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Coming Down the Wye

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Coming Down the Wye



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Coming Down the Wye by Robert Gibbings
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Text extracted from opening pages of book: COMING DOWN THE WYE by ROBERT GIBBINGS With Engravings by the Author E. P. DUTTON & CO., INC. NEW YORK Copyright, 1943, by Robert GMings All Rights Reserved. Printed in U. S. A. FIRST PRINTING . . . SEPT., 194} SECOND PRINTING . . DEC., 1943 THIRD PRINTING . . . OCT., 1945 f No part of this book may be reproduced-In any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in con nection with a review written for inclusion in magazine or newspaper or radio broadcast. . To DAI REES of Uangtrig in the County of Montgomery CHAPTER ONE is the kind of mountain I like. It is neither too high nor too steep, and there are few precipices. In fact, you can't break your neck without an effort. It is a friendly hill. Once upon a time I travelled to the Pyrenees with K J. Moeran, in the side-car of his motor bike. He had recently composed his symphonic impression, In the Mountain Country, and no doubt crystallizations of this work were appearing constantly before his eyes. My thoughts, however, were of a more mathematical nature, While his vision was carrying him in harmonies from peak to peak, from waterfall to waterfall, and from sunlit mist to vaporous shadow, my whole interest was centred in determining how long it would take a falling body to reach the bottom of a threer-thousand-foot abyss, accelerating at the standard rate of thirty-two feet per second per second, in accordance with Sir a COMING DOWN THE WYE Isaac Newton's law of gravitation. Moeran was driving the machine, and I was in the side-car, and invariably the side-car seemed to be on the outer side of the road. There are few protecting wails on those high mountain passes. You just get a clear, uninterrupted view to the very bottom. There is nothing like that about Plynlimon. It is a place where you can enjoy all the pleasures of height without anticipating any of the inconveniences of sudden descent. Of course there are cliffs, but they are not formidable ones, and he must have a poor head who cannot look down on the dark green waters of the Rheidol Lake and watch the buzzards soaring to and from the overhanging rocks. * Only two downward beats of the wings and the great birds sail out into space, wheeling higher and higher in ever-widening circles. Then, uttering their querulous mewing cry, they half close their wings and glide again to their stony perch. It was mid-winter when I first tried to reach the source of the Wye, on Plynlimon. In the morning, when I left Llangurig, the sun had risen in a clear sky, and was throwing its radiance over the snow-covered hills. To the west the sky was green as olives and. the ice-fringed river, reflecting that colour, showed all the lights of an aquamarine. Higher in the hills the water in the tributaries flowed through crystal gorges. It was as if some giant crucibles of molten glass had been spilled along either bank. In sheltered pools, where the water was deep and calm, delicate fern like plates of ice stretched out to meet each other over mid-stream, but on windier stretches the frozen surface was rippled and polished, and dark as the water flowing beneath. Where there had been a waterfall there were now caverns of ice, festooned with stalactites, the rock faces on either side shining like chandeliers with frozen spray. Although there wasn't a cloud to be seen smallsnow-flakes began to fall, each one dazzling bright in the sunlight, and the higher I climbed the larger these flakes became. But they soon lost their brilliance. By midday the horizons were blotted out, and the tussocks of grass at my feet were crested with fresh snow. The ice-flecked stream had become the colour of pewter. The snow fell thicker and thicker, and a cold wind swept down the valley. Soon I became enveloped in this mild blizzard. My only guide was the Wye itself, beside me, now no wider than an old COMING DOWN THE WYE 5 man's jump. Then I found a dead sh
Release date NZ
March 1st, 2007
Country of Publication
United States
Gibbings Press
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