Garth Hill by Nathan Munday

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Nathan Munday

Nathan Munday

Nathan Munday is a Welsh writer from Carmarthenshire. Following a period of doctoral study, he became the guardian of Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in the heart of Snowdonia, the birthplace of Bible translator William Morgan. This unique ‘Library in the Wilderness...

Julian Ashton reads Garth Hill

You’ve probably seen it from the motorway.

For Wales, it’s a mother hill rising above the cities like a medieval shrine. A holy face interrupted with tumuli

and skylark.

But, for you, it may be that silhouette brooding behind Hollywood’s The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain.

I returned to the Garth double jabbed with an air-pod perched in my ear. The yellow bracken brushed my boots while powder filled my prints dry. Steep bits had steps like scallops, created by tip-toeing pilgrims treading carefully on a movie set.

Shuffle meant that tracks were unexpected: hidden threads in an emerging tapestry. Delius. Killers. Eddie Izzard narrating Ivor the Engine. Messiah. Muse. And then…

a long forgotten voice.

A silver depth returned, marinated for thirty years in a Welsh pulpit. The unheimlich of his latter days had spread over my mind like cumulus. A dust cloth of coughs over my grandfather preacher.

As I approached the ridge with the ravens, his random history talk, recorded in a 1985 tin tabernacle, had not only metamorphosed into an MP3 but began fusing with the landscape around me.

His cracked hands were the grasping trees; his wispy hair stroked the hillside like long grass; and his slumbering body mirrored the contours on the horizon.

I see that this is a land filled with sleeping warriors or insomniacs, depending on your point of view. His presence transubstantiated the secularised day into a sacred feast.

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