Castles and a Valiant Hound

Thursday, December 09, 2004 Road Junkies 0 Comments

ADVENTURES IN ENGLAND AND WALES, Chapter 9:  IN WHICH WE CONTINUE CASTLE HOPPING AND LEARN A LOCAL LEGEND

Day 9:  Betws-y-Coed, Wales.  We discovered upon awakening that the heat here is also on a timer. Since we’re getting up at 6 a.m., we’re aware of it, so some of the places we stayed earlier on this trip were probably the same and we just hadn’t realized it' because we were waking up later.

Having breakfast in our room allows us to get an earlier start and make the most of the shortened daylight in December. We did a bit of laundry last night, and most things dried on the radiators before the heat was cut off.

This morning we drove east on a scenic route through forest and farmland toward Conwy. Came through the town of Ruther just before 9:00 and saw many children being walked to school by their mothers.
View from Conwy Castle
Toured the beautifully situated Conwy Castle, another of Edward I’s defensive fortresses in north Wales. Standing on a massive rock foundation, the castle overlooks both land and sea.

After Conwy, we drove to Caernafon to visit the castle where Charles was crowned Prince of Wales.
Caernafon Castle
Caernafon was the largest castle we have visited and had a large courtyard for official ceremonies. There were many passageways to traverse and towers to climb (circular staircase with rope handrail). It was very windy and only about 5° C. Quite an impressive castle, as Edward intended, of course.

From Caernafon to Beddgaelert, we drove through an area of mid-size mountains covered with scrub and stone. On the lower reaches and sometimes even higher were the ubiquitous sheep grazing.
River Glaslyn in Beddgelert
In Beddgaelert, we took a walk by the river and visited the grave of the legendary Gelert, the hound who protected his master’s infant child from a giant wolf. When the baby’s father, Prince Llywelyn, returned from the hunt, saw blood on the dog and no sign of his son, he killed Gelert believing him responsible. As Gelert fell, the prince heard his son cry and found him safe with the slain wolf nearby.
The faithful Gelert
Horrified by his actions, the prince, it is said, never smiled again. The village is named in honor of this brave dog. Beddgelert=the grave of Gelert.

Leaving the village, we saw a group of sheep next to the street, over the wall and next to the river. A few jumped up onto the low stone wall and down to the street. Apparently they had shopping to do.
Seeking the best view
Returned to the grocery store in Llanrwst for a few items for dinner and then back to the Royal Oak Hotel in Betws for dinner in the room and a good night’s sleep.

At Conwy Castle

Sheep shopping in Beddgelert