Afon Maddawch-Afon Dyfi Arfordir Cymru


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Afon Maddawch-Afon Dyfi

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...

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-..and stories along the shoreline

-of Wales' largest bay.

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-Cardigan Bay.

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-Evidence of our existence here

-is permanently chronicled...

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-..in place names, old and new,

-and even in the rock itself.

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-This is Arfordir Cymru.

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-This week we travel

-from the Mawddach estuary...

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-..southwards past Tywyn

-and the Dysynni valley...

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-..before veering back towards

-the mainland up the river Dyfi.

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-It should come as no surprise

-that art critic John Ruskin...

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-..and poet Alfred Tennyson were

-enchanted by the Mawddach's beauty.

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-The river is teeming

-with wildlife...

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-..and the skies are filled

-with all kinds of birds.

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-As a gateway to Snowdonia or a

-starting point along the Mawddach...

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-..you can't do better

-than Penmaenpool...

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-..on the outskirts of Dolgellau.

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-The village was founded

-to service Penmaenuchaf Hall...

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-..but it now has plenty to offer

-on its own.

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-Rhys Gwynn is the National Park

-warden in this part of the world.

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-He's working on a project which not

-only contributes to the landscape...

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-..but also secures the names

-of two rivers - Mawddach and Wnion.

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-I'm not sure what grabs

-my attention first about this wall.

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-It's such an attractive feature.

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-People must constantly ask you

-what is this?

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-It's attracted a lot of attention.

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-It was a project to re-establish

-the garden behind the wall.

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-We've created a wild flower garden.

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-We saw it as an opportunity

-to include names...

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-..and bring a part

-of the area's heritage alive.

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-Since we're on the banks

-of the Mawddach...

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-..it was decided to include

-the names of old fishing pools.

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-Where are we on this wall?

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-We're in Llwnc y Penmaen

-on a meander in the river.

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-It looks like a gullet.

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-You have the Wnion and the Mawddach.

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-This is a catalogue of names.

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-Yes. There are many more

-but we had no room for anymore.

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-We chose the ones that had

-a particular ring to them...

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-..names that had

-a certain story attached to them.

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-We have Llyn Dy Fendith at the end.

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-It sounds wonderful.

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-It is. I would say it was a pool

-that yielded a lot of fish.

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-Then you have Llyn y Gadair Goch.

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-It doesn't exist anymore.

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-It was pool under the main bridge

-in Dolgellau.

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-That's where witches were drowned

-in Dolgellau.

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-The chair was lowered by a rope

-into the pool.

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-If the chair and the accused witch

-sunk, she was innocent!

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-By then, it was too late.

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-If the chair floated, she would be

-lowered again until she sunk.

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-That was the law of the land

-at the time.

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-Llyn Halen Mawr shows the influence

-of the tide at its highest.

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-Y Draill is a wonderful word.

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-It's an ancient world relating

-to using nets...

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-..casting the nets in the pool

-and trawling for fish.

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-You've used

-more than one kind of stone.

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-Yes, I've tried to

-use local stone...

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-..or stone that reflects

-the local geology.

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-There are some hard stones

-which you'll find on Cader Idris...

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-..and some smaller stones.

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-You'll find different kinds of stone

-in this area.

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-To depict the flow of the water,

-I used slate...

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-..and as an outline for the river,

-I used copper piping.

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-The final characteristic

-is the wood.

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-I carved the salmon - it's meant

-to be a salmon, it's close enough!

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-I carved it from wood

-sourced in Marchynys...

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-..one of the authority's forestries.

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-The only part that isn't local

-is the salmon's eye.

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-It came from Llanrwst, from

-a company that makes glass eyes!

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-How many hours do you estimate?

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-That's a very good question.

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-On some days, it took

-a major effort to continue the work.

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-People would stop to talk and ask

-about the meanings of the names.

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-That's why we built the wall...

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-..to present

-the heritage and the names...

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-..to people who visited the area.

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-Great. Its legacy will last a long

-time - it's a solid construction.

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-There's plenty of concrete in this!

-It won't go far.

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-Rhys has chronicled

-many names on the wall.

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-Many more have come from Gwyn

-Williams, Borth y Gest's collection.

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-They're scattered along the Wnion

-and around the town of Dolgellau.

