Tuesday, 1 May 2012
The Coastal Path at Criccieth
It was overcast this morning in Criccieth as I tackled the Wales Coast Path as it runs along the beach at Criccieth and then turns inland along the Dwyfor River to the main road at Llanystumdwy. With this path there is something different around each corner and I came across some interesting planters as I tramped along the pebble beach towards the town.
Criccieth is dominated by its castle which even in ruins is an imposing structure.
In the reign of Llywelyn the Great (d 1240) the administrative centre of the commote of Eifionydd was moved here from the old Roman centre of Dolbenmaen. Llewelyn’s Castle forms the inner ward of the present complex. The D shaped towers were a striking innovation and speak of a family dynasty on the rise. It was regularly used by the Princes to imprison enemies and it became the headquarters of Llewelyan ap Grufudd. Before Caernarfon was built it was expected to be the principal seat of government and a small borough developed at the base of the rock. Hywel y Fawr (of the axe) was made constable of the Castle for his bravery at the Battle of Poitiers in 1346 when he chopped off the head of the French King’s horse with a single blow. In 1404 the Castle was captured and burnt by Owain Glyndwr (scorch marks can still be seen on the walls) and the town and Castle decayed until the coming of the Cambrian Railway in 1867 opening the area up for Victorian tourism. The town is also the original home of Cadwalader’s Ice Cream and run by the family of that name 1945 to 1986 when it was sold to other local businessmen who opened a local production factory and created a chain of Ice Cream Parlours as far away as Cardiff Bay.
I walked through in the morning but actually the early evening is an enchanting time as the sun goes down in the west. I came across this lovely poem in Welsh by J. Glyn Davies.
Heulwen ar hyd y glennydd - a haul hwyr,
A'i liw ar y mynydd;
Felly Llyn ar derfyn dydd,
Lle i enaid gael llonydd
J. Glyn Davies
Translation is always difficult but I think this captures it well:
Sunshine along the shores - a late sun,
Colouring the mountain;
Like Llyn at day's end,
A place to rest the soul.
The path goes along the promenade on the west beach and then cuts through the sand dunes on its way to the mouth of the river Dwyfor.
This can be a boggy area but the council have provided some new board walks which will prove to be very useful in wet weather.
There are some nice trails back to the main road if you want to short cut this route. I walked on alongside the river through farmland and some new born lambs - surprisingly late for this part of the world to be born in late April.