"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 23 October 2011

North Wales - Day 2 Tuesday 18th October - Harlech Castle and Beddgelert

Weather was cold and windy today but at least we had some sunshine at Harlech Castle in the morning but the weather deteriorated to drizzly rain by the time we got to Beddgelert in the afternoon.

Harlech Castle is one of a series of castles built in North Wales on the orders of King Edward I to secure this newly conquered area. It was built by a 1000 skilled craftsmen and labourers between 1283 and 1295 and cost £8,190.

The castle consists of two rings of walls and towers with an incredibly strong east gatehouse situated on a rocky crag with almost vertical cliff faces. It was impregnable from almost every side. Access via a 61 metre long stairway from the castle to the coast enabled supplies to be brought in via the sea although over the centuries the sea has receded and the castle is now no longer right on the coast.

The longest siege in British history lasting from 1461-68 occurred at this castle during the War of the Roses and is described in the famous song "Men of Harlech".

There are great views towards Snowdonia

Today Harlech Castle is a world heritage site and really well maintained - well worth a visit if you are in the area.

And so on to Beddgerlert - a really pretty village nestling among the mountains of Snowdonia.

First port of call (despite the cold and rain!!) was an icecream shop selling the famous homemade Glasyln Ices which have won loads of awards. I had chocolate and ginger and it was, without doubt, the best ice cream I have ever tasted - very creamy and chocolatey with lots of pieces of ginger.

There were some interesting sculptures outside one of the gift shops

This plaque reveals that many scenes from the film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" were shot in the Beddgelert area in 1958.

We started a lovely walk where, according to the map, the path followed the river for a few miles

Unfortunately the rain started to fall far more heavily so we retraced our tracks to visit Gelert's Grave - the main reason for our visit.

The legend says that Prince Llywelyn had a favourite and loyal hunting dog called Gelert who he left guarding his baby son one day whilst he and his wife went out hunting.

When they arrived home Gelert came rushing out of the lodge covered in blood. The prince rushed to his baby's room to find the cradle overturned and bloodstained bed linen strewn around the room and there was no sign of his baby son. He was so upset and grief stricken that he immediately killed Gelert thinking the dog had committed a dreadful deed. As the dog lay dying the Prince heard his baby son crying from underneath the upturned cradle where he lay unharmed. The body of a large wolf lay next to him. Gelert had, in fact, killed the dog that had saved his son's life.

He was so stricken with remorse that he buried Gelert in a nearby meadow marking the grave with stones. The village gets its name from the term Gelert's Grave. Its certainly a moving story and the place is definitely very atmospheric.


Pete said...

ooh i'm enjoying this!! can't wait to next year!

Ragged Robin said...

I'm sure you will love it there Pete and hol time will soon come round again. When are you planning on going and where are you stopping??