To the Torrent at the Devil’s Bridge
HOW, art thou named? In search of what strange land
From what huge height, descending? Can such force
Of waters issue from a British source,
Or hath not Pindus fed thee, where the band
Of Patriots scoop their freedom out, with hand
Desperate as thine? Or come the incessant shocks
From that young Stream, that smites the throbbing rocks
Of Viamala? There I seem to stand,
As in life’s morn; permitted to behold,
From the dread chasm, woods climbing above woods,
In pomp that fades not; everlasting snows;
And skies that ne’er relinquish their repose;
Such power possess the fitmily of floods
Over the minds of Poets, young or old!
William Wordsworth (1824)
Well I can’t say that Mr Wordsworth’s little ditty floats my boat, but the chap is revered with some verve, here in the Devil’s Gorge.
And what a surprisingly beautiful place it is too. January seems as if it might be the best time to drive here. The sole car in the car park, an unmanned gate, a few tourists only just visible on the far hillside. One of the better acts of spontaneity I’ve done recently. If you’re ever heading to Aberystwyth, I heartily recommend this 15 minute diversion.
The gorge in January was heavy in moisture. The stripped Silver Birches which lined the valleys were covered with mosses and other emerald bryophytes, pitching against the rotting mass of summer leaves under foot. With the deciduous trees vacant of fodder, it’s easy to notice the impressive physicality of the gorge – joined at its base with two others, each with its own waterfall visible in the distance.
The path took in the Devil’s Fall from both sides of the gorge. Steps were hewn into the wet rock, and attractive bridges spanned the lower reaches.
The waterfall was quite mesmeric, I could have happily stood at some of the viewing stations for hours, following the water as it crashed downwards. What Conan Doyle travelled to Switzerland for, I’ll never know…Reichenbach what?