Cwmystwyth, Winter 1985

It’s 1985, it’s winter, I am 21 years old and living in a small cottage that I share with my brother and two friends. The cottage is nestled within the beautiful hamlet of Cwmystwyth, West Wales.

We have been living in this remote part of the world for just over a year, we are known locally (for obvious spiky-hair related reasons) as the Punks from Cwmystwyth. We stand out like sore thumbs, the locals are friendly, often stare but always say hello, I guess they think of us as misplaced oddities.

We are approximately seventeen miles away from the nearest town of Aberystwyth there is nothing but mountains, valleys and beautiful Welsh countryside for as far as the eye can see.

It’s about 8pm; it has started to snow, not just a light dusting, we are talking heavy snow… real Welsh snow. The cottage is warm we have a roaring fire and plenty of dry logs to keep us going well into the wee hours. We spend the evening cooking, chatting and observing the increasing blizzard-like conditions.

At around 2am we notice that the snow has stopped, the moon is full and the thick blanket of reflecting snow creates an illusion of daylight. We decide to take a walk along the small road that runs the length of the Rhayader valley.

After donning our army power-trooper boots (standard kit for young punk rockers of the time), heavy jackets and scarves we make our way out into our new fairytale world.

The recently fallen snow is deep, at least 6 inches; some of the snow has drifted along the high banks of the road. The night is very quiet, the only sound is the crunch, crunch, crunch of compressed snow underfoot. We march along the snow-covered road occasionally talking, sometimes laughing; our voices seem to have an unusual resonance and quality.

After a short time the road narrows and we find ourselves standing in the mouth of the valley. Its an incredible sight, everything seems pin sharp, normally it would be pitch black and not safe to walk without a torch, but tonight the world seems bright and vibrant.

We stand in silence for a while near the ruins of the old lead mines and listen to the sound of the River Ystwyth that runs alongside the road.

Eventually the cold gets too much for us and we decide to follow our own footprints in the snow back to the warmth of our cottage.

As we make our way back along the snow-covered road I can’t help but think … we have just shared a set of wonderful moments, a unique collective experience unlikely to be ever repeated again in our lifetimes.

Posted: by Leeroy.

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