Saturday 29 January
Distance: 11.6 miles (2000’ of ascent)
Weather: Sunny and delightfully crisp
As unlikely as it seemed as we listened to the rain fall last evening, today dawned clear and bright, with a good frost adorning the grass. Seeing the conditions caused us to put a spurt on, curtailing our pre-walk faffing, and we managed to get ourselves out at 9am.
A slightly different route was taken to get to the path up to Castell Dinas Bran, this time passing an information board which had apparently been covered with blobs of water from last evening’s rain at the point that freezing level was reached:
The speed at which we ascended the hill was entirely the fault of this sign. Had it been less definite about the time it would take to reach the top we would probably have had a leisurely stroll, but so firm was it in telling us that ‘It will take 25 minutes to reach the remains of the castle’ that we saw it as a challenge. Mick was amongst the ruins in 10 minutes; I took 12 minutes, although I did pause briefly to take a snap of the escarpment under which we had walked yesterday:
This really is a fantastic oversized-pimple of a hill, with incredible 360 views, augmented by the remains of the castle. Definitely worth the walk. Compared to yesterday afternoon’s greyness:
It was much nicer today:
A good poke around was had, oohing in every direction, particularly to the north where the mist hung in the valleys and capped the hills:
Afraid of slipping on the steep descent (it had been very slip-slidey on the iced-up stones on the way up), it was a bit of a nervous descent, but we made it intact to pick up Offa’s Dyke Path. After a bit of road walking, through some pleasing woodland we went. Trevor Hall Wood said the sign. “Who’s he then?” asking Mick, supposing that a hyphen was missing.
The main purpose of this walk, for me, was the Pont Cysyllte aqueduct and by-and-by the route took us to the canal:
I have clear memories of not crossing the aqueduct when I was somewhere between 9 and 11. We got onto the end of its lengthy span, my grandmother (who has no head for heights at all) appreciated what we were about to do and refused to go any further. No amount of cajoling would convince her that there was nothing to worry about, so back we went. Finally I had the opportunity to rectify that unfinished business.
It’s a truly incredible structure:
Mick tried in vain to try to take a sensible photo of me on the crossing:
It was a long way down to the river!
Having crossed the span twice (our circular walk came very close to the end of the aquaduct, but didn’t require us to cross it, so it was a bit of an out-and-back side-trip), we detoured further to a local road bridge in an effort to find a vantage point where we could admire the entire magnificence. We didn’t find that vantage point, but we could still admire sections of it between the trees.
Our way back to Llangollen was a simple stroll along the canal, the tow path of which was unsurprisingly busy on this fine Saturday morning. No narrow boats were moving on the canal, although there were a few people making other use of the waterway:
Dinas Bran had been within our sights for much of the day, and so it was as we paused for lunch. Finding a picnic bench for our break was an added bonus:
As regular readers will know, I’m not always a fan of canal walking, but some canals are better than others, and this one is lovely:
Reaching Llangollen a detour was had into the town before we made our way back to Colin. It seemed obligatory to join the other tourists on the bridge to take a snap of the river:
Equally obligatory was a trip to the butcher for a lamb oggie for Mick. He was quite pleased with it:
So, a good couple of walks had. I think we’ll be back to explore the area further.