Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bardsey Island, Merlin's Cave

While researching on the internet I came across mention of a small cave on Bardsey Island (Ynnis Enli in Welsh) off the far tip of the Lynn peninsular in Wales. The cave was associated with Merlin who was said to be imprisoned on this island in his tower of glass, along with the 13 treasures of Britain. I knew it was a place I had to visit! So the next day I set off on the long journey to north-west extremity of Wales...

Arriving at the very tip of the Lynn peninsular I was lucky enough to find a boat to take me over the sound to the island. The boatman, who had been brought up on the island, knew about the cave. He told me that the cave was very tiny and he had played in it as a child. He also told me a story about a local priest who had once lived in the cave as hermit, perhaps as a form of penance.

I asked the boatman if he'd ever heard of any strange occurrences on the island, but all he could tell me about were some lights which were often seen floating around from floor to floor of a deserted cottage.

The boat rounded the island and pulled into a bay heavy with seaweed, we were then hauled up the slipway by a tractor and trailer. The boatman pointed to the side of a nearby hill where I could just make out three white rocks forming a kind of triangle. The cave was there, just by those rocks, he told me.

I walked along the green lanes of this quiet, enchanting little island, past the occasional old whitewashed cottage until I came to house called Plas Bach where a literally unique apple tree grows. The apples are unusually free from disease and grow nowhere else in the world apart from on this one tree. After asking around I found the tree, but unfortunately it did not bear any fruit at this time, so I took a small sprig of leaves to carry along with me for good luck. The tree is known by some as Merlin's apple tree.

Opposite the cottage I followed a little passageway and started making my way up the heather-covered slope behind. By now I had lost sight of the triangle of white rocks and the hillside seemed to be criss-crossed with a maze of little track-ways, so I was wondering how I was going to ever find the place again.

As I rose I higher and higher I turned around and got an excellent view over the whole island, from the bay to my left where I had started, to a rocky peninsular with its lighthouse, and across to the haunted cottages and ruined abbey to my right.

Beneath me I could see black crow-sized birds with long red curved beaks flying by, the famous choughs of Ynnis Enli. After a while I came to three likely looking rocks and started scanning around for a cave entrance. Beside one of the rocks I found a tiny little hole, barely big enough to sit up in.

I crawled inside, first on my hand and knees and then on my belly. It was pitch black inside so I was glad of my head torch.

After about 3 metres the passageway came to an end, so I scanned around with my torch to see what I could find. I explored all the hidden crevices and deep within one of them I found crystal! A clear quartz point about 2 inches long and half an inch wide. One of the 13 treasures of Britain? Or left here by a passing hippy?? I preferred to think of it as a gift from Merlin and would very soon discover its usefulness...

To my left was a ledge and above it a wide hole just big enough to crawl into. Brushing aside spiders' webs I managed to twist myself around and poke my head into the hole. I shone my torch down and discovered that the hole dropped down into a small chamber, about big enough for two people to sit up in. As my torch shone down to the floor of the chamber I got a shock! There was the perfectly preserved skeleton of a sheep, lying exactly as it had died, but without a trace of flesh or wool on it. Instead there were just bare bones and a thin coating of green mold on the skull and spine. Judging by the state of the skeleton no-one had entered this chamber for a long, long time...

After my heart had stopped pounding I decided that I had to go in. Crawling in head first would have put me face to face with the mouldy sheep skull, so I decided upon entering feet first, with my back to the floor, head facing the ceiling. As my feet dropped down into the darkness I felt them crunch against the sheep skeleton and the spongy floor below. Yuk! But I continued to ease myself in through the small gap until I got my whole body inside. I was now squatting in the tiny chamber, the crunch of sheep bones beneath me along with big spongy patches of what seem like moss but could have been anything... big blue shiny beetles crawled over the 'moss' beneath me.

As I shone my torch around I found several large crevices containing bird skeletons, looking like the choughs I had just seen outside, as well as an egg shell and many big shiny black spiders, webs and silk cocoons. I also noticed that the ledge I had just crawled over seemed to be man-made, perhaps constructed by the hermit priest I had heard about?

As I squatted there I tried to meditate and tune in to get some information about this place, but you'll forgive me if it was not easy, given the surroundings, so instead I decided to try to contact the spirit of the dead sheep.

As he lay there he asked me what I wanted and answered me in a deep voice. He told me to go above the cave, not inside. He also told me that is not Merlin's cave.

I apologised for disturbing his corpse and stepping all over him, and with relief I made my way back outside.

I was happy to be back in the sunlight again and breathing the fresh sea air! I stepped back from the cave entrance and surveyed the scene. Above the cave, where I had just been crawling, was a huge white granite boulder, glittering with crystals in the sunlight. It made an impressive sight!

I decided that it was time to activate the crystal I had just found, so I held it in my hand and focused on it. What I expected to happen was that white light would slowly fill the crystal and then spread around my whole body until I and the crystal became one, but instead what happened was more like a nuclear explosion!

White light instantly burst forth in all directions, spreading out to the horizon in a huge burst of energy.

“Wow! This was some crystal!” I thought.

I climbed to the top of the huge granite boulder, directly above the hollow cave, and placed my new found crystal on top of it.

A massive amount of energy instantly shot down from the sky in a column of white light and entered the boulder.

I had never felt anything like this before! I now knew that this place had been transformed into a place of power.

I left the cave area and climbed to the top of the hill, and then explored the rest of the island with its rocky shoreline and hidden bays. I walked all around the island and then watched a colony of seals playing and squabbling as I waited for the boatman to leave again.

I arrived back on the Llyn peninsular and later on drove up to a remote headland to watch the sun go down over the magical island of Ynnis Enli.

I later found out that dowsers attach quartz crystals to standing stones in order to amplify their power. Is that what I had done? Perhaps the cave had been energised and should now be revisited? But perhaps that is for others to do and not me...


Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at


Marcell47 said...

That was an amazing experience! Have you had a chance to make it back Ynnis Enli and further explore the area? If so, anymore to say about Myrddin/Merlin? Also, have you ever traveled to Dinas Bran Valley in the Cymru region? It is said that is where Merlin lived. If so, have you ever heard of any Druid sites being discovered there?


Aurvandil said...

I haven't been back to Bardsey island, but I still carry the wand with the crystal I found there. I hadn't heard of the connections with Dinas Bran and Merlin, but I have been to Castell Dinas Bran and wrote a blog about it -
It also appears in my book "Magical Places of Britain"

nick said...

Lovely blog! nice work-!! - we will reference it on our website !!

Unknown said...

It may once been a cave of emerys

Morgana jenna said...

That's interesting to see u found a crystal cool