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-There are fewer pools

-along the Mawddach...

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-..because it widens

-towards its estuary...

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-..but there are many islands...

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-..Ynys Faig, Ynys Graianog

-and Ynys Gyffylog.

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-With the river behind us...

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-..heading south

-past Llwyngwril and Llangelynnin...

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-..we reach Traeth Felin Fraenan.

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-It has links to troubled times in

-the history of the Welsh coastline.

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-This dark craggy rock

-is Carreg Halen.

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-We'll encounter numerous Ogof Halen

-and Traeth Halen on this journey.

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-These names emerged as a result of

-activities along the Welsh coast...

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-..during the eighteenth century -

-smuggling!

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-Wine, spirits and tobacco

-were transferred from ships...

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-..to smaller boats

-crewed by large, menacing men.

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-They were transported

-to small beaches like these.

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-Not only were luxurious goods

-smuggled here...

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-..but salt was needed to cure meat.

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-There was a hefty tax on it

-in this country.

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-It was cheap in Ireland and

-the temptation was very evident.

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-You can imagine them smuggling it in

-- there's shelter between two rocks.

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-Imagine a boat of around 25 feet,

-maybe less...

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-..sailing in at night, men working

-quietly transferring the salt...

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-..to others standing

-on Carreg Halen...

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-..who transported it inland away

-from the gaze of the authorities.

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-When goods landed

-on Traeth Felin Fraenan...

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-..they were transported inland

-along this hillside...

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-..all the way to Dolgellau

-and further afield.

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-Money wasn't always the currency.

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-Sometimes smuggled goods were traded

-for legal goods such as butter.

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-It was an early form

-of money laundering!

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-It was business on a vast scale.

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-Every layer of society, from

-the rich to the poor, were involved.

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-In 1780, in a diary written

-by a lady from Dolgellau...

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-..there is a record

-of a David Williams...

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-..challenging the authorities here

-in Hen-ddol, Arthog.

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-He had spent extensively on

-the house and divided it into rooms.

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-The money spent

-on making alterations...

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-..came from dubious sources.

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-He was a farmer but he was also

-a spy, a smuggler and a privateer.

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-In other words,

-a pirate employed by the Crown...

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-..to steal goods from foreign ships.

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-He was in dispute

-with his employer...

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-..because he didn't share

-his spoils fairly.

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-David Williams wasn't the type

-to adhere to rules.

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-Owen Owens the bailiff

-arrived to arrest David Williams.

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-He owed the Crown 200

-for smuggled goods.

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-A siege ensued to rival anything

-from the OK Corral.

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-Just like the Westerns, even though

-three bailiffs were wounded...

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-..good finally overcame evil.

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-When Owen Owens called for more

-back-up, Williams was arrested.

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-That was the end of his

-smuggling career, once and for all.

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

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-We're on a journey

-along Cardigan Bay.

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-We're heading inland where

-the sea's influence stretches far...

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-..even though the waves disappeared

-a long time ago.

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-The origin of Dysynni is very vague.

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-The river separates the commotes

-of Ystumanner and Tal-y-bont.

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-The name may come from the Welsh

-for 'a river separates'.

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-One thing that is certain is it's

-floodplain was wetter years ago...

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-..when the sea ebbed and flowed

-across the valley floor.

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-The cormorant has nested on

-Craig yr Aderyn since before time.

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-This large black bird

-frightens some people...

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-..and you could argue

-that it is primitive in appearance.

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-They are great fishers.

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-In Japan, people tie string

-around their necks...

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-..to limit them

-to eating only the smallest fish.

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-They then leave the larger fish

-for the fishermen.

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-Fortunately,

-that doesn't happen here.

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-For one thing,

-we're miles from the sea.

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-I'm told that this is the furthest

-inland that the cormorant nests.

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-When the sea flowed

-as far inland as this...

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-..they would nest

-on Craig yr Aderyn.

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-When the sea retreated,

-they stayed here.

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-A local farmer told me

-he sees fewer these days.

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-Maybe they finally realise

-how far they are from the sea now.

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-The Talyllyn train line

-links Abergynolwyn with Tywyn.

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-To travel back to the coast,

-I head to Dolgoch station.

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-On the station map, you can see

-clearly where the sea once was.

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-It flowed up the Dysynni valley

-to Craig yr Aderyn and beyond.

