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We covered a lot of ground today!

Our first stop today was the castle at Beaumaris, on the Island of Anglesey. To get to Anglesey you have the choice of two bridges - one built in 1826 and the other built in 1850. We ended up taking both today.

Beaumaris Castle was deserted, we had it all to ourselves.

1Beaumaris

4Beaumarisatmospheric

3Beaumaris innercourt

All the castles in Wales have been somewhat mysterious and intriguing, this one particularly so. Partly because they are so deserted, and partly because of the birds. Pigeons and seagulls have taken over all the little nooks and crannies of the stonework, so when you climb through the passages, up the towers, and through the halls, you are serenaded by the low, haunting cooing of nesting pigeons. Seagulls too - in fact several times now we have come across a nest with an egg in it, once on top of a tower where a seagull stood in front of the nest and screamed at us until we left. They seem accustomed to having these abandoned ruins to themselves.

2BeaumarisBirds

After Beaumaris we searched out Bryn Celli Dhu, a neolithic burial chamber thought to date from 5000 years ago (3000 BC). To find it we had to go down a lonely country road, park and then walk maybe 3/4 of a mile down a path through some cow and sheep fields. We were rewarded with what is apparently one of the more intact neolithic burial sites in the UK, which you can still walk inside.

5BurialChamber

6BrynCelliDhu

This is the view from inside the chamber:
7InsideChamber

After that we headed into Snowdonia National Park, on our way to Harlech. Snowdonia is beautiful, but we didn't stop to take any pictures because the driving was, frankly, very stressful. The roads are extremely narrow, only one lane in places, and they are bordered on each side by stone walls. There are many places where passing another car requires one of them to stop at a wider spot. The stone walls placed right on the lane edge don't really help the confidence either, although so far we have escaped with only a single mirror-crashing incident (doodly dooo...nothing to see here...move along citizen). Anyway, we stopped for lunch in an adorable little town called Beddgelert, and as we ate snug in a pub a torrential storm front moved in - rain and wind and sideways rain. We stepped back out into the storm and continued on to Harlech to see Harlech Castle and the Men of Harlech. We quickly discovered why the Men of Harlech were so hardy, as the storm had truly moved in at that point and Harlech seemed to be ground zero. As we walked to the castle the wind nearly knocked us off our feet. I have very few pictures of Harlech Castle as I was afraid the wind would whip my phone straight out of my hands. The castle staff had closed off access to the towers and the walks along the top of the walls due to the danger posed by the gales.

8Harlech

What you can't see in these pictures due to my bad camera is that Harlech Castle is right on the coast and the ocean laps at its edge. Through these portals in the back wall I could see the surf, whipped into a frenzy by the winds.

HarlechOcean

It is a beautiful setting and I suspect that on a better weather day it would be spectacular.

9HarlechInsideCorner

After braving the gales as long as we could we made our way back up into town and rewarded ourselves with Welsh Afternoon Tea, which is tea with scones and Bara Brith. Delicious.

We headed back to our hotel as the storm raged, and saw this on a hill beside the road, Dolwyddelan Castle:

10Dolwyddelan

We pulled into the parking lot to head up and check it out but the rain was actually coming at us sideways like little needles on our faces so we decided to skip this one. After a rest and reading break back in our cottage we headed into Llandudno for dinner. Somehow it's now 10:30pm and I'm exhausted. To bed, now, to listen to the storm lashing our roof and windows!

Tomorrow we leave our lodgings in North Wales and head for Pembrokeshire!
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