This is Mynydd Ysgyryd Fawr (or in English; The Skirrid). It lies north of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire. It is also known as ‘The Holy Mountain’.
Technically it is a hill not a mountain but the Welsh word ‘mynydd’ doesn’t have such a strict definition criteria as its English equivalent. It just means big hill.
It has a famous legend attached to it. It was said that at the exact moment of the crucifixion the whole mountain shook until the central section collapsed giving it the distinctive outline we see today.
The name ‘ysgyryd’ is derived from the Welsh word for earth quake.
In the medieval period it was a popular place of pilgrimage and at certain points of the path you can take if you are climbing it, there are old stone steps to help the pilgrims with their ascent. It is well worth the trip as the view from the top is amazing. You can see across 4 counties.
There is also a large flat stone, possibly a Neolithic monument, known as the Devil’s Stone half way up it. This time referencing another legend that the collapsed part of the mountain was used as a seat by Satan himself.
If you have only ever briefly visited Barry Island or your only point of reference to it is Gavin and Stacy, this video might make your eyes pop out of your head.
Barry Island in the Vale of Glamorgan may be famous for Butlins holiday camp, the beach, the funfair and the arcades. But did you know it is supposedly the site of multiple miracles?
In the 6th or 7th century a monk called Baruc who was originally from Ireland, was a disciple of St Cadoc and was based at the ‘Clas’ Celtic Christian monastery at Llancarfan. He like countless monks before him, was using Barry Island as a retreat but events were to unfold here which would lead to a miracle and the canonisation of St Baruc.
This little known story led to Barry Island being the destination of countless pilgrims for the best part of 1,000 years. All eager to drink the waters of the holy well, claimed to have miraculous healing properties. Barry Island was the ‘Lourdes’ of the Vale of Glamorgan. Yet today very little remains to remind us of this. A few metres of crumbling masonry and a sign and that is about it.
In this latest video I tell the story of St Baruc, his legend, his miracle and his legacy.
I also cover a fun bit of folklore. A story published in 1909 but possibly dating back to the 17th century about two men. One from Rhoose and one from Cadoxton who spot two swans landing on a beach at Barry Island which turned into the women of their dreams.
If the written word is more your thing, both these stories are lifted from my latest book entitled ‘More legends and folklore from Barry, Bridgend and the Vale’. It is the second volume of such stories and is available at a discounted price from my online store. Just follow the link.