Note: I apologise for blurry pictures – phone camera malfunction
Over the weekend, we met up with Cerys from Mascara and Mud to walk up Castell Dinas Bran. Cerys and I met at an adventure weekend at Parkwood Dolygaer. I thought it was super funny that I travelled all the way to South Wales and met Cerys, who turned out to live up the road from me!
Anyway on Sunday, apart from the bit of sleet in the morning, the day turned out pretty fine – dry and sunny in parts. Last time I walked Dinas Bran (5 years ago) I was ‘equipped’ with heels and a dress. This time, I was ready to rock and roll in my more sensible and much loved new Hi Tech boots and some added layers to keep the cold at bay.
Oh how much has changed in 5 years…. I hardly recognise myself these days (in a good way).
Cerys brought her delightful son Alfie (pictured above) and her handbag sized dog Rolly. I brought Rik and my not so handbag sized pup Baby Bel. She is a complete an utter nightmare on lead but more behaved ( a generous description) off lead – Rik was in for some fun….
Parking in Llangollen
If there’s one thing I find a challenge, that’s parking in Llangollen. It’s rammed at weekends and with only 2 long stay car parks, there’s lots of competition! On Cery’s recommendation, we parked at the Ponsonby pub car park. It turned out, if you buy something from the pub, you get free car parking all day – win!
Getting to Castell Dinas Bran
From the car park, cross over the main road and up Wharf Hill. Here you’ll see the canal below. Look ahead and you’ll see a little opening with a sign post – follow that until you past the school and come to another little road. Cross that and keep heading up and up until you reach a set of gates where this little fellow perches….
The large sign below makes it pretty easy to find the right way – it’s all up hill from there but with plenty of places to stop and admire the Llangollen scenery.
If you’re wandering about the crows, it turns out it’s because Dinas Bran was known as castle of the crows.
We took the sloping path up towards the castle and took advantage of every photo opportunity. There are what I refer to as ‘rock gardens’ a term used in mountain biking. What I mean by that is the ‘path’ is not a traditional concrete path, rather just jaggered rocks mashed together in places and other places, small stones lay together to make a more straight forward route.
Viewing Castell Dinas from the bottom is deceiving – it looks small but when you get to the top, it’s vast. The ruins span out a distance, with arches, broken towers and little passage ways. It’s well looked after and you certainly feel like you’re on top of the world.
The views are spectacular. You can see Chirk Aqueduct in the distance too! The variety of shaded surfaces of the Berwyns play a great part in the scenery. The River Dee glistens in the sun and meanders through Llangollen and the surrounding villages.
It was lovely to let the animals go crazy although I’m not too sure if Rik’s recovered from being pulled up and down by crazy Bel. Alfie took a liking to Rik so that meant lots of sliding around in the mud and general ‘boy stuff’.
Actually to quote Alfie ‘Girls talk, boys slide….’
To be fair that was a pretty accurate assessment this time as Cerys and I chatted about family, life, adventure, blogging (of course) and how we were both determined to not get stuck in a rut – demanding the food shop could wait, adventure first – damn straight! It certainly is lovely to meet someone on the same page and so local too.
Most of my friends (now ex) from the city thought I was having some kind of quarter life crisis when I insisted the only way is the outdoors.
Anyhow, the new year will see us both pairing up to discover some local places to explore and I’m super excited!
Next time you’re in Llangollen and fancy an easyish hill walk, check out Castell Dinas Bran (especially when the sun’s just setting)!
Disclaimer: I’m testing out a pair of Hi Tech boots that were sent for review – the walking is all mine.
P.S I’ve signed up to #Walk100miles in 2017