- Welsh Highland Railway
- River Glaslyn
- Llyn Dinas
- Llyn Gwynant
- Llynnau Mymbyr
- Snowdonia views
- Pont Bethania
- Sygun Copper Mine
- Footpaths all over the place
- Picturesque village
- Gelert’s Grave
- Pont Aberglaslyn
Beddgelert or Bedd Gelert?
The modern explantion for the name has its origins in the legend about Prince Llywelyn and his dog Gelert. The truth of the legend is doubtful, and it was believed to have been fostered by the local inkeeper David Pritchard in the 19th Century. The grave is now a tourist attraction.
Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth spent his summers in a hunting lodge near the foot of Snowdon. Of his many dogs, his favourite was Gelert; a fearless dog that was also a loyal friend and companion. One day Llywelyn and his sife went hunting, leaving their baby son in the charge of a nurse and servant. While the parents were out the nurse and servant went for a walk in the mountains, and the baby was left home alone, unprotected.
Llywelyn noticed that Gelert wasn’t with the pack, which was unusual as he was usually always at the front. Knowing that the only place that Gelert would go was back to the lodge, he called off the hunt and headed for home. As they approached the lodge and dismounted, a blood stained Gelert ran from the lodge to greet his master eagerly.
Llywelyn rushed into the lodge to find his son, the room was a mess, overturned cradle and bloodstained bed linen all over the floor, and no sign of the baby. Enraged and grief stricken, Llywelyn grabbed his sword and ran Gelert through. The dog’s dying cries were answered by a baby’s cries from beneath the overturned cradle.
Llywelyn lifted the cradle and found his son, alive and unharmed beside the body of a large wolf. Gelert had in fact saved the baby, and killed the wolf that sought to attack him.
A remorseful Llywelyn buried his faithful hound in a nearby meadow, marking the site with a cairn of stones. The translation of ‘Bedd Gelert’ is Gelert’s grave. Some said that Llywelyn never smiled again.
The other, less romantic explanation for the name is that the village was more likely named after an 8th Century Christian Missionary called Celert.
Beddgelert is a very picturesque village. The village bridge crosses the River Colwyn, just upstream of the point where the river flows in with the River Glaslyn. Beddgelert is the closest village to the beautiful Glaslyn Gorge (to the North East of the town), and is the starting point for many footpaths up into the mountains, including the easiest access to Moel Hebog that overlooks the village.
Approaching Beddgelert from any direction involves travelling through the beautiful scenery at the very heart of Snowdonia. From the A5 and turning off at Capel Curig, the road passes the interconnected lakes at Llynnau Mymbyr. The view along the lakes, and the reflections of the mountains in the lake make this a must see location.
The road from Mymbyr continues along the Nant Gwynant Pass to the side of Snowdon, past the picturesque Pen Y Gwryd Hotel. Great views of Snowdon and the Snowdon Horseshoe can be photographed from here.
Llyn Gwynant is another popular lake with photographers, a beautiful lake flanked by the mountains and trees.
The road passes Bethania Chapel, built in 1822 on land obtained from the Mostyn Estates. This chapel has been converted into a cafe, and stands close to the start of the Watkin Path up Snowdon.
View from Watking Path by Denis Egan
The next lake along this road is Llyn Dinas. There are paths to walk around the lake, alongside the river and over to Nantmor. There is roadside parking for the lake and paths.
Beddgelert is built along the river bank. There is a stone bridge across the river that offers good views. Stone built houses stand tall along the river edge. Pretty place to walk around and take pictures, and the starting point for walks to the Church and churchyard, Gelert’s grave and along the river bank.
Beddgelert Houses by Brian Mottershead
Gelert’s grave by Brian Mottershead
Moody Graveyard by Carl
Travel through Beddgelert, and along into Aberglaslyn Pass for about a mile to the South, and you will find Pont Aberglaslyn and Nantmor. The bridge at Aberglaslyn offers great views over the river. The National Trust carpark at Nantmor is the starting/ending point for several paths, including the one from Llyn Dinas.
The walks offer stunning views, as well as opportunities to photograph some of the relics of past industry.
The Welsh Highland Railway opened in 1922, from Dinas to Porthmadog. The railway only had a short existence, and was closed in 1937 and the rails requisitioned and removed for War Department use in 1941. The trackbed remained in the ownership of the receiver of the company, and an iron girder bridge survived.
The trackbed, with its three tunnels became a popular path for walkers. The trackbed was closed to walkers in 2000, when the Welsh Highland Railway began their preparation for the rebuilding of the railway. The Railway company and the National Trust have worked to rebuild the fisherman’s path along the river to be used once more by walkers. Relaying the track is progressed well, and by mid October 2007 the track had already passed beyond the tunnels and the embankments near Nantmor.
The WHR offers not only the opportunity to photograph the trains, but also travels through the beautiful scenery, to offer even more photographic opportunities.
There are a few bits of special equipment that might be needed in this area.
- Hiking boots. I would recommend strong footwear, the areas by the lake and roadside are fine, but anywhere that you venture into the hills or on Fisherman’s path would benefit from walking boots.
- Maps or route plans ideal, and basic advice like check weather and be sure that you are properly equipped
- Tripod. Essential if you want to do HDR lake shots, and for the landscape shots (especially in lower light). A lightweight tripod might be better if you are planning on long walks, as the weight of the equipment becomes a factor.
- Extra lens cleaning cloths I always tend to carry cleaning cloths. The weather is unpredictable to say the least.
- Wide angle lens I would take a range of lenses, but think that as wide an angle as possible is a must.
Best time of Year or Day
To state the obvious, each season has its’ own charm. Spring with all the new growth, summer with bright days, golden autumn and bleak winter. I personally really like this area shrouded in mist, but that can never be guaranteed. Mostly I would say that there should be something photogenic any time.
It is possible to get some lovely sunray shots when the sun is low in the sky, and the rays threading between the mountain peaks.
Once more I rely on Carl Jones for night time images such as this Late Night at Llyn Dinas
Beddgelert is served by two main roads; the A4085 and the A498.
From Caernarfon direction follow the A4085
From Capel Curig and A5 follow the A498
From Porthmadog follow the A498
From Penrhyndeudraeth follow the A4085
There are car parks within the village, beside Llyn Dinas, and smaller pull off areas beside Llynnau Mymbyr and Llyn Gwynant. There is a viewpoint (with ample parking above Llyn Gwynant). Nantmor has a National Trust car park.
Public transport The Snowdon Sherpa allows you to easily and economically explore the area, as the site says ‘Sherpa buses enable you to relax, enjoy the scenery, and the challenge of the mountains and the charm of Snowdonia’s towns and villages’.
More images of the Beddgelert area can be seen here