Can legends of old inspire legends of new?
Yr Wyddfa is not only renowned for its breathtaking beauty but also for the tales woven into its very fabric. Stories of Rhita Gawr, the fearsome giant who challenged King Arthur, are almost embedded into the mountain’s slopes. Or the tale of Bwlch y Saethau (Pass of the Arrows), where King Arthur’s life came to an end—fatally wounded by an enemy arrow.
However, amidst these timeless tales lies a worrying reality. The litter issues that plague Wales’ busiest mountain are far from mythical. Plastic waste is threatening the fragile ecosystem and tarnishing the legacy of Yr Wyddfa.
As part of the National Park Authority’s campaign to make Yr Wyddfa the first plastic-free mountain in the world, legends of old are brought to life, not as fictional characters, but as symbols of inspiration for the legends of today.
Arthur, the brave and valiant King
Arthur was a brave and valiant King who has a deeply rooted connection to Welsh folklore and Eryri. His most famous feat was his defeat of Rhita Gawr, the fearsome King and giant who aspired to rule all the lands of Prydain (Welsh for Britain).
Such was Arthur’s connection to Eryri, it is said that his final moments might have happened on the slopes of Yr Wyddfa. After being mortally wounded in battle, the King was carried to the shores of Llyn Llydaw where a boat manned by three maidens awaited him, taking him through the mist to the mythical land of Afallon (Avalon).
Arthur fought valiantly to protect Yr Wyddfa. Let us draw inspiration from his fearless determination and protect the slopes where he once roamed.
Blodeuwedd, the mythical representation of nature and beauty
Blodeuwedd is a character from the fourth and last branch of the Mabinogi. She is a mystical character conjured from the flowers of the oak, broom and yarrow by mythical wizards.
As a mythical representation of nature and beauty, Blodeuwedd’s story reminds us of the natural beauty of Eryri. The National Park’s landscape can often evoke a feeling of mythical beauty—as if the landscape was conjured by the very same wizards who bought Blodeuwedd herself to life.
Eryri’s beautiful landscape is home to a wealth of natural beauty, but it is also fragile. We must take action to protect Eryri for generations to come.
Branwen, the tyrannized Princess
Branwen features in the second branch of the Mabinogi, is a Princess and sister to the giant and king, Bendigeidfran. The tale tells of her marriage to the Irish king, Matholwch, of which became an oppressive and tyrannical union.
Upon hearing of her mistreatment, Bendigeidfran immediately sets sail to Ireland to rescue Branwen from her distress.
Just as Bendigeidfran swiftly sailed to Ireland to rescue his sister, so too should we, as stewards of Eryri’s landscape, act swiftly to ensure the protection of the National Park.
Pryderi and a series of mystical happenings
The Mabinogi is full to the brim of mystical and mythical happenings and, whether incidentally or not, Pryderi is often connected to these happenings. Pryderi is also the only character in the Mabinogi that appears in all four branches.
In the same way that Pryderi’s journey unfolds amidst otherworldly adventures, so too should we recognize the delicate and ephemeral spirit that resides within the landscape of Eryri. Let’s safeguard the mystique and otherworldly charm of the National Park.
The National Park Authority would like to thank the following collaborators for volunteering in the campaign. For more information on how you can volunteer with the National Park, visit the Volunteering page.