Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mynydd Illtud


For about six months in 1966-67 our family of four lived at the Mountain Centre on Mynydd Illtyd (nowadays "Illtud"), near Brecon, (Powys, Wales). For the first three months we were in a 1950s immobile but beautiful Bedford coach with our lolloping labrador puppy, then we overwintered in two rooms while our furniture went mouldy in the basement which a couple of years later became the cafe. (During this period of almost-homelessness my dad threatened to resign from his new job as national park warden if he received no help with housing. Tudor Watkins, our Labour MP, liked my dad and used his contacts to direct us towards a converted Congregational chapel coming onto the market at Cantref. My parents paid too much for it - £6,000).

Meanwhile I went to Libanus school and rode my new Dawes bike all over the common and out to Forest Lodge along Sarn Helen. At Forest Lodge lived Arwyn and by some extraordinary coincidence it was Arwyn's brother, David who in 1975 mentored me when I was doing a teaching practice in Milnthorpe, Cumbria. On other afternoons I would cycle out of school five miles uphill on the A470 all the way to The Storey Arms enticed by a school friend, Corrinne. school.

Back on the common Idwal Jones' mum at Llanilltyd farm used to give us Welsh cakes and, before the cattle grids came, children used to open the farm gates with a hand stuck out for sixpence from the cars that came to the Mountain Centre carrying 12,000 visitors on a fine weekend.


Across from the farm and encircled by pine trees was Llanilltyd church - now long since demolished. And Llanilltyd farmhouse looks unoccupied and the barns and yards little used, if at all.