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Llyn Morwynion ‘Lake of the Maidens’

Llyn Morwynion is probably the lake where, according to the Mabinogion, Blodeuedd and her Maidens of Ardudwy drowned whilst fleeing from the wizard Gwydion and the men of Gwynedd.

Gwydion travelled in the forefront and made for Mur Castell. Blodeuedd heard they were coming, took her maidens with her and made for a court that was on the mountains, and over Cynfal river they made for a court that was on the mountain. But through fear they could not proceed save with their faces looking backwards. And then, never a thing knew they before they fell into the lake, and were all drowned save she alone. And then Gwydion overtook her too, and he said to her: ‘I will not slay thee, I will do thee that which is worse; That is,’ he said, ‘I will let thee go in the form of a bird.’

Hence forth Blodeuedd became Blodeuwedd (Flower-Face), which is name given an owl in Wales.

Thomas Pennant recounts another version, where the Men of Ardudwy raid Clwyd and carry off wives for themselves. The Men of Clwyd followed them, and slew the raiders at Beddau Gwyr Ardudwy, (Graves of the men of Ardudwy). The women had already established themselves so well with the raiders, that they flung themselves in despair into the waters of Llyn Morwynion, so the legend goes.

I think that the women were probably more afraid of the punishment from their own men of Clwyd, following such a quick change of affection.

Llyn Morwynion is not visible from the road, but it can be reached from the B4407, stopping at the small lake Llyn Du Bach, which is a popular stopping point, and walking in a westerly direction across the moorland.

Simon Topham

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