Visiting Twm Sion Catiís cave will take you on a voyage of discovery,
delving into the cavernous depths of Welsh history, and searching for the
secret haunt of an infamous outlaw.
Your climb through an ice-carved gorge begins with a signpost. Itís
engraved with a cantering horse whose rider is clothed in cape and hat, referring
back five hundred years to the time when this rider frequented the valley.
Scramble alongside the boulder strewn river to enter the Celtic
rainforest. Gaze at the towering oaks and silver birches, which stretch skyward on
the precipitous slope. Giant boulders burst from the forest floor and loom
ominously above. Jagged edges are smoothed by soft mosses. Ancient lichens adorn
every aged tree stem.
Itís no accident that the remaining fragments of Celtic rainforest, or
Atlantic Oak Woodland, are restricted to steep, inaccessible slopes where
vegetation clearance and livestock grazing was too difficult an endeavour.
You ascend gradually with the rocky path, away from the continuous crash of
falling water and venture deeper beneath the rainforest canopy. Wooden steps suddenly
appear, climbing up and up and up. The route would otherwise involve a
treacherous clamber up seemingly impassable rockfaces.
You reach the cave, with its narrow, slippery entrance, You may need to
scramble the final few metres on hands and knees to get Ďinsideí. Thereís no roof and a damp breeze blows down from above. Itís more a cleft
in the rockface than a cave really.
Legend has it that Twm Sion Cati hid in this cave from the Sheriff of
Carmarthen. Itís quite a climb, and was probably an excellent hiding place due
to its sheer inaccessibility. Twm Sion Cati has often been hailed as the Welsh
Robin Hood. Like Robin Hood, Twm did supposedly rob from the rich. However, the
concept of giving to the poor seems to have bypassed this Ďlovable rogueí.