I’m just back from Wales where I went on a walk with my local rambling club. How can I describe it. Being Wales, all the adjectives begin with W, Wild, Wet and Windy. After a few gorgeous days the weather had changed. The temperature had dropped by 10 degrees as a depression swept in across the Atlantic. My shorts and T-shirt were packed away and it was back to full waterproof gear.
Our destination was Beddgelert, which in English means ‘Gelert’s Grave’. It is a village situated in the Snowdonia National Park and is reputed to be named after the legendary dog, Gelert.
The dog is alleged to have belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and was a gift from King John of England. Llywelyn returns from a hunting trip to find his baby missing, the cradle overturned, and the dog with a blood smeared mouth. Believing the dog savaged the child, Llywelyn draws his sword and kills it. After the dog’s dying yelp Llywelyn hears the cry of the baby, lying unharmed under the cradle, along with a dead wolf which had attacked the child and been killed by Gelert. Llywelyn is then overcome by remorse and he buries the dog with great ceremony, yet he can still here the dying yelp. After that day Llywelyn never smiled again.
We started our walk from the car park at the northern end of Llyn Dinas and walked through the grounds of the Plas Gwynant Outdoor Education Centre and down the side of the lake. It was wet and muddy and we encountered some cows who were also not enjoying the mud.
We left the lake to climb up through trees on a rocky footpath to reach some moorland.
In places the ground was quite marshy and the rain, backed up by gale force wind, was coming at us horizontally. Not the place to hang around.
Eventually we met a minor road in the Nantmor Valley which we followed for a short distance before turning off to follow the Nanmor river through some woodland.
We reached a minor road which led us down to the village of Nantmor and the start of the best part of the walk. The Aberglaslyn Path.
The is also known as the ‘Fisherman’s Path and follows the River Glaslyn back to Beddgelert.
We had to negotiate large boulders and rocks which were very slippy it the rain. At one point handholds have been driven into the rock to give nervous walkers more confidence. It was very beautiful and I wanted to take lots of pictures but I had to concentrate on where I was putting my feet. My last couple of images looked as though we had suddenly been enveloped my mist but it was just water on my lens. Time to put the camera away.
We arrived in Beddgelert with time for a drink in the Tanronnen Inn where the bar was cosy and warm. I had a pint of Unicorn Premier Ale which was excellent.
It is now accepted that the village of Beddgelert took its name from an early saint named Kilart or Celert, rather than from the dog. The grave mound is ascribed to David Prichard, landlord of the Goat Hotel in Beddgelert in the late 18th century. He connected the legend to the village to encourage tourism. It worked.
The story of Gelert is a variation of the ‘Faithful Hound folk-tale known throughout the world.
We left Beddgelert to begin our long journey home. As we neared the coast the sky cleared and we could look towards the mountains covered in a fresh dusting of snow glistening in the sunlight and set against a clear blue sky. Another adjective for Wales – Wonderful.