Tolkien’s Wales in the Black Mountains

Yesterday, 30th June 2011, I led a “literary walk” on “Tokien’s Wales in the Black Mountains”, organised by Literature Wales in partnership with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. This walk was part of the Literary Tourism Programme run by Literature Wales (see here for a brochure with all the tours and walks for 2011). The meeting point was the beautiful Buckland Hall, from where we set up for a 2-hour walk ascending Buckland Hill and following the ridge overlooking the Caerfanell Valley and mountains to the west. The views were just stunning and we were lucky to enjoy lovely sunshine! My talk begun with Tolkien’s visits to Wales and his love and use of the Welsh language in the invention of Sindarin. I also talked about the Welsh ‘fringes’ of the Shire and Bree (reflected in place- and family-names), resonances from the ‘Mabonogion’ in Tolkien’s legendarium, Welsh dragons in Tolkien’s non-Middle-earth works, and his 1955 lecture ‘English and Welsh’. This is the first time I have ever given an outdoors talk, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! This was a brilliant idea for an event, linking literature, biography and place, and offering me an opportunity to share my research with a wider public in an ideal location! I am grateful to Literature Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority for this great opportunity and many thanks to Buckland Hall for warm hospitality!

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