Where Do You Run – The Scores
After my first article about North Wales and the walk in Caernarfon, it’s time for me to show you a little bit more of Snowdonia National Park. This park is known because of Snowdon, the 1085m mountain but there’s so much to see in this area: 35 miles from East to West and 50 miles from North to South. Honestly, when we went there, we expected to see sheep and no disappointments: 2/3 of the park is privately owned and used for raising sheep and cattle. We even saw a magpie on a walking sheep “hey, you want a ride magpie, I can take you to the Snowdon lily”. Animals make me laugh, a lot (too much? maybe).
We didn’t have a lot of time so the Lonely Planet in our pocket, we decided to drive following more or less its “circling Snowdon” tour. We started at Llanberis (pictures 1, 2, 3) from where you can see Dolbadarn Castle built before 1230 by the Princes of Gwynedd (which was painted by my favourite painter, Turner!), we stopped by Llyn Peris (picture 4), then near Snowdon (picture 5). We drove again and again and after the 20% slope, we arrived at Pen-Y-Pass where light changes literally every 10 secondes (pictures 6, 7, 8, 9 and cover). There you’ll find Pen-Y-Gwryd Hotel, the training base for the 1953 Everest conquerors. Back in the car, practically alone and priviledge to see all this beauty (picture 10), we remembered how small we are comparing to nature, those big mountains and lakes (pictures 11, 12), then we drove towards Dinas Emrys (pictures 13, 14).
We went there in October and before that, I’d never seen places the same colour as Eliott (our cat); the landscape was ginger and the sky was white. It was magic, we fell in love with Caernarfon and then we went to Snowdonia and we fell in love with Snowdonia too. It’s the kind of place where you want to rent a cute house, light a fire, have a nice meal with your loved ones, read a good book with a tea… Pa-ra-dise. Oh, and running there? I’d love to, a dream! Please, give me a house there; let me go back right now!
(Okay, I’m going to say things, if there are not true, tell me! I’ve found the info in the Lonely Planet and some websites… but don’t hesitate!)
In Welsh, Snowdonia means highlands and Snowdon means Great Tomb. But why? Well, according to a legend, King Arthur killed a giant called Rita Gawr there and now he is buried at the summit. I hope it’s true… if it’s not tell me and Lonely Planet will know it because I’ve read that in the book ahah. Legends and stories are one of the reasons why we wanted to come to Wales and to visit North Wales:
– There’s Dinas Emrys, legendary home of the Red Dragon. According to the legend, King Vortirgen, son-in-law of Roman chief Magnus Maximus wanted to build a castle on the hill but it kept collapsing. One day, a young sorcerer called Merlin (Myrddin Emrys) freed 2 dragons in a cavern under the hill. One of them was white and represented the Saxons (ancestors of Germans); the other one was red and represented the British. According to the prophecy, both will fight until the Red Dragon triumph.
– There’s Beddgelert, the lovely village with a sad name. In Welsh, Beddgelert means “Gelert’s grave” and he story is moving but sad. We’re in the 13th century; Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd goes hunting without Gelert “the faithfull hound” who was unusually not here. When the prince comes back, the dog comes to him with pride but also blood, Llywelyn worries and runs towards his son’s bedroom but the bed is empty, the sheets full of blood… He thinks Gelert killed his son and pushes his sword into his flank; screaming of the dog are followed by cring of a kid. The Prince finds his son safe, near to him lies a wolf’s body killed by Gelert to protect the heir. Llywelyn is full of remorse and according to the legend; he never smiled since that day.
– There’s more that I might tell you later…
So we drove around Snowdon, we hoped to sea some dragons, some sheep and beautiful mountains. We expected green, some lakes, some people but reality was above that. I mean, look at those pictures, this place is all about nature, only nature matters.
I hope you’ve enjoyed strolling around Snowdonia with us; just writing this article makes me want to go back, I miss this place so much! I leave you with a picture of Beddgelert and a teaser for the next article: seaside. Des bisous, à très vite.