| The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers|
|A friendly young sheepdog, made idle by the sun, yawns and scratches in the farmyard, from which a path descends behind a tip of broken asbestos and old tyres to lead through beechwood and arrive at the bank of the Afon Dwyfor. Despite the brevity of its course – barely a dozen miles from its source in the Eifionydd hills to the sea a mile west of Criccieth – few would argue against this being one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers. The late spring has adorned its banks with ramson and may. Translucence of young beech leaves overhead imparts a soft green dappling light. A pond-skater scissor-kicks upstream across velvet water. In the deep shade, drifts of seeding bluebells blanch and curl.|
Beyond Lloyd George's grave I cross the main road and the railway to where the river sidles into a winding mile through meadows. The farmer from Aberkin is out hay-making, taking advantage of fine June weather, leaving bales wrapped in pale plastic mesh and scattered across the fields. I sit on a dyke, chew grass and watch the stream. Just below me, where a drain enters, the water is seething with activity. Fins break the surface. Large fish swirl round. A solitary dunlin on the muddy shore straightens from its feeding stoop, observes the commotion and scurries away protesting.
I peer down into disturbed water and see a shoal of 50 or so grey mullet bottom-feeding in the shallows – handsome fish, some of them 2ft long, churning through the algal filth and sucking up whatever organic matter they find there. Opinion varies widely on their edibility, though I suspect their eating habits are the main taint to their gastronomic reputation. The river reaches a marsh before it curls round to merge with the waves. Duckboards of the new coastal path are laid across the mire. In the black ooze alongside, flags are flowering – vibrant yellow against a subtle, faint lilac in the stems of last year's reeds.