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..- - - - -.._- - I Llyn-y-Van-Fach.…


I Llyn-y-Van-Fach. I I A Mountain Pool. I 1 I FISH AND LEGEND. I I A writer in the "South Wales Echo" has an interesting article on the Van Pools, which are situated in the mountains above Trecastle. The Van Pools, savs the writer, are the wildest I lakes in South Wales. They will repay the rough scrambling necessary to reach them, yet I have met with very few people except those living in the vicinity who have ever been there. The fact is we visit all manner of places except the beauty spots of our own country From the back of Craig-y-Nos far up the Swan- sea Valley, the mountain mass of the Carmar- thenshire Vans rises from south to north in a long wedge. It is about five miles in length, and its northern end attains a height of 2,600 feet. Here it terminates in magnificent precipices of some 800 feet, and directly beneath these lie the Van Pools. They are about two miles apart, be- ing separated by the northern spur of the Van Mountain. The larger of these lakes is about half a mile in length, and this lies to the east- ward. It is in the wet mountain side just below it that the infant river Usk, there known as the Wysg, has its source. Fish. I There is a curious contrast between these twin pools of the Van Mountain. The smaller pool is full of trout. The larger one has no fish in its waters. It is to the former, known to Welshmen as Llyn-y-Van Fach, that I want more especially to refer. Enclosed on two sides by steep preci- pices, it is a weird place on a stormy day, when the wind rushes down the rock gullies and lashes its water into foam. I have seen it under these conditions, but I have also wandered, rod in hand, round its margin in the glorious sunshine of a summer day, when the sweet love-call of the sand- piper, about the only bird which regularly fre- quents it, echoes and re-echoes against its rocky ramparts. On such occasions you may see the trout coming up from its clear depths to take your flies, but unless you have a slight ripple on the water you will have small hope of fish. The trout of Llyn-y-Van-Fach run small, mostly about four or five to the pound. Mr Jeffreys, the well-known Brecon solicitor, who probably knows the pool more intimately than anyone else, has, however, occassionally had trout from there of half to three-quarters of a pound. [The late Dr. James Williams, of Brecon, writ- ing of these lakes many years ago, says "the smaller one abound with trout. If advantage is taken of the wind, when blowing sufficiently in a north-easterly direction to cause a ripple, some extraordinary sport may be had. Col. Watkins, M.P. (Penoyre) caught 25 lbs. here in one day. It is unusual to make a cast without having one or two fish at every throw. They are rather small, running six or eight to the pound, but very lively. A few years ago a sewin was taken in this lake. "] Legend. I But Llvn-j-Van-Fach has its legend, continues the article, and a pretty story it is. The tale goes that one day a young farmer was collecting his sheep near the pool, when three beauteous maidens came out of the pool and approached him. Their ravishing glances awakened tender feelings in the heart of the susceptible agriculturist, and lie attempted to capture one of them. They at once turned and vanished in the lake. After this the lovelorn swain haunted the lake day after day until at length he saw them again. On this occasion they were very affable, and the hopeful farmer's talk of love was received with ap- parent pleasure. At length the girls agreed with him that if he made choice of one of them and could recognise her the next day—they were all exactly alike—he should have her for his wife. The story goes that one of the maidens looked at the farmer and then winked at her foot. He no- ticed that she had her sandal tied in a peculiar way. This served him for purposes of identifica- tion when he came next day to the pool and car- ried off his fairy bride in triumph. She promised to make him a good and true wife until he hit her thrice without a cause. Waving her hiind to- wards the lake, several fine milking cows emerg- ed, and with these in procession the farmer and his bride descended from the lake to his home The union proved a great success, despite the fact that the religious people of the neighbourhood looked askance at the match. The fairy mother bore her husband four sons, and they all lived happily together. But there is an end to all things. One day the farmer wanted his wife to go an errand for him, and, and as she was some time in starting, he tapped her playfully three times on the back. In a moment the fairy wife vanished. The cows also disappeared, and the farmer and his sons were left lamenting It is said that the sons used to go often to the pool in the hope of again seeing their mother, and that she once appeared to them and gave them each a talisman to bring them luck in life. The sons are said to have become surgeons in the Towy Valley, where they became famous as "the physicians of Mvddfai." Such is the story that comes back to the memory as you tread the stony strand of Llyn-y-Van- Fach.

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