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-We're now down here,

-at Dolgoch station.

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-We're heading to Tywyn

-in a very special train.

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-In 1951, this was the world's first

-line to be awarded heritage status.

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-The Reverend Wilbert Awdry

-was a volunteer on the line.

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-The colourful little trains

-inspired him...

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-..to write

-The Thomas The Tank Engine books.

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-Along this line, slate from

-Aberllefenni and Abergynolwyn...

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-..were transported to Tywyn

-to be exported on ships.

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-The name Tywyn derives from

-the Welsh word for sand dune.

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-Extensive sand dunes can still

-be found to the north and south.

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-St Cadfan administered a religious

-community here in the sixth century.

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-Cadfan also founded a monastery

-on Bardsey Island.

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-Here, you will find a church

-dedicated to him.

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-It is one of our true treasures.

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-The oldest parts of this church

-date back to the 12th century.

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-A church stood here prior to then

-and survived a Viking attack in 963.

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-This church,

-with its arches and pillars...

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-..is a feat

-of Romanesque architecture.

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-It has one or two secrets too.

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-This is Cadfan's stone.

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-It has been given

-little attention...

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-..but it shows the earliest

-evidence of written Welsh.

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-Some date it from the ninth

-century, some from the seventh.

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-It has been exposed to elements

-for long periods.

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-Some suggest that it was once used

-as a gate post.

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-It's difficult to read

-the writing on the stone.

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-Part of the

-Welsh inscription reads...

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-.."Tengrumui wedded wife of Adgan,

-a mortal wound remains."

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-Agonising words,

-simple in some respects...

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-..which became the foundation

-of everything that followed.

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-The Dysynni meanders along the

-valley floor towards Broad Water.

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-Morgan Vaughan

-is a pillar of this community.

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-His roots are deep

-in this fertile land.

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-Well, Morgan, there's a lovely view

-of Tywyn from up here.

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-Yes, most definitely.

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-We're looking out across

-the Dysynni valley in all its glory.

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-To the right, Broad Water.

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-That large expanse of water.

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-The Dysynni flows through it...

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-..and out to sea in Tonfannau.

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-During wartime,

-there were 10,000 soldiers here...

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-..between Tonfannau

-and the sea marsh.

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-As many as 10,000 soldiers.

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-Your family's roots are in Cwm

-Maethlon, just beyond these hills.

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-Most definitely.

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-I was born in the highest farm

-in the valley, in Dysyrnant.

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-From there, I walked to school.

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-These papers here chronicle

-that my father's grandfather...

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-..was appointed

-as a constable during his lifetime.

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-It shows it here.

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-It shows it here.

-

-There's a date on it.

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-There's a date on it here.

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-1867.

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-My family's history stretches back

-in these parts for many years.

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-How long have you lived here?

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-We look down on your farm from here.

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-We're looking down

-on Pall Mall from here.

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-You wouldn't expect a local farm

-to be called Pall Mall.

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-They tell me that the farmhouse...

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-..has been called Pall Mall

-for many years.

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-It was built by an Englishman

-from London...

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-..and he built another house nearby

-called Piccadilly.

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-You farm this flat land

-at the bottom.

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-I ploughed these fields for years.

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-Even to this day, tree trunks

-can still be found here.

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-At one time...

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-..trees were grown...

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-..across this valley floor.

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-Speaking to you here, I can sense

-the pride you have about this area.

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-On a day like this, I'm full

-of admiration - it's wonderful.

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-Had you been here yesterday,

-it was a different story.

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-You could see nothing, you couldn't

-see more than 100 yards ahead.

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-Today, it shows the Dysynni valley

-in all its glory.

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-We have reason to be grateful.

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-We don't show that gratitude

-often enough.

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-Cwm Maethlon

-is a sheltered wooded valley.

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-It can be found inland

-between Tywyn and Aberdyfi.

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-More recently,

-it's been called Happy Valley...

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-..following the growth of Aberdyfi

-as a Victorian resort.

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-The next substantial river

-we encounter is the Dyfi.

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-Dafydd ap Gwilym once

-extolled its serenity in verse...

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-..requesting blessed protection

-to cross it.

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-Dyfi comes from du (black)

-due to the riverbed's dark colour.

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-Its waters have provided life

-and livelihoods to the locality.

