A Mistletoe of Myths, Mysteries and Magics

Snowdonia has old English connections and means Snow Hill. where as the Welsh name is
‘Yr Wyddfa’, meaning the Prominent Place and relates to the giant Rhita Gawr. According to legend was killed by King Arthur and is said to be buried in a cairn called Gwyddfa Rhita on the summit of the mountain.

Nearby, Llyn Tegid, Lake of Tegid,is Wales’ largest natural lake. In it swims the Gwyniad, a fish unique to these ancient waters. Having been locked here since the lake was originally formed during the last Ice Age. The lake is exceedingly deep, thought by people long ago to be bottom less and this fish only frequents the surface water during the hours of darkness. Anglers hoping to make a catch have to fish in the depth of night to enjoy success. This lake is commonly called Lake Bala.

It is said that a large eagle like bird and by those of a stretched imagination, a left over from dinosaurian times like a pterodactyl flies in the high skies and peaks of Snowdonia. Apparently, it feeds off prey as large as foxes and has been seen carrying in its strong talons fully grown lambs to feed its young. According to the older folk, when the skies are clear of all other creatures(that is they have gone into hiding) the sickening scourge of the skies is on the wing. At such times, mothers do not let their young ones out unattended for fear of…………….. The creature is thought of as ageless and has been feared for centuries.

People here abouts, dream of and search for the riches that Merlin is supposed to have buried in the rocks of Dinas Emrys. The treasures according to legend include a chalice made of gold and an all gold throne. Greed is a great motivator and locals and visitors come seeking their fortunes.

One behemoth of monsters is said to live is said to live in the waters of the lakes of Snowdonia. It’s domain includes Llyn lion, Llyn Barfog and Llyn y Afanc. It is thought it might be a descendent of the water monster, Afanc, dragged from the lake and killed in the dark ages. Locals consider it fatally dangerous for animals and humans to even wade in the shallows of these lakes. Many farmers report losses of livestock from these lakes even up to the present day. The monster is described as like an overgrown crocodile, a giant beaver and many other outsized wild animals, but always demonic of being. Suggesting that it has the ability to shape shift for the different lakes.

Snowdonia abounds with many King Arthur references in literature and folklore. even Arthurs final battle is said to have taken place in Snowdonia. Folklore says that he died at Tregalen where he was brought down by a shower of enemy arrows at a pass that to this day is known as Bwlch y Saethu (Pass of Arrows ). His knights covered his body with a cairn of stones, and is still known as Carnedd Arthur (Arthur’s Cairn ) . After his death the knights sealed themselves in a cave under the summit of Y Lliwydd in their full armour ready to fight at their Kings side when he wakes to save Wales in her time of greatest need.

Finally we must not forget that this part of Wales has germinated many dragon tales. From The Plague of the Dragons in The Mabinogion, the dragons foretold by Merlin in King Vortigens reign, the dragon family in Ivor the Engine and my very own Ffred the Friendly Dragon. In the Far East the dragon is thought of as a symbol of good luck,where as in Wales we think of them for advice and guidance. In both geographies, we think of them in the present tense. So next time you visit Wales, look out for them and you come across them, enjoy good luck and good guidance.