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North Wales and Snowdonia Stunning Scenery
North Wales and Snowdonia the Land of Myths and Legends, and of Kings and Dragons, of Wizards and Sorcery , yet with beautiful landscapes. Beaches with golden sands that stretch for several miles and more, small Coffee Shops to expensive Restaurants they all live in harmony in this small corner of Wales.
North Wales and Snowdonia is my Territory it’s where I live and where I have been born and brought up so I know a thing or two about the area. We take it for granted even though thousands of tourists visit each year, and not just in Summer, throughout the year, even in Winter and we would always comment, why do these people come here, what do they see here. But that’s our narrow minds in not appreciating what we have on or our door step. North Wales and Snowdonia is alive with History. From Love Torn Prince’s and Kings, to Dragon Slayers, and a Village that was named after a dog for it’s bravery.
Although these stories are myths, we like to fantasize and sometimes hope that there is some degree of truth in them.
Full of Legends and Mythology.
The story of “Gelert” the legendary Wolfhound which belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, the Dog was a gift from King John of England. It was said that Gelert was a faithful companion of Llywelyn and never put a foot wrong. One day Llywelyn went on a hunting trip and left Gelert home to look after and protect his newborn baby. On his return from hunting Llywelyn saw his baby’s cradle overturned, the baby missing and Gelert having blood around it’s mouth. Llywelyn, imagining that Gelert had savaged his baby draws his sword and plunges it into Gelert. As the sword is plunged into his faithful hound Gelert lets out a final dying yelp. To his astonishment Llywelyn then hears the cries of his baby and finds it unharmed under the cradle. Alongside his baby is a body of a very large wolf which is dead, having been killed by Gelert, Llywelyn falls to his knees and realises what he has done and he’s then overcome with great remorse. He buries his dog with a great big ceremony, yet he can still hear Gelert’s dying yelp and after that day Llywelyn never smiled again. As a great tribute to Gelert, Llywelyn named his village “Beddgelert” (which means “Gelert’s Grave”) and the name still stands to this day. People from all over the world come to the picturesque village to visit the dog’s grave which is situated down a path from the centre of the village under a tree and is fenced off to avoid damage there are also two slate memorials on the grave paying tribute to the dog.
There is the myth of King Arthur, although a lot of literature claim Arthur to be a British King who led the defence of Britain against the Saxons. Others claim he was of Roman Origins who was here to conquer, but we Welsh like to think of him being partly of Welsh origins. There are so many variants of the story that it’s hard to keep up, the Battle at “Camlann” is a prime example. Some would say that the word “Camlas” which is “Canal” in Welsh has originated from the word “Camlann”, and that the battle of “Camlann” could have taken place in a field with a working waterway running alongside this being a primitive form of “Canal” or (“Camlas” in Welsh), and the said field is situated near the Town of Porthmadog in Gwynedd, North Wales. And to further strengthen the Welsh association with the Arthurian Legend “Merlin” Arthur’s Advisor or Magician, his name is taken from the Welsh name “Myrddin”. And with his Love Life causing friction with his marriage to “Guinevere” a servant, it is similar to a modern day Soap Opera.
Then there is Owain Glyndwr who lived in 1349 or 1359 to 1416 he was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to be “Prince of Wales”. He was the one person who instigated a long-running and fierce revolt against the English is rule of Wales, and yet his revolt was ultimately unsuccessful. Up to this day there are some people who still believe in Owain Glyndwr, though the majority think of him as an extremist and a myth.