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-Aberdyfi has two distinct pasts.

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-Its earliest successes

-were not due to its harbour.

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-It was a flourishing centre

-for herring fishing.

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-One night in 1745...

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-..Aberdyfi fishermen

-landed a thousand casks of herring.

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-Aberdyfi achieved further success

-as a harbour town...

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-..after the Cambrian railways

-were founded.

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-It was possible to bring slate

-from Abergynolwyn...

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-..transfer the load to ships

-and export it around the world.

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-The river is a quieter place today.

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-It's quiet enough

-to venture out with a fishing rod.

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-Few nets can be seen

-on the river today.

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-Fishing is more a pastime

-than a livelihood now.

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-Rod fishing continues to be popular.

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-Illtyd Griffiths has fished the

-Dyfi's dark depths for many years.

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-How old were you

-when you started fishing?

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-I started fishing

-when I was four years old.

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-How long have you fished the Dyfi?

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-How long have you fished the Dyfi?

-

-I started in the '70s.

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-I had a full permit in the '80s.

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-I've been here fishing

-for over 30 years.

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-It's a pleasure to fish this river.

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-This river

-has a lot of history to it.

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-It was a private river.

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-The Marquis of Londonderry

-lived in Plas Machynlleth.

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-Only friends and the elite...

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-The wealthy!

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-Only the wealthy

-were allowed to fish the river.

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-This incensed the locals

-and a lot of poaching took place.

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-In 1929, he transferred

-the right to fish the river...

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-..to the people of Machynlleth.

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-There were many rules.

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-There were many rules.

-

-Many rules.

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-You can only fly fish on this river.

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-And no fishing on a Sunday.

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-And no fishing on a Sunday.

-

-No fishing on a Sunday.

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-This is the only river

-in Wales where this happens.

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-Many rivers have names

-for different pools.

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-The same is true of this river.

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-Craig-y-penrhyn is the pool

-down in that corner.

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-Above the bridge,

-you'll find Ffridd...

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-..St John's, Llyn y Tanc, Glandwr...

0:21:400:21:43

-..Llyn y Catch,

-Siwellyn, Siwellyn Fach...

0:21:430:21:47

-..Llyn y Cwch, Abergwydol.

0:21:470:21:49

-Tell me more about Llyn y Cwch.

0:21:500:21:51

-Years ago,

-you could make a living....

0:21:520:21:55

-..taking people and livestock

-across the river by boat.

0:21:550:21:59

-They could come from Llanwrin to

-the back road along the main road...

0:21:590:22:03

-..or they could just

-cross the river.

0:22:040:22:06

-A boat would ferry them

-back and forth.

0:22:060:22:08

-Are there names from here

-down to the sea?

0:22:090:22:11

-You pass Dolau Llwyd, Pen Ddol...

0:22:120:22:15

-..the Wattles, Llyn Morgan...

0:22:160:22:19

-..Dolgelynen...

0:22:190:22:21

-..all the way down to Rhiwlas

-and there's a pool called Lime Kiln.

0:22:210:22:25

-I don't know much

-about its history...

0:22:260:22:28

-..but Derwenlas was a harbour

-back in the day.

0:22:280:22:31

-Does the sea

-influence the river today?

0:22:320:22:34

-When the tide comes in,

-it goes quiet.

0:22:340:22:37

-When the tide's out,

-fish start biting again.

0:22:370:22:40

-After the tide,

-it's a good time to catch fish.

0:22:400:22:44

-The sea has influence

-a long way inland.

0:22:440:22:47

-And beyond. You can feel its

-influence for miles up this river.

0:22:470:22:51

-Yes. I can't tell you why.

0:22:510:22:53

-It's not only

-where the sea meets the river...

0:22:530:22:59

-..but a lot further upriver.

0:23:000:23:02

-As I sit on the riverbank

-late into the day...

0:23:090:23:11

-..I can feel the river's

-quiet, enchanting energy.

0:23:120:23:15

-Much has changed over the decades...

0:23:150:23:17

-..but it still

-has established traditions...

0:23:170:23:21

-..echoing a different,

-more relaxed era.

0:23:210:23:24

-I must say,

-I find that rather comforting.

0:23:240:23:28

-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.

0:23:440:23:46

-.

0:23:460:23:47

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.