it took
-a major effort to continue the work.
-People would stop to talk and ask
-about the meanings of the names.
-That's why we built the wall...
-the heritage and the names...
-..to people who visited the area.
-Great. Its legacy will last a long
-time - it's a solid construction.
-There's plenty of concrete in this!
-It won't go far.
-Rhys has chronicled
-many names on the wall.
-Many more have come from Gwyn
-Williams, Borth y Gest's collection.
-They're scattered along the Wnion
-and around the town of Dolgellau.
-There are fewer pools
-along the Mawddach...
-..because it widens
-towards its estuary...
-..but there are many islands...
-..Ynys Faig, Ynys Graianog
-and Ynys Gyffylog.
-With the river behind us...
-past Llwyngwril and Llangelynnin...
-..we reach Traeth Felin Fraenan.
-It has links to troubled times in
-the history of the Welsh coastline.
-This dark craggy rock
-is Carreg Halen.
-We'll encounter numerous Ogof Halen
-and Traeth Halen on this journey.
-These names emerged as a result of
-activities along the Welsh coast...
-..during the eighteenth century -
-Wine, spirits and tobacco
-were transferred from ships...
-..to smaller boats
-crewed by large, menacing men.
-They were transported
-to small beaches like these.
-Not only were luxurious goods
-..but salt was needed to cure meat.
-There was a hefty tax on it
-in this country.
-It was cheap in Ireland and
-the temptation was very evident.
-You can imagine them smuggling it in
-- there's shelter between two rocks.
-Imagine a boat of around 25 feet,
-..sailing in at night, men working
-quietly transferring the salt...
-..to others standing
-on Carreg Halen...
-..who transported it inland away
-from the gaze of the authorities.
-When goods landed
-on Traeth Felin Fraenan...
-..they were transported inland
-along this hillside...
-..all the way to Dolgellau
-and further afield.
-Money wasn't always the currency.
-Sometimes smuggled goods were traded
-for legal goods such as butter.
-It was an early form
-of money laundering!
-It was business on a vast scale.
-Every layer of society, from
-the rich to the poor, were involved.
-In 1780, in a diary written
-by a lady from Dolgellau...
-..there is a record
-of a David Williams...
-..challenging the authorities here
-in Hen-ddol, Arthog.
-He had spent extensively on
-the house and divided it into rooms.
-The money spent
-on making alterations...
-..came from dubious sources.
-He was a farmer but he was also
-a spy, a smuggler and a privateer.
-In other words,
-a pirate employed by the Crown...
-..to steal goods from foreign ships.
-He was in dispute
-with his employer...
-..because he didn't share
-his spoils fairly.
-David Williams wasn't the type
-to adhere to rules.
-Owen Owens the bailiff
-arrived to arrest David Williams.
-He owed the Crown 200
-for smuggled goods.
-A siege ensued to rival anything
-from the OK Corral.
-Just like the Westerns, even though
-three bailiffs were wounded...
-..good finally overcame evil.
-When Owen Owens called for more
-back-up, Williams was arrested.
-That was the end of his
-smuggling career, once and for all.
-We're on a journey
-along Cardigan Bay.
-We're heading inland where
-the sea's influence stretches far...
-..even though the waves disappeared
-a long time ago.
-The origin of Dysynni is very vague.
-The river separates the commotes
-of Ystumanner and Tal-y-bont.
-The name may come from the Welsh
-for 'a river separates'.
-One thing that is certain is it's
-floodplain was wetter years ago...
-..when the sea ebbed and flowed
-across the valley floor.
-The cormorant has nested on
-Craig yr Aderyn since before time.
-This large black bird
-frightens some people...
-..and you could argue
-that it is primitive in appearance.
-They are great fishers.
-In Japan, people tie string
-around their necks...
-..to limit them
-to eating only the smallest fish.
-They then leave the larger fish
-for the fishermen.
-that doesn't happen here.
