A walk up to Crow Castle

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.
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Crow sculpture on the gate post
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The view from over the hedge
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.
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Looking west from the plateau
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The last and steepest part of the walk
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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.
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A hazy view to the east
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On the way back down
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!
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11 thoughts on “A walk up to Crow Castle

  1. It’s a superb landscape, Eunice, isn’t it? Many years since I was over that way. I especially love your shots of the ruins. Thanks a lot for joining me. Have a great week! 🙂

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    1. The landscape certainly is fabulous and the views are fantastic, it’s just a pity it was so cloudy and hazy in the other direction. Maybe I will go back up there again soon, it’s a shame not to have photos looking the other way 🙂

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  2. Ha, somewhere else in north Wales that I haven’t heard of before! Not a walk that’s suitable for either me or my husband I’m afraid. I have to say though that the views are spectacular and you got some good shots of the ruins. I also love that crow sculpture, very realistic. I can just vision Sophie and Poppie pulling you up the hill like a pair of little huskies:) I’ll have to go and check out Jo’s Monday Walks for myself.

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    1. You can see Crow Castle from the A5 miles before you get to Llangollen as it’s so high up. It’s possible to drive most of the way up via a back lane, I tried it the year before but gave up as the lane was so narrow and steep – I’m just about to edit this post with a link to the post I wrote about it at the time. There’s another way to get there by car too but I don’t know where it starts from.

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  3. I’m by no means unfit but the last bit of the hill really was very steep so the dogs pulling me up really helped. The views were certainly worth the climb though 🙂

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    1. It’s a fantastic area of North Wales for scenery, I’ve camped around there many times and love it. I’m thinking of maybe going back there for Easter but haven’t quite made my mind up yet 🙂

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        1. I’ve never been to Tenby but I’ve been to Conwy several times – twice in two days last August while camping at Abergele. It’s a lovely little town with many photo opportunities, although the one-way route through the centre is a nightmare when it’s busy!

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