Dull days, grey sky, mist and occasional drizzly rain has meant my dog walking has been kept to a minimum over the past week and I haven’t been able to get out with the camera, so I’m linking up to Jo’s Monday Walk this time with a walk I did while camping in North Wales at Easter a couple of years ago.
Castell Dinas Bran, otherwise known as Crow Castle, is a medieval ruin which sits in a prominent hilltop position high above the small town of Llangollen in North Wales. I’d once made an attempt at driving most of the way up to it via a back lane but scared myself silly in the process so this time I was doing it on foot. My walk began from the road near the canal bridge in Llangollen where a narrow footpath took me past the side of a large secondary school before reaching open land, and right from the start at road level the route went very steeply uphill. Eventually I came to a hamlet of several cottages and just past the last one the path took me through a gate with the sculpture of a crow on the post; there was a good view over the hedge just beyond the gate so I stopped there to get a photo or two.
After another several minutes of walking, and about two thirds of the way up the hill, a fairly level plateau offered a respite from the climb so I stopped there to snap a few photos and renew my energy before tackling the last and steepest part of the route. From the plateau a zigzag path helped to make things a bit easier but it didn’t go all the way to the top and the final couple of hundred yards were steeper than ever – I was just glad I had two fit and strong little dogs to pull me up the last bit to the very top.
Back down at the start of the path a signpost at the roadside said the castle was a mile from there but the route was so steep it felt like I’d walked far more than a mile by the time I got to the top. Being up there was like being on top of the world though and I could see for miles in all directions, but the clouds had closed in a bit and the view across to the Dee valley in the east wasn’t as clear as it could have been; the sun was still shining though and the views to the west were much clearer so I still managed to get several good shots.
The descent back down the hill was definitely much easier than going up, though I had to watch that the dogs didn’t pull me down any faster than I wanted to go – sliding out of control down the steep shingle path wasn’t really part of the plan. We made it back to road level in one piece though and as we all needed a drink by then I headed for Llangollen’s main street and the Courtyard Cafe, where Sophie and Poppie lapped up copious amounts of water from the bowl by the cafe door and I quenched my thirst with a mug of good coffee before returning to the van.
So would I ever do that walk again? Maybe not, as the route really was very steep and strenuous and the castle ruins will never be any different, but if there’s an absolutely cloudless blue sky and I know I can get some better photos of the views then maybe I will – all I can say is never say never. If ever I do go again though, I’ll remember to take some water with me – that steep walk was certainly very thirsty work!