-For one thing,
-we're miles from the sea.
-I'm told that this is the furthest
-inland that the cormorant nests.
-When the sea flowed
-as far inland as this...
-..they would nest
-on Craig yr Aderyn.
-When the sea retreated,
-they stayed here.
-A local farmer told me
-he sees fewer these days.
-Maybe they finally realise
-how far they are from the sea now.
-The Talyllyn train line
-links Abergynolwyn with Tywyn.
-To travel back to the coast,
-I head to Dolgoch station.
-On the station map, you can see
-clearly where the sea once was.
-It flowed up the Dysynni valley
-to Craig yr Aderyn and beyond.
-We're now down here,
-at Dolgoch station.
-We're heading to Tywyn
-in a very special train.
-In 1951, this was the world's first
-line to be awarded heritage status.
-The Reverend Wilbert Awdry
-was a volunteer on the line.
-The colourful little trains
-The Thomas The Tank Engine books.
-Along this line, slate from
-Aberllefenni and Abergynolwyn...
-..were transported to Tywyn
-to be exported on ships.
-The name Tywyn derives from
-the Welsh word for sand dune.
-Extensive sand dunes can still
-be found to the north and south.
-St Cadfan administered a religious
-community here in the sixth century.
-Cadfan also founded a monastery
-on Bardsey Island.
-Here, you will find a church
-dedicated to him.
-It is one of our true treasures.
-The oldest parts of this church
-date back to the 12th century.
-A church stood here prior to then
-and survived a Viking attack in 963.
-with its arches and pillars...
-..is a feat
-of Romanesque architecture.
-It has one or two secrets too.
-This is Cadfan's stone.
-It has been given
-..but it shows the earliest
-evidence of written Welsh.
-Some date it from the ninth
-century, some from the seventh.
-It has been exposed to elements
-for long periods.
-Some suggest that it was once used
-as a gate post.
-It's difficult to read
-the writing on the stone.
-Part of the
-Welsh inscription reads...
-.."Tengrumui wedded wife of Adgan,
-a mortal wound remains."
-simple in some respects...
-..which became the foundation
-of everything that followed.
-The Dysynni meanders along the
-valley floor towards Broad Water.
-is a pillar of this community.
-His roots are deep
-in this fertile land.
-Well, Morgan, there's a lovely view
-of Tywyn from up here.
-Yes, most definitely.
-We're looking out across
-the Dysynni valley in all its glory.
-To the right, Broad Water.
-That large expanse of water.
-The Dysynni flows through it...
-..and out to sea in Tonfannau.
-there were 10,000 soldiers here...
-and the sea marsh.
-As many as 10,000 soldiers.
-Your family's roots are in Cwm
-Maethlon, just beyond these hills.
-I was born in the highest farm
-in the valley, in Dysyrnant.
-From there, I walked to school.
-These papers here chronicle
-that my father's grandfather...
-as a constable during his lifetime.
-It shows it here.
-It shows it here.
-There's a date on it.
-There's a date on it here.
-My family's history stretches back
-in these parts for many years.
-How long have you lived here?
-We look down on your farm from here.
-We're looking down
-on Pall Mall from here.
-You wouldn't expect a local farm
-to be called Pall Mall.
-They tell me that the farmhouse...
-..has been called Pall Mall
-for many years.
-It was built by an Englishman
-..and he built another house nearby
-You farm this flat land
-at the bottom.
-I ploughed these fields for years.
-Even to this day, tree trunks
-can still be found here.
-At one time...
-..trees were grown...
-..across this valley floor.
-Speaking to you here, I can sense
-the pride you have about this area.
-On a day like this, I'm full
-of admiration - it's wonderful.
-Had you been here yesterday,
-it was a different story.
-You could see nothing, you couldn't
-see more than 100 yards ahead.
-Today, it shows the Dysynni valley
-in all its glory.
-We have reason to be grateful.
