Last week I realised that it was exactly a year ago that I completed my Welsh Castle Quest, and I’ve been looking back through that epic journey and all the adventure and discovery it entailed. After the Quest, we stayed on in Wales for a week’s break and, inevitably in this ‘land of castles’, we found a few more. But those we visited during our wind-down week were no great English fortresses born of Edward I’s Welsh Wars, but more modest castles built by the earlier, native princes of Wales. One in particular jumped out from my trawl through the photos for several reasons: it’s in a spectacular setting, it had a walk-on part in the Welsh Wars and it was built by one of greatest Welsh rulers of the middle ages.
This was the first day of our post-Quest holiday, and we’d actually set out to explore the magnificent mountains. But as we drove through Snowdonia on the A470, I caught sight of a handsome tower in such a commanding position I just had to investigate. Pulling into a car park, we realised that we’d stumbled across Dolwyddelan, one of the most impressive Welsh castles built by the native princes. The castle sits proudly in its rock-cut ditch atop a high ridge, and access to it entails a climb up the hill on foot, so realising that we’d already spent two weeks on a castle quest I gallantly offered to forego a visit and press on into the mountains. Luckily though, everyone felt this intriguing edifice was too good an opportunity to miss, so we set off.
For the rest of the story see The Little Welsh Castle of a Great Welsh Prince by Alli Templeton