ALLTGOCHMYNYDD, Bont Goch, Ceredigion 2011

Notes on ALLTGOCHMYNYDD, Bont Goch, Ceredigion 2011

It never ceases to amaze me that Ceredigion, traditionally one of the poorest of counties, has such numerous ruins in such beautiful locations. Properties that tumble yet stubbornly cling on to these steep soggy banks and hillsides.

Alltgochmynydd had obviously, relatively recently (five years ago?), found owners who had intended to make this stunning little property as a home. It would appear that they failed.

The rear door hangs off its hinges and entry was made easy into the dark interior. Within large slab floor are a few possessions; a small kitchen unit, a few kitchen utensils, a broken chest of drawers, a few bottles, rusting knives, dusty forks. The downstairs is now one open space, the dividing walls all gone and a make-shift staircase leading upstairs. And upstairs a wardrobe on its side and a number of beds, a child’s mattress – all dark, dimly lit, eerie and sad.

The floor boards bend under my weight. The floorboards covered in dust, bits of stone and mortar, litter from a neglected building. Two roof skylights allow a small amount of light to trickle in.

Outside mid September and the rain falls in a sheet of a million sticks.

I set up my camera and focus upon the child’s bed and mattress trailing on the floor. The meter reads F22 at 8 minutes. I know from experience that I will need a much longer exposure in such a dimly lit building. An exposure of 60 minutes is used. I focus the camera by pointing a torch onto the corner of the bed so I can actually see something through the dimness of the ground glass of the camera. I begin the exposure, set my stopwatch and settle within my new home for the next hour.
I wander around, squat down, stand up. I look inside the kitchen cupboards, food, gravy granules, cooking oil in jars covered in mould. I look up the chimney, on the mantel piece. All this is done by torch light. I know not what I am looking for. I know not what I expect to find.
More kitchen utensils, rusty and dusty. Lots of broken things, bottles, oil lamps, door knobs, under the back door frame lots of screwed up magazine pages blocking up draughts. One piece of newspaper has the date 1973. I do not think this is the last year that someone lived in this house. It has more recent secrets. But how to estimate a date of its last occupants? It is impossible to tell.

Outside the rain has ceased. I step out and explore. Crab apples hang heavy on trees around the rear of the property. A stream, small but running fast, bubbles up from under the long grass.

It has been a wet September.

I walk, gain views and read over my map and plan my next jaunts. The rain begins to come again. A few warning drops and then the deluge.

I re-enter Alltgochmynydd and sit down on the cold floor and let the time pass.
I wonder if the exposure will be successful.
I wonder if it is worth it.
I wonder what tiny fraction of ruins throughout Wales I have actually visited.

An hour passes. I am glad to leave. I close all the doors more secure than how I found them. Perhaps this house would make a suitable Bothy. If not, then surely it will just fall, year by year, until just a pile of stone. Alltgochmynydd is Grade 2 Listed.
Buy now

ALLTGOCHMYNYDD, Bont Goch, Ceredigion 2011

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