-We don't show that gratitude
-is a sheltered wooded valley.
-It can be found inland
-between Tywyn and Aberdyfi.
-it's been called Happy Valley...
-..following the growth of Aberdyfi
-as a Victorian resort.
-The next substantial river
-we encounter is the Dyfi.
-Dafydd ap Gwilym once
-extolled its serenity in verse...
-..requesting blessed protection
-to cross it.
-Dyfi comes from du (black)
-due to the riverbed's dark colour.
-Its waters have provided life
-and livelihoods to the locality.
-Aberdyfi has two distinct pasts.
-Its earliest successes
-were not due to its harbour.
-It was a flourishing centre
-for herring fishing.
-One night in 1745...
-landed a thousand casks of herring.
-Aberdyfi achieved further success
-as a harbour town...
-..after the Cambrian railways
-It was possible to bring slate
-..transfer the load to ships
-and export it around the world.
-The river is a quieter place today.
-It's quiet enough
-to venture out with a fishing rod.
-Few nets can be seen
-on the river today.
-Fishing is more a pastime
-than a livelihood now.
-Rod fishing continues to be popular.
-Illtyd Griffiths has fished the
-Dyfi's dark depths for many years.
-How old were you
-when you started fishing?
-I started fishing
-when I was four years old.
-How long have you fished the Dyfi?
-How long have you fished the Dyfi?
-I started in the '70s.
-I had a full permit in the '80s.
-I've been here fishing
-for over 30 years.
-It's a pleasure to fish this river.
-has a lot of history to it.
-It was a private river.
-The Marquis of Londonderry
-lived in Plas Machynlleth.
-Only friends and the elite...
-Only the wealthy
-were allowed to fish the river.
-This incensed the locals
-and a lot of poaching took place.
-In 1929, he transferred
-the right to fish the river...
-..to the people of Machynlleth.
-There were many rules.
-There were many rules.
-You can only fly fish on this river.
-And no fishing on a Sunday.
-And no fishing on a Sunday.
-No fishing on a Sunday.
-This is the only river
-in Wales where this happens.
-Many rivers have names
-for different pools.
-The same is true of this river.
-Craig-y-penrhyn is the pool
-down in that corner.
-Above the bridge,
-you'll find Ffridd...
-..St John's, Llyn y Tanc, Glandwr...
-..Llyn y Catch,
-Siwellyn, Siwellyn Fach...
-..Llyn y Cwch, Abergwydol.
-Tell me more about Llyn y Cwch.
-you could make a living....
-..taking people and livestock
-across the river by boat.
-They could come from Llanwrin to
-the back road along the main road...
-..or they could just
-cross the river.
-A boat would ferry them
-back and forth.
-Are there names from here
-down to the sea?
-You pass Dolau Llwyd, Pen Ddol...
-..the Wattles, Llyn Morgan...
-..all the way down to Rhiwlas
-and there's a pool called Lime Kiln.
-I don't know much
-about its history...
-..but Derwenlas was a harbour
-back in the day.
-Does the sea
-influence the river today?
-When the tide comes in,
-it goes quiet.
-When the tide's out,
-fish start biting again.
-After the tide,
-it's a good time to catch fish.
-The sea has influence
-a long way inland.
-And beyond. You can feel its
-influence for miles up this river.
-Yes. I can't tell you why.
-It's not only
-where the sea meets the river...
-..but a lot further upriver.
-As I sit on the riverbank
-late into the day...
-..I can feel the river's
-quiet, enchanting energy.
-Much has changed over the decades...
-..but it still
-has established traditions...
-..echoing a different,
-more relaxed era.
-I must say,
-I find that rather comforting.
-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.
Mae Bedwyr Rees ar drywydd hen smyglars wrth deithio o Afon Mawddach i Fachynlleth. Bedwyr Rees goes in pursuit of ancient smugglers as he travels from the River Mawddach to Machynlleth.