Monday, 13th May, 2013.

The wind rustling through the trees on this old track remind me of its past.   The noise made is like a steam engine cruising along this, the old Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway-line.

It passed through some of the loveliest scenery in our land, the Land of My Fathers – Wales.

Now, after its closure in 1965 after 100 years in service, the old line has been made into a long-distance footpath:  The Ystwyth Trail.   That’s a forgivable misnomer, for much of it hereabouts follows the Teifi Valley.

It is a place of tranquillity, a place to wander or sit and think in more or less undisturbed seclusion.   And I think as I wander.

I think of how it was built.   No, not just the techniques used to construct it back in the mid-nineteenth century.   But of the men who slogged their guts out with pick and shovel in all weathers to earn a pittance and live, mainly, in camps rather than houses.

I believe that some of them settled in these parts, even here in our village.

Their struggles were rewarded often with nasty injuries, even death.   Those who employed them were harsh taskmasters, as were most employers in those times.

But it was built.   And the only man noted in the history of the old line’s building was the engineer David Davies of Llandinam, whose statue stands beside the main road of that village even today.   He was a fine engineer, too.   And those who carried out is work were as fine as he, but their names are unknown to the general public.

The wind rustles like a steam-engine.   The line was closed – by those with vested interests – before diesel took over from steam.   I have a friend who served as a footplate-man – stoking the boilers – on the big iron-horses.   A marvel it was, I recall, to see a steamer cruising along that line.

And now those days are long gone.

Yet the atmosphere left by those who lived and worked along its route still, in some odd way, remains to those of us who sense it.   There is a sadness which they left behind . . .  or is it just my imagination?   I am a victim of times past and of history, both my own and those of people before me.

2013-01-28 07.46.23

          I see the beautiful countryside all along the old way and I know that this is my land.

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