A Visit to Dinas Bran

The other day I felt the call of the high places, the ancient places of our land. The need to be somewhere high up in the mountains of North Wales.
I am lucky enough, as a druid, to be able to walk in the magical landscape of the Mabinogion , to walk in the places ‘ they’ walked. Not only is this the land of the Mabinogion, but also of the Holly Grail.
My journey took me to Dinas Bran, the castle that stands towering above Llangollen in North Wales. It is, apparently, one of the last known resting places of the Grail and also linked to stories of Gwyn Ap Nudd , some say the gates of Annwn are somewhere below the castle.
We parked in Llangollen town centre and made our walk (via the Oggy- a type of pasty – shop) up to the castle. The walk is not far, only a mile or so – but it’s steep and gets steeper the higher you go. The walk is wonderful but it’s good to stop along the way to catch your breath and gaze at the ever widening views and to greet other walkers on the path, perhaps that in itself is a little life message?
Once at the top the views are spectacular.

I simply stood and gazed at the splendour of North Wales laid out before me, the sun gilded valley and the wave like mountains stepping away into the cold blue distance.
Ravens called and flew below us, their powerful wings easily beating them through the vast spaces above the mountains… My dreaming mind going with them.

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This to me is being a druid.
To have this connection with this, my land.
To know the earth song here and stories of the gods and the people.
To touch these ancient places and listen and feel the threads of energy and life that run through them.
I lay in the short sheep cropped turf for a while and just listened to the silence, but it was never silent, the song was there all the time, the bird songs, the ravens call, the sound of the wind sighing around the broken tooth like structures of the decaying castle walls behind me , the bleating of sheep and in the far distance, in the valley bellow me the sound of children’s shrill voices and behind all of that the dull roar of the River Dee.
And as I stared up into the high blue arching winter sky I thought that those sounds have never changed, the men who first built that castle would have heard the very same sounds I was listening too, they too saw the same view , the same mountains and they lived under the same sky as me nearly a thousand years ago.
And so the threads of the past touched the threads of my life in the now and wove silently together to continue on into the future.

Before we made the slow climb down, back amongst the life and bustle of Llangollen , we created an Awen from the loose stones on a little bank of grass, that other people have left their names and messages on – people leaving their small mark on a great mountain, adding their names to the thread of the story song the winds sing over the Vale of Llangollen.  /|\

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