Castell Dinas Bran, Llangollen

2 12 2016

Mon 24 Oct 2016
On our way out of Shropshire, we’d hoped to go to the famous Stiper Stones but it wasn’t to be… the morning yielded very low cloud yet again – we could barely see to drive over the Long Mynd road so it wasn’t worth going to see the spectacular rock tors…

Photos a mix of my film and Richard’s digi (marked)

I’d already told Richard I couldn’t face going back home to my house and noisy neighbours, dogs and builders. I suggested we stop off for a night at Llangollen as it wasn’t far out of our way on our return journey and is a lovely spot.

I was really wanting a long romp on the Eglwyseg Hills behind the town but Richard wasn’t keen on a proper walk. I decided Castell Dinas Bran would make a nice short walk and, if I felt so inclined, I could take off up the Eglwyseg on my own from there if I wanted.

By early afternoon we’d parked up in Llangollen, booked in at an hotel and set off for the short but sharp walk up Castell Dinas Bran – an old ruined mediaeval castle on a round steep-sided hill. I’m assuming the main defence is that attackers would be too knackered to do anything by the top of the hill – it’s a very stiff climb!

A path leads out of town more or less straight from the road bridge heading north and crosses the popular Llangollen canal where there are horse-drawn canal barges in season. As this is such a popular walk, the route is signposted all the way and no map is needed. The ruin soon comes into view…

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As we reached the path rising up the fields, I was very taken with this old, dead tree – it looked like a sculpture to me…

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We soon reached ‘the Pancake’ at the start of the hill where there are information boards for those who haven’t been before…

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In the old days, the path used to just blast straight up the front but has now been made into a zig-zag. My mother and I used to go up regularly while camping at Llangollen for the International Eisteddfod. Indeed, one year my mother learnt a new song on the campsite. There were some lads in the next tent singing the same rude rugby songs I used to sing in the Army and they were getting some of the words wrong so I sang along with the correct words. Luckily, although she was shocked, my Mum was always a good sport and laughed despite the crudity of it all!

The views from the pancake were lovely…

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from Richard’s digi-camera – in full colouring-in mode obviously!

The views were also lovely from the ascent zig-zags…

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The superb Eglwyseg Escarpment

We soon reached the summit – the castle seems much more ruined than I remember but gives splendid photo opportunities in all directions…

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These are Richard’s camera’s paintings…

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As it was absolutely freezing up there and I’d now run out of film, we set off down the back (east) on another good path to the road which I believe constitutes part of the Offas Dyke Route. It’s a lovely road anyway and it was sunny and warm down there so I abandoned my ambitions to go up the escarpment and decided to take Richard a walk back along the lovely lanes to the west of Castell Dinas Bran’s hill. These are all his photos from here…

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This tree was, at least, this actual colour

There were lots of Welsh Mountain sheep grazing the sparse grass under the escarpment and then we were amused to come across a field of rams. ‘Tupping time’ has probably just finished in Wales where the rams (or tups in farming parlance) have had to do their duty for all the females of the flock. It’s their only busy time of year and we laughed at how knackered they all looked – they were flaked out all over the field. I got Richard to take photos…

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Knackered tups and a beautiful Welsh Mountain ram
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I then took to crag-gazing. The escarpment has some fantastic crags and rock formations brooding above the road and I was keen to pick out potential climbing lines (not that I’ll probably ever get chance to climb there). I was sure I could spot some and found I was right – on the next section of crag after a re-entrant, there were climbers in action.

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Not far from here, we took a lane back towards Llangollen. Finding too many cars for our liking, we took the option of a shortcut on a footpath through some woodland which cut a corner and a junction out and saved us half a mile and probably quite a few car fumes.

We were soon back in Llangollen – just in time for the cafe at the Canal Boat centre.

The next day, we drove home via the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the canal and stopped to have a walk across it. The aqueduct is around 1000 feet long and 128 feet high with virtually nothing on the canal side between your boat and the drop – probably pretty scary. We wanted a trip across in a boat but would have had to wait until midday so we walked instead. As there are railings on the walking side, this isn’t at all scary. Richard’s photos…

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12 responses

10 12 2016
surfnslide

The area around the castle and the escarpment is some of the best walking in Wales. We had a maginificent day up here in October:
https://surfnslide.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/life-on-the-edge/

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11 12 2016
mountaincoward

You make me wish I’d gone back up onto the escarpment now I’ve read that! Beautiful!

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9 12 2016
tessapark1969

Looks an interesting walk – don’t like the look of that aqueduct though!

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11 12 2016
mountaincoward

The walking bit’s fine – not at all scary – I really want to try it in the boat though! 😮

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6 12 2016
chrissiedixie

I love a good ruin! That aqueduct would scare me though. We have a smaller version of that near us, in Marple, and I can manage that one, but it’s got a solid stone wall at the side, not see-through railings……

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6 12 2016
mountaincoward

I really wanted to go across the aqueduct in a boat to scare the hell out of myself – we will next time!

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6 12 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

Hi Carol, I’ve been to Snowdonia, Anglesey, Lleyn Peninsula, Portmeirion, Aberystwyth, Milford Haven, most of Shropshire, Cotswolds and Malverns, Forest of Dean area, Severn Gorge area, Chester and most of Devon, Cornwall and the Welsh/English border regions although not always with hill-walking in mind. My HD TV has an automatic adjuster to insure a perfect colour spectrum at all times so it’s fairly accurate thanks :o) I take colour very seriously… but not much else…

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6 12 2016
mountaincoward

Ah – you’ve been to Wales then! I’ve never been to Portmeirion yet… So many of your Scottish brethren refuse to leave Scotland but I knew you weren’t one of them – just didn’t know whether you’d made it down to Wales or not 🙂

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5 12 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

I still think the actual true colour of ‘the great outdoors’ should be a blend or colour setting somewhere between the two cameras but that’s only my view of the world 😉 I’m using wildlife programmes, television and film as a gold standard here visually as they obviously use top of the range equipment to attempt to capture what the human eye thinks of as ‘natural colour’ and so far I’ve not watched a TV outdoor programme yet and thought the colour spectrum looked wrong in it.
Not an area I’ve visited but it looks good with plenty of deciduous woodland.

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5 12 2016
mountaincoward

They do use top of the range equipment for TV programme-making… however, depends entirely on your TV screen what you then see!

Most of the rural areas of Wales are gorgeous and there are very many interesting hills of all sizes – have you been there at all? I’m assuming you’ve probably been to Snowdonia at least…

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4 12 2016
underswansea

Incredible ruins! I looked them up on the internet. I would really enjoy seeing something with so much history. It would be remarkable to try and get some night sky shots with the ruins in the foreground. Also liked your dead tree. Bob

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4 12 2016
mountaincoward

Wales is bursting with ruined castles – Richard and his friend once did a week’s tour of just some of them via public transport. They had a great week!

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