Weather looked better this morning and stayed fine and the skies gradually cleared for a cool but fine afternoon. The surf outside out motel looked a bit rough this morning, whipped up to foam which, together with sea spray, drifted up onto the roadway outside the motel. Our car was parked on the road. It looked a bit the worse for wear this morning and I had to clear the salt spray off the glass before we could head off. I'll have to get it washed now, more than dirt to worry about.
First stop was Devil's Bridge. Interesting place, a bridge was built over a narrow gorge beside a waterfall. The waterfall, called the Devil's Caldron due to the way it cascades, tumbles and swirls down and through the gorge and under the bridge. The bridge, built in the 11th century operated until 1708 when a replacement bridge was constructed on top of the original bridge. Not to be outdone, when the bridge was again replaced in 1901, the new bridge was again built on the previous two making it three bridges in one.
As with all things Irish and Welsh, the legend with this bridge concerns a woman whose cow somehow got to the other side of the gorge and she could not get it back. The Devil appeared and offered to build a bridge for her to get the cow provided he could have the first living thing to cross the bridge. The woman agreed and went home to return the next morning. While the thought of the Devil seemed entertaining, she wasn't sure she would want that. The next morning she turned up at the gorge and there was the new bridge and the Devil waiting. She approached the bridge and just as she was about to step on the bridge, she threw a loaf of bread over to the other side and her dog rushed across before her. The Devil was angry and didn't want the dog so he disappeared in a puff of smoke, as Devils do, and apparently never returned to Wales. That's your bedtime story for tonight.
Next stop was in the little village of Llangurig for a look at Saint Curig's Church, constructed around 1254 and in use until about a month ago. Apparently the small stone entrance in the fence partially collapsed resulting in the church being closed until a structural inspection can be conducted.
Further down the road in Rhayader we stopped at Welsh Royal Crystal. This was once a much bigger business but is now a partnership of two former employees. The crystal is famous and is frequently requested by the Queen and has provided State gifts on numerous occasions. Exported far and wide, the special thing about this crystal is that it is all hand blown, about two hours from Rhayader, and all hand cut in Rhayader. We were lucky enough to be able to watch Alan, one of the owners, cutting the designs into pieces of crystal. Really nice bloke, obviously enjoys his work and loves to talk about it.
Continuing on into Hereford the destination here was the Cathedral. The Cathedral, dating from around 1079AD, has two very important historical artifacts. One, a map called Mappa Munda. This is a 13th century map and the largest medieval map known still to exist. Drawn on calfskin as all the old manuscripts were, the map shows the world as it was then known but has a mix of knowledge of the time, legends and Christian beliefs all outlined on a circular design 1.5 x 1.3 metres. Incredible piece of work.
Also on display in the library is a Chained Library. This process was one where the books were attached to a chain and the chained attached to a rod mounted on the bookcase. This allowed someone to access and read the book without danger of it being removed thus protecting the integrity of the library,
Short but probably busy day tomorrow with exploration of Stratford-upon-Avon then on to Birmingham.