Day 3 : usually comes before day 4, but “hey ho!” 

I heard duelling cuckoos on my way down the valley from Corris to Machynlleth.

I know they have a devious reputation but the science is astounding and the way they tune into the biological cycles of a group of candidate nesting pairs is nothing short of incredible. 

So I struggled to warm to the poetry that my hosts at a Machynlleth hotel (!) saw fit to include in the plastic folder with breakfast choices, fire exits and Wifi key: let’s draw a veil across the last of these..and move on to a sample of the haunting verse:

‘To the Cuckoo in the vale of Cuawg’

Attributed to Llywarch Hen, London 1792 : the original Welsh version ran to 32 verses and presumably rhymed . 

“Sitting to rest on a hill, cruelly inclined is my mind,

And yet it doth not impel me onward

Short is my journey and my dwelling wretched”


several stanzas later: 

The loud-voiced cuckoo sings with the dawn

Her melodious notes in the dales of Cuawg;

“Better the liberal than the miser”


and finally….

“The birds are clamorous, the beach is wet,

Let the leaves fall, the exile is unconcerned;

I will not conceal it, I am sick this night!”

Thankfully the takeaway kebab did not have the same effect on this ‘exile’. I am ‘impelled onward’ with that ‘wretched dwelling’ , far behind me.  A couple of photos to lighten the mood: 

Hazards of long distance cycling 1 : falling boulders and stray bullets (holes in sign)

Barmouth to Dolgellau with the breeze:   Hazards of long distance cycling 2 : Prince of Wales would not be impressed:

  Barbed wire shards mixed with thorny hedge debris. Looks like Friday going home time came all too soon!


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