On Friday I drove up to North Wales, to takle part in a small Druid gathering on Anglesey. The main reason for the moot was to visit and work a rite of honour to Llyn Cerrig Bach.
Llyn (lake in Welsh, I think ;)) Cerrig Bach is now a small lake within the perimeter of an MOD RAF base, and subsequently gets few visitors. It is important for being the site of the largest Iron Age artifact find in the UK. Kris Hughes of the Anglesey Druid Order has written an excellent article about this here.
About a dozen folk eventually arrived at our base for the weekend. This was a farm that has, for about the last twenty years, been run as a self sufficient small-holding and nature reserve – it’s absolutely wonderful! Words fail, really. Meeting up within the roundhouse (modern construction, sofa beds and wood-burner, adjacent composting toilets) we immediately felt welcomed by person and place. The site also has an ancient spring, and is allegedly the site of an old Gorsedd (and I can say with confidence that the land there has been respected and honoured for may, many years; you can feel it in the air, in the water, in the soil).
Not only were we welcomed, we were fed like princes (and, ahem, princesses). Food from the land, well cooked and served beautifully. What more can one ask? I know the satisfaction that comes of eating food grown at hand, source known, pesticide free. Our own garden serves us thus in a small way. Oh, but to have the space and time for such a place! I pitched tent and slept in it – I could have used the roundhouse or tipi but didn’t wish to wake the world with my snoring… I still managed to rustle the walls of Kestrel’s tent methinks. LOL
We spent a day wandering the farm, collecting small items and fallen twigs and stuff to make an offering to the lake, which turned out to be a splendid wreath complete with rob-hips, thistles, tweasle, blackberry and sloe, warpped in a willow circle. Well, I say ‘we’ – I mean ‘them’, the creative ones. Me? I sat in the corner. [grin]. It seemed many of us were either accomplished musicians or noodlers (like me), and we had brought to the gathering a mass of instruments from mandolins, whistles and bodhrans through to lap harps and lyres (oh, reminds me, point and click shopping frenzy at The Early Music Shop…). So when we weren’t enjoying the peace and quiet we were at least the happy authors of it’s destruction!
On Saturday evening we drove to Llyn Cerrig Bach. The MOD had been warned of our approach, so the procession of a dozen mostly cloaked (well it was getting chilly) Druids didn’t stir the interest of the poor bloke in the nearby sentry box. As dusk approached, the stars (a few of them shooting) came out across a very clear night sky and were reflected in the still lake as we performed our rite. The wreath was sent into the waters and we spent a long time contemplating, and imagining how the last Druid ritual might have looked all those years ago. The reedbed encircling the lake (and us) was filled with life – mainly, as it seemed to us, very hungry rats, who could be heard munching on the reeds. A few of them popped by to watch us watching them watching us…
Sunday was spent relaxing, and then the time came to leave, which wouldn’t have been so bad except that I had to drive from Anglesey to Nottingham, in the dark and (eventually) in the rain, along unfamiliar roads. Oh fun. But that’s another story.
Other links to Llyn Cerrig Bach: