Wednesday, 18 September 2019

ACROSS THE SOUND

Last Friday I was sitting on the top of Mynydd Enlli, eating the most delicious dressed crab sold to me by Emma at the Bird Observatory on Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli in Welsh).  Thanks for the wooden fork, Emma!. 

I can see the island's farmland spread out below - the outline of the  tidy field layout and the sturdy Victorian farmhouses, built in pairs together with a solid set of farm buildings round a cobbled courtyard.  Small fields reflect sunlight, like mirrors on a Sunday school Easter garden.  There are boggy patches with willow growing, and the old field banks, carefully and laboriously constructed with layers of stones and turf are now crumbling.

On the other side of the mountain the cliffs plunge steeply into the sound between the island and the end of the mainland at Mynyd Mawr and Braich y Pwll.  I chat to a small group of people who have just seen a pod of dolphins in the sound (I'm very good at missing creatures someone else has just seen!).  But I'm rewarded with a glimpse of a merlin veering off the mountainside into the airy void.

The sea surrounding the island is like a blue silk cloth, rippled gently by the breeze and the underlying currents and tides.  Patches of turbulence indicate unseen rocks under the surface.  Moving clouds create big slabs of darker colour on the water.

I open Moya Cannon's new collection, Donegal Tarantella, and read the first poem, 'Island Corrie':

   ... a pale scar shows
   that another slice of moutain 
   has succumbed 
   to this century's 
   hard seas
   and grey storms ...

But on Ynys Enlli it's The Narrows that often take the brunt of the storms and I wonder how long it will be before the sea breaks through and the lighthouse becomes isolated on its own little island.

One thing I am sure of - one day is not enough.  I must come back again soon.

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