Wales - Land of Myth and Magic
Part or all of this
tour can be customized for private groups.
We will gather in the early evening at a historic country hotel dating
back to the 18th century near Cardiff, the capital city of Wales,
for introductions and an orientation. You will learn about the Mabinogi,
the Welsh book of myths and legends that relate to the places you
will explore along the way and prepare for your sacred journey around
the mythic landscape. This will be followed by a fine dinner and
time to relax.
Today we drive to the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey in the beautiful
Wye Valley and then on to a healing well and standing stones in the
nearby village of Trellech. Lunch will be in the historic town of
Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacon hills. This afternoon we visit the
castle of Carreg Cennen dramatically perched on a rock with fantastic
views over South Wales. Making our way westwards, passing by Carmarthen,
Merlin’s town, and arrive at the secluded country mansion retreat
in the beautiful Teifi River valley which will be our home for the
next four days.
We begin the day with a walk through the woods to a mysterious waterfall
and pool, one of the entrances to Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld, according
to local legend. Then on to the village of Nevern where we will walk
on the ancient pilgrim path to the famous church with its ogham stones,
legendary bleeding yew trees and one of the finest decorated high
crosses in Britain. After lunch in the attractive small town of Newport,
we visit Castell Henllys, an authentically reconstructed Iron Age
village on its original site, and experience how the tribal Celts
used to live. A local storyteller will entertain us with tales around
the fire in the thatched round-house.
This evening local harpers will come to perform traditional Welsh
music for you in the mansion!
This morning we travel down the coast to St David's Peninsula where
we will first visit the beautiful healing well and chapel of the
Celtic holy woman, St. Non, perched on the cliff-tops overlooking
the sea at St Bride’s Bay. In the afternoon, there will be
a guided tour of the magnificent Norman cathedral of St David, and
also time for an individual wander around the shops and art galleries
in this fascinating little city. This evening there will be a presentation
on Ceridwen’s Cauldron by Mara Freeman.
We enter into the ritual landscape around Carn Ingli, "Angel
Mountain," starting with a walk through a faery-haunted oakwood
which conceals a Celtic hill-fort and Druid’s Cave. Nearby
is Pentre Ifan, the most famous cromlech in Wales, overlooking Cardigan
Bay, once known locally as the womb of Ceridwen. Afterwards, we’ll
have lunch at a pub on the beach which was one of Dylan Thomas’s
favorite destinations. This afternoon we drive into the Pembrokeshire
National Park to view the ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age sites
of the Preseli Hills, including the stone circle of Gors Fawr.
Heading northwards, we visit the little Celtic church by the sea
at Mwnt, where pilgrims crossed over to Bardsey Island. Then on through
Tre Taliesin, named after the famous Welsh bard, and a stop for lunch
and a stroll through the lively market town of Machynlleth. After
lunch there will be a walk to a beautiful hidden waterfall in a faery-haunted
glen. Then a drive through the mountain scenery and villages of the
Snowdonia National Park will take us to our retreat centre in its
lakeside setting that will be home for the next four nights.
We head north for a day on Anglesey, or Ynys Môn, the Druid
isle. This small island offers a panorama of Wales’ history
laid out on the landscape, from Neolithic burial chambers and Bronze
Age cromlechs, standing stones and Iron Age villages. We will visit
the chambered mounds of Bryn Celli Ddu and Barclodiad y Gawres, with
its mysterious carved stones. In the afternoon we’ll spend
time at Penmon Priory, with its decorated Celtic crosses, sheela-na-gig,
and beautiful holy well, famed for its healing waters.
Tonight you can listen to the myths and legends of North Wales as
told by local storyteller, Fiona Collins.
We approach the stronghold of Dinas Emrys, the hill that is the scene
of one of the most famous Merlin legends. Here we meet up with storyteller
Eric Maddern, who will guide us up the hill and tell the story of
Merlin’s prophesy at this place. Afterwards, we will enjoy
a well-deserved lunch in the picturesque village of Beddgelert, followed
by a visit to one of Wales’ most romantic castles. This evening
we will take an inner journey to explore the archetype of the goddess,
Today we embark upon a mythological odyssey down the Lleyn Peninsula,
stopping at Dinas Dinlle (the "fortress of the god Lleu")
which overlooks Caer Arianrhod, named for the goddess of the Silver
Wheel. Then on to the atmospheric holy well of St Cybi, and down
to the valley of Nantgwrtheyrn for lunch overlooking the sea. In
the afternoon we visit the lovely old church at Pystyll, and drive
to a sacred place where we can enjoy views over Bardsey, the legendary "island
of 20,000 saints" and last dwelling-place of Merlin himself.
We travel south again, stopping for lunch at the historic market
town of Montgomery, followed by a walk around its interesting shops
and picturesque ruined castle. Afterwards we drive to the stone circle
of Mitchell’s Fold, high up in the border hills with views
all over Wales, for a closing ceremony. Our pilgrimage draws to a
close as we return to our hotel near Cardiff where we celebrate our
journey together with a special dinner.
Goodbye to Wales as we return to Cardiff Airport or train station
for the journey home.