Gelert’s Trail, the path running alongside the river, leading to Gelert’ Graves
According to legend, this stone monument, situated in a field alongside the River Glaslyn, marks the resting place of Gelert, the faithful dog of the mediaeval Welsh prince, Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone, reads:
“In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent.
On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.
The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry.
Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here”.
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynydd, North-West Wales.
King Edward Ist of England conquered Wales in 1277 and set about fortifying the rebellious area of North Wales. He began work on the strategically important Caernarfon Castle in 1283, when the Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, mounted an uprising.
The site enabled Edward to control traffic along the Menai Strait – a very important objective for his continued supremacy in the area.
There was a motte-and- bailey castle [a fortification with a wooden or stone keep, situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade] in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of North Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale.
There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon’s Roman past – nearby is the Roman fort of Segontium – and the castle’s walls are reminiscent of the Walls of Constantinople.
In 1911, Caernarfon was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales for the first time. He later became King Edward V111. In 1969 the precedent was repeated with the investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales.
Caernarfon castle is a beautiful castle and well-worth a visit.
Builtfor King Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain, from the grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation. An estimated £15,000 was spent building the castle, the largest sum Edward spent in such a short time on any of his Welsh castles between 1277 and 1307
Two barbicans (fortified gateways), eight massive towers and a great bow-shaped hall all sit within its distinctive elongated shape, due in part to the narrow rocky outcrop on which the castle stands.
Some say it is the most magnificent of Edward I’s Welsh fortresses. To get the full picture, head for the battlements. Breathtaking views across mountains and sea.