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Geography of Wales

With its unusual shape my country is just some 40 miles wide at its narrowest and 100 miles across at its widest. Its length, as the crow flies, from Caernarfon in the north to Cardiff the capital in the south is just over 190 miles. With over 25% of the land area being over 1,000 feet high there are many rugged mountains, rolling hills, deep secluded valleys, rushing rivers and quiet meandering streams. Among this rugged landscape is 400 natural lakes and at this present time over 90 man made reservoirs.

Snowdonia-Snowdon its highest peak

As to the rugged mountains of my country, well they form the spine of the land and as such are called the Cambrian Mountains. In ranging those 190 miles from the country of Gwynedd in the north to Glamorgan in the south, there are many prominent peaks which rise from within. None however, can be more so than Snowdon, for it is she that is the highest peak in Wales. With her attendant peaks she forms the Eyrie, the one time 'Home of the Eagles'; from where one can see by looking north, the Island of Mon (Anglesey); the one time garden of Gwynedd, lying at their feet.

On the western side of the Cambrian range, south of Snowdon, stands the mountain of Cader Idris, watching over the pass at Corris. Over the years many a friend and foe has passed north or south through Corris, friends in defence of this land, foe's in an attempt subjugate it.

During ancient medieval times Wales was, as England and Scotland, covered in trees. Not the firs one sees today, but with forests of giant Oak and Ash. Such a place, was the Great Forest of Brycheiniog, which contained wild animals among which were boar and wolf. Sadly today both the animals and the great majority of the forest have gone, but should you so wish to see the area which it once covered it can still be viewed: for there are copies of old maps to be had.

As to the old forest itself, it was a dangerous place as many a courier from the castle of Carreg Cennin found out. For they often had to relay a message to the castle at Brecon, that is during the times when Carreg Cennin was in English hands of course.

Many of the secluded valleys of Wales were also dangerous places through which to travel, for they contained Alder trees which intertwined with each other right down to the river's edge; this resulted in ample opportunity for the chain mailed Norman to catch you with one of his many roving patrols.

Thus it was, that many of the olden ways ran across mountain tops or along high valley ridges. A typical way such as this still exists today, almost a thousand years later. One can, if one so wished, still travel in places the old Roman gold road which ran west from the Roman fort near the town of Brecon in Powys to Llandovery in Dyfed. In doing so it passed north of Sennybridge in Powys before crossing the river Usk. Then once across the river it followed the high ground above the river Gwydderig and the village of Trecastle. If you should travel this way, keep your eyes sharp for many thousands of tons of the bright ore have been hauled this way: well one never knows does one.

Today my country is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, this however has not always been the case, in the days of which I tell my country was divided into kingdoms governed by a Prince: with each Prince fighting for supremacy so that he could be called Prince of Wales, then when he had become so; fighting to defeat the invaders of this land.

It was the river valleys which provided for the invader a way into my land, while the rivers Mawdach, Dyfi, Teifi and Tywi flow westward to their destiny with the sea, it was those that flow east, the Dee, Severn, Wye and the Usk that they chose to follow. First it was the Roman, then hundreds of years later, after his victory over England, it was the Norman who was to enter this way.

A Question To: Members of the Welsh National Assembly

Much blood has been spilt in this ancient land of mine
Lives have been lost as far back as the beginning of time
So remember ye, who now guide this nation forward each day
That those bloody days of long long ago were not yore right way

In those days of old problems were resolved by both sword and war
Not like now, with hours being spent trying to solve by debate before law
About those debates you often have, please have one about what worries me
Do you think the day will ever come when the Red Dragon will truly be free
Graphics by Ole R. D. Copyright © 1999-2005
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