Sunday, 3 July 2011

On the history trail

Telford's weir was stop one on our Llangollen History Trail, a six mile scenic walk taking in the 12th century castle ruins high on the hill overlooking the town and due to take up to six hours according to the leaflet.
The towpath walk to the weir was the easy bit; after that it was almost entirely uphill. Steeply uphill. Next came Llantysilio Church, charmingly set within an evocative graveyard of Joneses and Evanses.
But what of the church itself? It would have been easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a fat person to enter Llantysilio Church. The door would open little more than a crack - presumably to prevent anyone disappearing with the "rare medieval oak eagle lectern". Fortunately Starwoman and me have not been at the chips too often and slipped inside to view a simple but atmospheric interior.
From here we followed the signs up Velvet Hill which "gets its name from the soft texture of the sheep cropped grass and moss". Of which there was none to be seen. Nor any more waymarkers. Just ferns. When the path split, we were lost, as were two other walkers and only the arrival of a third walker, relying on an OS map rather than a guide, put us straight and back on route to Valle Crucis Abbey.
Once it was the second richest abbey in Wales after Tintern. Today the ruins are smothered in a huge camping and caravan site. A great way to treat our heritage, eh. And the signs ran out again.
We followed our noses uphill and, as we climbed steeply out of the trees and ferns a superb view of surrounding hills came into view. But we were more than two hours in and Dinas Bran castle still looked depressingly distant. And much higher. Brian, uninspired by the prospect of exploring a 12th century ruin, was walking to rule now - even after being fortified by dog biscuits and water. Still, we plodded on, and finally, there was the fingerpost pointing to a path zig-zagging up a steep, steep slope to our goal.
But, boy, was that last mile slow! I don't think I'm ready for Everest base camp yet - this one was struggle enough. But the views were staggering. Way to the east we could see the Newbridge railway viaduct and the road bridge across the valley - both of them far beyond the Pontcysyllte aqueduct - though that was hidden in the trees. And out to the west were the high hill tops of Snowdonia.
Brian decides his body double will tackle the next hill walk

We headed down the short route back to town. And Brian, curiously, was a dog instantly revitalised pulling hard at the end of his extending lead.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Good photoshopping skills