Tuesday, 5 January 2010

ABC Wednesday - Ysgyryd Fawr

North-east of the town of Y Fenni (known in English as Abergavenny) this hill is a detached outlier of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacon National Park, Wales. As can be seen it is owned by part of the National Trust which in Welsh is Yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genediaethol. Yr is 'the' in Welsh and it depends on the following letter or vowel how it is spelt. I can't remember what I read about this and as my ancestors left Wales a hundred years plus ago so no help there.
It is only a little lump of a hill so it is a saunter rather than a walk as Ymlwybro (make one's way) to the top
and what does the trig point say - Skirrid Fawr. Have I taken a wrong turn? Not unusual but not this time, no this is like T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the 'Naming of Cats'

The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
Its not just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES

Ysgryd Fawr (one name), the anglicised Skirrid Fawr usually just called Skirrid (two) and then Holy Mountain or Sacred Hill (its third name). The welsh Ysgryd describes the hill's shape; that which has shivered or shattered. The end of the hill has sheared off and is a contrast to the gentle sloping path on these photos.

This is how it got its third name. The legend is that the landslide broke off part of the hill as Jesus was crucified, but this is possibly Christianity covering over the older pagan significance connected to the autumn equinox. Whichever, the local tradition meant that the soil was considered to be especially fertile and it was taken away to be scattered on fields, on coffins and the foundations of churches. In days of yore, the Middle Ages, a chapel was built on the top for the pilgrims who were attracted by its religious connections but it has now virtually disappeared without trace.
It is a hill that stands alone which means you get marvelous views. Here looking down the ystrad (vale) and its patchwork fields to the pointy Sugerloaf Mountain and the flatter Table Mountain in the distance. Sugerloaf Mountain has a rather nice vineyard in its environs where you can buy wine and have a pot of tea and yummy cakes under a vine leaved awning. On the hot day we were visiting I could almost imagine I was in Greece but there I would probably have been drinking a chilled Mithos beer.
Returning the way we came on reaching the bottom took our ymoffwys (rest, repose) as we went to have Sunday lunch.

There is a handy car park for this walk taking about a dozen cars by the side of the road running past Ysgyryd, which we did not use on this occasion, because our holiday cottage was nearby, however we past this car park everyday as we journeyed out and back to the cottage and the only time it was ever empty of cars was after 10 at night. A very popular destination.

We could not see Ysgryd from our cottage but we could see the pointy


Isn't the Welsh language useful for having lots of words starting with Y. I will leave with one last word I came across that I rather like and is appropriate for the time of year. In yesterday's post I said that all the snow had gone, today it came back again, and tonight has frozen, so tomorrow I might be doing this. Ysglefrio - to slide on ice.

To visit other participants in the ABC Wednesday meme and their take of the letter Y go here


Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating post, Joy! I love your photos! They're really beautiful! And I loved your using the Welsh words! I never realized it was so different! Now I want to hear it! Thanks! Terrific!

Enjoy your week -- what's left of it! And thanks as always for your visit and comment!


Amy said...

A very informative post - what a beautiful country you live in.

Thanks, Joy, for letting me know I entered my URL link incorrectly!!!

photowannabe said...

Fascinating Welsh words. Perfect post.

Roger Owen Green said...

Quite interesting.

Hildred and Charles said...

What a beautiful country, - I love the history of Wales, and the music, - the language fascinates me, but I'm glad I don't have to speak it. Perhaps it accounts for the Welsh having such a lovely lilt.

Spiderdama said...

Beautiful place and shots:-)
Have a nice day!

Grace and Bradley said...

A terrific post, I wonder how these words sound??!!

Gerald (Ackworth born) said...

Lovely to see all that Welsh landscape - though it is not an area I'm familiar with - now not only the black mountains are white.

Jay said...

That was great!! And it reminded me of a pony trekking holiday I took with a friend when I was about eighteen. We trekked through the Black Mountains, and I remember getting off the train at Abergavenny!

At the time I got quite good at pronouncing Welsh words, but I'm completely lost now. A good set of 'Y's though, isn't it?

jabblog said...

Fabulous post - in all senses of the word. Your photos are quite lovely and the information accompanying them most informative. Are you sure you don't work for the Welsh Tourist Board?