This is the headwater of Craig Goch the highest upstream of the series of dams that contain the waters of the Elan and Claerwen rivers in what is known as the Elan Valley: a ‘y’ shaped from the valleys of the Elan and Claerwen rivers. The hills in the distance are part of the remote Mid Wales uplands, known in Welsh as the Elenydd; an area that extends virtually from the Brecon Beacons in the south to Snowdonia in the north. Both the River Severn and the River Wye have their sources within the Elenydd.
A gentle wind tickles the water surface, the only sound comes from the chittering of a family of Long Tailed Tits in a tree behind me, and the winter sun is slowly setting over the hills to the West. I’m standing on the edge of a human formed lake with the dam behind me – part of an enormous piece of Victorian engineering that has lost none of its functionality or spectacle today. The engineering was breath taking in its ambition and design. And yet. And yet: all I can feel is the enormity of the Elenydd spreading out around me and beyond my imagination. Nature has taken command of these vast reservoirs and made them its own.