Friday 4th September; walking from Llangollen basin
We planned to stay in the basin another night, and after a chat with Carolyn and Gary (Nb Inca) who were moored not far away we set off with Meg to walk up to Castell Dinas Bran. The trail starts not far from the basin and it’s steep right from the start. We’d got a leaflet with a map from the Tourist Office in town but the way up is clear and well-signposted so we didn’t need it to get to the top. Did I say it was steep? It has a lot of steps and even a hand-rail in places. But we managed it without needing to stop to take in the view! The view from the top is great. This is looking towards the general area of Trevor and the aqueduct. The Dee is the silver slug shape near the centre of the picture and if you can be bothered to enlarge the photo you will see the railway viaduct (I think) too in the distance.
Here Dave is looking north towards the Eglwyseg rocks. This is a spectacular escarpment of limestone which used to be quarried. You can get an impression of the height of the climb by looking at the cottage far below on the left.
The castle remains date from the 13th century. The leaflet we have says the fortress was established by Prince Bran, after a dispute with his brother, on the site of an Iron Age settlement. It has a brilliant defensive position with wide views all around, but was only used for a few years before it was abandoned in 1277 to the forces of Edward I. It is one of the (many) places where King Arthur is said to have left the Holy Grail.
Most of it has fallen over the succeeding centuries or been demolished. A small part has scaffolding round it and presumably having some preservation work done.
There was a surprising number of people up there and unfortunately some litter too though mostly plastic bottles. There was too much to take with us though I did collect a limp helium balloon on our way down, complete with its string which could pose a danger to wildlife or the sheep which roam around here. There may have been litter but no outright vandalism, not even graffiti on the signs – just this, which we liked.
Well done Shea and Darcy (and several others too) for imaginative use of bits of rock. It was very windy on the top with little shelter so after a quick bite of lunch we were on our way down. Unfortunately the leaflet we had was rather poorly reproduced and didn’t have a scale, so we didn’t spot the correct path in time to stop us ending up on the small road running beneath the limestone crags. At least we solved the mystery of the unlikely number of people at the top – there was a layby there with a much shorter climb than up from the town. Eglwyseg Rocks seem to run for miles and were visible for most of the route.
We walked for 7 miles as planned, just not on the route we expected! On the way back (on yet another ‘scenic route’) we found this amazing tree. I’ve only just noticed it has a ‘face’ looking to the left!
In the evening we went to Fouzi’s bistro and had a proper relaxed meal (the Corn Mill was packed and had a wait of an hour). Very nice meal in relaxed surroundings.