It is what seems like an age ago where the skies were blue, the sun was out and summer was in full bloom. No, this is not going to be a post of me complaining that it is no longer summer, but rather one that is long overdue.
Back in August, I took a road trip to North Wales with my boyfriend. We crammed a lot in to the small amount of time we were there, even managing to go tobogganing. If you have read either of these posts, you may remember my enthusiasm over a glorious little village called Beddgelert, which also happens to be one of the prettiest places in the UK, at least according to me.
A tiny but thriving village in the heart of Snowdonia, Beddgelert has an apparent population of under 500 people. Stone fronted houses and beer gardens line the banks of the Afon Colwyn, the excited sound of chattering ramblers fills the air punctuated only by the sounds of buzzing bees or the clank of a tardy tractor weaving its way along the Postman Pat style roads.
A short walk south of the village leads to its most famous landmark; Gelert’s Grave. Now as you may expect this stone is the resting place of ‘Gelert’ but what is more surprising is that this stone actually marks the resting place of a dog. Yes, according to legend, Gelert was the hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.
Basically, back in the 13th century, the prince had a palace in Beddgelert and one day he went out without his faithful pooch. When the prince got back home his dog came to greet him all covered in blood. Horrified, the prince saw that his son’s crib was empty and blood was covering the sheets. The angry prince stuck his sword into the hound’s side thinking that the pup had killed his heir. As legend has it, the dogs dying yelp was answered by the child’s cry. The distressed daddy was said to be so remorseful that he never smiled again and buried the dog in the field that still bares the stone. Chilling.
I didn’t actually learn about this until it was too late to visit, but if you are passing through, I am certain it would make for a lovely picture. The town is often said to be named after the dog, which did make me wonder if before this time was the place simply called Bedd?
After all of this and a quick look in the little independent stores in the village, we stopped for a snack; the biggest plate of cheesy chips you ever did see and a drink of something cold. I also tried to get a piece of cake from one of the bakers but they, rather strangely, did not offer any confectionery to take away, simply telling me when I asked for it to go that the cake would become awfully smushed if they put it in a bag. “Do you have no boxes?” I gabbed back, but when I was informed they did not do this, I left the bakery without anything feeling rather sad.
They say everything happens for a reason though and my glumness did not last long. Crossing the road on the way back to the car was a super fine looking ice cream shop with a plethora of flavours. Eventually settling for the caramel and honeycomb option on a crispy cone I felt more content with this on the warm summer day than I think I would have with the cake.
As tradition dictates, I did stop to pick up a magnet in the small village which I ensured was stereotypically Welsh. Beddgelert is one of what I am sure are several hundred, charming, little villages across Northern Wales and with this one in my mind, I would love to explore more of them.
Have you ever been to Northern Wales, or even Beddgelert? What are your favourite places to see? Let me know in the comments below.