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THE VILLAGE OF LLANBERIS.
The whole village consists but of a few scattered cottages, and these apparently the most miserable. The church* is an ill looking place of worship, and sufficiently rude to accord well with the surrounding mountains.
At no great distance from the church there is a well dedicated to St. Peris, and enclosed within a square wall.
* This is dedicated to Peris, a cardinal missioned from Rome as a legate to this island. He is said to have settled and died here.
EXCURSION FROM LLANBERIS TO THE SUMMIT OF
Llyn y Cwm-Llyn Idwal— Tull Dů— Trivaen-Glyder Bach-Glyder
Fawr, Evening Scene in Llanberis— Plants found near Tull Dů.
About seven o'clock in the morning we set out from the village of Llanberis, and directed our route up the mountains on the north east side of the vale of Llanberis.
When we had attained the brow of the first eminence immediately above the village, we agreed to rest about five minutes in order to observe the appearance of the vale and mountains. The church with its half-dozen houses, and a few trees and meadows, were seen almost as on a map. Beyond these, and exactly opposite to us extended a long range of serrated rocks, marked with innumerable intersecting streaks of red, the effect of the mountain storms. The sun shone with great brilliancy on these rocks, whilst Snowdon and all the other mountains behind them were entirely veiled in clouds. The lakes of Llanberis were in part visible. Having ascended to the eminence next above us, we found that the whole extent of the lakes was now brought into the view. The scene became altogether more
* As the Editor did not make this Excursion himself, and as this Chapter requires but little alteration, it is preserved almost entire from the 2d edition of this book, and is, consequently, a description in his own language of the Rev. W. Bingley's visit to Trivaen, &c.
LLYN Y CWM-LLYN IDWAL.
extended, for we had now a view over the intervening mountains into the other parts of Caernarvonshire. Parts of the island of Anglesey and the strait of Menai were seen filling up the openings of the mountains. We observed a few light and transparent clouds float down the vale of Llanberis, and over the dark pools, frequently whirled in eddies by the wind.
We at length arrived at a very small pool known to all Welsh botanists and called
LLYN Y CWM, The Pool of the Dogs.—This alpine lake was first made generally known from the assertion of Giraldus Cambrensis, that it contained a singular kind of trout, perch and eels, which all wanted the left eye. Few people seem to have given credit to this account. Mr. Edward Lhwyd, however, says that a Caernarvon fisherman informed him that he had several times caught monocular trout in Llyn y Cwm, and that these had all a distortion in the spine. The Honourable Daines Barrington also declares, that on accurate inquiry he had heard of monocular trout being taken here within the memory of persons then living. There are no fish of any description in the pool at present.
* From Llyn y Cwm we proceeded about three quarters of a mile along a flat swampy piece of ground till we came to an immense precipice above a hundred yards in perpendicular height, which forms one side of the hollow which incloses the black waters of
This hollow, surrounded on all sides by dark and prominent rocks, is called Cwm Idwal. It is said to have been the place where Idwal, the son of Owen Gwynedd, was murdered by a person to whose care and protection his father had entrusted him. The shepherds believe the place to be the haunt of demons, and that, fatal as that of Avernus, no bird dare fly over its waters.
* Phil. Trans. vol. xxvii. p. 464, and the volume for the year 1767.
We descended along the broken rocks on one side of this precipice to a great depth into the hollow; and turning among the larger masses that lay in rude heaps somewhat more than half way down, where the descent became more gradual, we soon found ourselves at the foot of a tremendous rent or chasm in the mountain, called
The Black Cleft.--A more grand or sublime scene the pencil even of Salvator Rosa could not have traced. The stream that runs from Llyn y Cwm is seen to roll down the deep cleft at a vast height above, and is broken in its descent by numerous interrupting rocks. There had been much rain the day before we were here, and the accumulated volume of water rushing from the astonishing height of a hundred and fifty yards,
“ In one impetuous torrent down the steep,
Now thundering shot, and shook the country round.”
Amongst the rocks at the bottom I observed a great number of circular holes of different sizes, from a few inches in diameter to two feet and upwards, which had been formed by the eddy of the torrent from above. These hollows are frequently called by the Welsh people devil's pots, and from this circumstance, the place itself is sometimes denominated the devil's kitchen.
We descended from Tull Da, and crossing the foot of the range
of rocks on the east side of Cwm Idwall, came at length so close to Nant Frangon as to have a view nearly of its whole extent. Still proceeding, after a while we at
tained the highest part of the rocks immediately surrounding Cwm Idwall. Here we found ourselves on the verge of another mountain hollow, smaller indeed than the last, but equally cheerless and dreary, called Cwm Bochlwyd, containing a small black pool, Llyn Bochlwyd. From this situation we had the whole conical summit of
In view before us. Its sides appeared not greatly inclining from a perpendicular; and the huge masses of rock that covered them seemed destitute of vegetation, except where the clefts gave lodgment to a few mosses, bilberries and a few species of saxifrage. To ascend its summit appeared, as in truth we found it, a most arduous undertaking; no part of Snowdon, frequented by travellers, can be in any degree compared to it. We were determined not to be alarmed by appearances, however unfavourable they might be, and though I believe we each felt a secret persuasion that all our attempts would be to no purpose, we crossed Cwm Bochlwyd, and approached the foot of this upper part of the mountain. Here we mustered all our resolution, and commenced the laborious task; and after a continued climbing of about three-quarters of an hour, for we could scarcely take half a dozen steps together in any place without at the same time using our hands, we found ourselves on the summit. Here, from the massy crag, we contemplated all the scene around us, which was rude as mountain horror could render it. We stood on a mere point, and on one side of us was a precipice more deep than any
I had before seen. We united our strength, and rolled down it several huge pieces of rock, these continued their thundering noise for several seconds, and by their friction and dashing into hundreds of pieces, emitted a strong sulphureous smell, which ascended even to our sta