Visit Beddgelert and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Beddgelert, Gwynedd, has charm and magnificent scenery. Yet it is associated with an 18th century ballad that casts a slur on one of the noblest men in Welsh history. The too-familiar story goes that Prince Llywelyn the Great, having left his hound Gelert to guard his infant son, returned from the chase to find the animal covered with gore. In the panic of the moment he assumed that it had eaten the child, and he slew it in revenge. The unfortunate hound did not, apparently, have time to explain that it had saved the child from a wolf. Thus was the name Bedd Gelert (Gelert's Grave) explained.
The story is typical of the late 18th century both in its unreality and its commercial inspiration. MacPherson's Ossian, which romantically distorted Gaelic traditions in Scotland, began a series of mishandlings of Celtic literature from which it is barely recovering today. Before 1798, the tale about Llywelyn was unknown in the village. It seems to have been originated by one David Prichard, who migrated from South Wales to become the first landlord of the Royal Goat Inn at Beddgelert. He was interested in folklore, and he attached this tale to the village for a reason not unconnected with his trade. Helped by the parish clerk and some other person unnamed, he supported the fiction with a “primitive” cairn that they set up in a meadow close to the church. It was from Prichard that the author of the ballad obtained the detailed history he immortalized.
More probably the name was given by a St Kelert in that form to the village, which kept it until Prichard changed the spelling and largely obliterated the history. Perhaps one of Wales's many champions of faith in the Age of Saints, Kelert was held in memory by a priory of the Augustinians, provided for pilgrims to Bardsey and Ireland. The priory is now represented by the church at Beddgelert.
South West of the village stands Mod Hebog (Hawk Hill, 2,566 ft), which is, however, more easily reached from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant on the road from Dolbenmaen; the eastern side of the mountain is a toothed escarpment difficult to climb. The approach from the Royal Goat Hotel at Beddgelert is the shortest; but the Llanfihangel route can be recommended for the sight it gives of the lake Cwmystradllyn, lying like a shale of blue slate between the heights of Hebog and Moel Ddu. Hebog is a most satisfactory hill to climb, the long ridge that runs in a tumbled scree of rock to Mod Lefn (2,094 ft) giving a wild background to the point known as the Cave of Owain Glyndwr, where the fallen King of Wales is supposed to have hidden when hunted by the English. From this ridge, the Snowdon massif rises as if upon another level of air and holds the whole horizon of the North East with its head.
Beddgelert stands at the confluence of the Gwynant and the Colwyn, and from it the road is short to Llyn Gwynant and the upper stream of the Glaslyn river. Before the Gwynant lake is reached, you pass another one, called Dinas. This is Welsh for a fortified position. and the word seems to relate directly to the Duns that the Romans found used by the British. and that still remain as place-names in England and Scotland. Dinas Emrys (Fort of Emrys) is the name given to the height from which the lake takes its own. It recalls the Arthurian legend invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his romance The History of the Kings of Britain, which he spent ten years in writing and published about A.D. 1140. For the Fort of Emrys is said to have been granted to the great Merlin, called Emrys, by Vortigern, the luckless ruler of Britain who summoned Hengist and Horsa to his aid in the hope of repelling incursions by the Picts and the Scots. The myths into which the history of Britain between A.D. 400 and 600 have collapsed were not in themselves invented by Geoffrey; handlers of history had used them before him. Of the three Merlins who still haunt the imagination from that time, the Emrys seems to have been some commander of imperial forces, or of garrisons that tried to continue the system of Roman control, while the Scots and the Irish Merlins seem to have been junior commanders, in charge respectively of the northern and the western fronts in Britain. At all events the tale of Dinas Emrys impressed local memory deeply enough to impose its name on the mountain and the lake.
Nearby towns: Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Criccieth, Llanberis, Porthmadog
Nearby villages: Betws Garmon, Bryncir, Capel Curig, Dyffryn, Ffestiniog, Garndolbenmaen, Groeslon, Llandecwyn, Llandwrog, Llanfrothen, Llanwnda, Llanystumdwy, Maentwrog, Minffordd, Nantlle, Penrhyndeudreath, Portmeirion, Talsarnau, Tan-y-Bwlch, Tanygrisiau, Trawsfynydd, Tremadog, Waunfawr
Have you decided to visit Beddgelert or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Beddgelert bed and breakfast (a Beddgelert B&B or Beddgelert b and b)
- a Beddgelert guesthouse
- a Beddgelert hotel (or motel)
- a Beddgelert self-catering establishment, or
- other Beddgelert accommodation