To the west of the Horseshoe Pass, Llantysilio Mountain enjoys extensive views north along the Clwydian Range and south over the Vale of Llangollen. Nineteen months ago, fire swept across the mountain, closing roads, affecting air quality, and causing havoc for emergency services who struggled to control the blaze. It was one of moorland fires across the country in the summer of 2018, some deliberately set, resulting from low rainfall and a long duration of hot weather. The situation led to serious questioning of our management strategies for these uplands. I posted about it here.

I recently revisited Llatysilio Mountain and found it bears traces of the fires that ravaged its vegetation. Still, much endures. I witnessed the persistent traces of large-scale quarrying still visible in the landscape, scars unaffected by any fire.

The Llantysilio slate quarry

I was heartened to see grass, mosses and other vegetation have slowly grown back. There were red grouse in profusion.

In this bleak but beautiful recently charred landscape, there were also traces of fresh human mortuary activity which my eldest daughter observed before me.

First, we came across one instance of ash-scattering. With so few discernible landmarks and most trees and bushes burned away, a prominent stone – at a meeting point of paths – provides an enduring natural monument which attracts ash-scattering. Perhaps it was a favourite spot of the dead person, enjoyed on countless walks.

Near the Ponderosa Cafe, itself a focus of the memorialisation of the cremated dead, we observed a further modest but overt memorial presence:: a way marker appended with a floral tribute. This looks very much to be less a significant place in itself, and more a casual choice of those unable or unwilling to walk far from the car park, utilising the only upstanding marker available to commemorate the death of a loved one.

Floral tribute on Llantysilio Mountain