And the biggest myth of all is the story of the Giant Named “Bendigeidfran” some would say he was a Welsh King, others would claim that he was King of Britain, but we believe him to be Welsh. All the stories we were told through school was about Bendigeidfran the Welsh Giant King, and Irish King Matholwch sailed across the Irish Sea to ask Bendigeidfran for the hand of his sister Branwen in marriage, and Bendigeidfran agrees. But all is not as it seems as Efnisien half brother to Bendigeidfran was angry that his permission was not sought in regards the marriage, and he killed all Matholwch’s horses. It was all down to this one action that Bendigeidfran had to give Matholwch a magic cauldron as compensation for his horses, and this cauldron had powers to restore the dead back to life. And when back in Ireland Branwen gives birth to a son, and Efnisien’s insults still hurts Matholwch and he mistreats Branwen beating her daily. Bendigeidfran hears of this and goes to rescue his sister, when in School we were told in the Story, that Bendigeidfran walked across the Irish Sea and when the water reached his chest he created waves that even capsized the Irish Ships.
Only seven survive the battle with Efnisien sacrificing himself in destroying the cauldron, Branwen died of a broken heart, and even Bendigeidfran was mortally wounded with only his head still talking. They bring Bendigeidfran’s head home to Wales with them, where his head continued to talk for a further seven years. Once the head is silent it is taken to “White Hill” thought to be the location where the (Tower of London) now stands. Here they bury the head facing France so as to ward off any invasion.
Castles for History and Mountains for Climbing it's all Here
And if you are still hungry for more history North Wales has some stunning Castles you can investigate, drive along the A55 Expressway and it is impossible not to see the array of Castle Turrets and imposing towers from RhuddlanCastle on the NorthCoast down to CricciethCastle, south of Snowdonia. In North Wales there are some of the finest surviving Castles in Europe, all in this small corner of Wales. ConwayCastle is one example with stunning views towards Conway Estuary,and some individual rooms are still recognisable. The great hall for instance, the kitchen and the Royal Chapel.
But, probably the finest example of a Castle is CaernarfonCastle overlooking the Menai Straits, it attracts tourists from all over the world all year round. And up to today CaernarfonCastle is still used for ceremonial events and fun events in North Wales. It is both imposing and spectacular both in equal measure.
Cross over from main land Wales onto Anglesey and visit Beaumaris Castle built from 1295 it was the largest and last Castle to be built by King Edwards 1 in Wales, it is also claimed to be the best example of medieval military architecture in the whole of Great Britain. And there are many more Castle ruins to be found around North Wales, Harlech, Denbigh, Flint, Dolbadarn these are just a few. While at Bangor stands PenrhynCastle in excellent condition throughout even by today’s standards, cared for by the National Trust and well worth a visit.
But North Wales and Snowdonia is not just for people who are into History and Mythology, stories of Kings and Giants it also has stunning scenery and landscapes. Snowdonia is a National Park, and it covers 823 sq Miles and standing in the middle is “SnowdonMountain” though a small mountain in world terms standing at 3560 feet or 1085 metres it still attracts some 8 million visitors yearly, and the vast majority being foreign visitors from overseas. At the foot of Snowdon is Llanberis here is the best position to access Snowdon by foot, or you can take the Train right to the summit. Whatever means you take it is well worth the visit, and if you are lucky and get clear weather then the view from the summit is simply “sublime” with views right across the Irish sea to Ireland. And Llanberis offers everything you need for your visit, from places to stay to Café’s and Restaurants and Shops selling everything regarding climbing and rambling. Then there is TryfanMountain slightly smaller than Snowdon standing at 3000feet or 914 metres yet it still attracts visitor numbers, and both mountains attract thousands of climbers and ramblers throughout the year. Whatever you do at Snowdonia there is just one word of warning, be prepared due to Snowdonia’s position the weather can change very quickly, you can start off and it’s sunny and clear, and when you are half way on your trek the weather can change dramatically, so be prepared.
North Wales and Snowdonia has a lot to offer from Mountains to Castles and history galore, and yet there are golden sandy beaches where you can Surf, Water Ski, or general messing around on the water.
So if you are stuck on where to spend your next holiday why not give North Wales and Snowdonia a look, believe me you won’t regret it, the one thing I can’t promise you is good weather, if you can tolerate the weather then you’ll have a fantastic time.