Llyn Brianne is a man-made lake or reservoir in the headwaters of the River Tywi in Wales. Built in the 1960’s and finished in the early 1970’s the water provides many of South Wales larger urban centres. The dam is the tallest in the UK at 300ft (91M). The river Towy which flows through it is the longest river flowing entirely within Wales at 120 km (75 mi)
One a perfect September afternoon we primed up the Diamondseeds mobile, gathered our acutraments and set off for the mountains in West Wales. We had recently invested in a supposed HD Dashcam, which on the day we didn’t actually think about as we drove roud the lake. A lot had happened in our lives since the Coronavirus pandemic kicked off in early 2020. The lockdown had been severe for many people including ourselves gradually and dubiously over the summer the restrictions opened and we were tentatively allowed out once more. Knowing that this “freedom” may only be a brief respite before further lockdowns and dodging the showers, (yes it does rain a lot in Wales), we unleashed ourselves to explore Wales Green Desert. For us Llyn Brianne would be the first episode with many more to come. But boy what a spectacular drive.
It’s not far round the lake but we took a slow meandering drive stopping often to take in the vibes. I would imagine the hippy bus with a bunch of tripping stoners taking all year driving round this lake and convincing themselves that they were abducted and carried off to an alien planet. At least that’s what my imagination threw at me, too much Cheech and Chong in my youth I expect. Anyway the scenery here on a sunny day may not be the Himalaya or Peruvian in scale but Roerich would have been at home, every twist and turn, every scene floating by with golden sunbeams flickering off the waters below and lighting up the reddened bracken on the hillsides. Then the disasterous monoculture of the Fir plantations which sadly have now been seen to have been a grave environmental mistake as the fungus has ravaged parts of the Tywi Forest which surrounds the Llyn.
This area is also one of the last habitats in the UK of the sadly endangered Red Squirrel, although unfortunately we didn’t see any that day. Forest management have been trying to curtail the spread of the infected trees by bulldozing tree free areas, combined with a longer term plan to return the forest back to a more sustainable variety of decidious native trees. This all adds to it’s own kind of corrupted beauty in the golden hour as the Sun sunk lower, often getting in our eyes. This happaned at quite some inappropriate moments whereby my passanger felt rather uncomfortable looking overperilously close, steep drops on their side at times, but the sheep – those white fluuffy things you see everywhere in Wales – didn’t seem bothered by heights.
Anyway the road trip continued and neatly placed at regular intervals were laybays that one could pull in as many did with campervans (some with surfboards). Also dotted around were little encampments scattered here and there with a fire and hippy looking characters that looked like they got lost somewhere after Woodstock or the Isle Of White Festival or maybe the Vietnam war. My mate J reckon’s there is a lost crew of a once popular sound system lost somewhere beyond this expanse of hills, which incidently is one of the most remote and uninhabitted areas of all England and Wales. On foggy days it is often remarked that once the RAF and USAF have stopped their daily war games if you listen hard near certain standing stones it may be possible to hear the faint tomes of Hawkwind or the earthy baselines of Bob Marley or even wild techno that in its isolation from normal society had evolved into an entirely different and independant species unkown to humanity. So we are going to intrepidly explore an area that is known as a blank space to the outside world.
Daylight was rapidly drawing to a close and we had some wild moorland to traverse, in fact miles of it, before we reached anywhere near civilisation, so we had to keep moving near the end. It was a great trip!
We will be back to explore further so if you would like to accompany us you would be more than welcome – click the video link to see this amazing journey with added music by Nostramus and friends.