Beddgelert Tourist Guide

Introduction

Beddgelert is a village in Gwynedd, North Wales, lying in Snowdonia. It is rumoured to be named after the legendary hound Gelert. The name is Welsh for "Gelert's grave".

The so-called grave is now a tourist attraction, but there is no truth in the Gelert legend, which was fostered by local innkeeper David Prichard during the 19th century. The village is probably named after an early Christian missionary and leader called Celert (or Cilert) who settled here early in the 8th century. The earliest record of the name Beddgelert appears on a document dated 1258, and the name recorded is 'Bekelert'. In a document of 1269 it is recorded as 'Bedkelerd'.

Picturesque Snowdonian Village
The village is a significant tourist attraction, its picturesque bridge crossing the river Colwyn just upstream of its confluence with the river Glaslyn. It is also the nearest village to the scenic Glaslyn gorge, an area of tumultuous river running between steep wooded hills. Much of the area is however becoming invaded by the alien plant, Rhododendron ponticum which provides a covering of pink blossom in May and June, but which is slowly blanketing out the native flora. To this end attempts have been made to control its spread by cutting and burning.

Beddgelert has a range of hotels and guesthouse, cafes, restaurants and pubs. The car-park in the village provides the easiest access route for climbing Moel Hebog, the mountain which directly overlooks the village. Other local attractions include the Sygun Copper Mine. The Welsh Highland Railway is currently rebuilding its former railway line into Beddgelert, and the village will gain its own railway station once more in 2009, which will link Beddgelert with Caernarfon to the north and Porthmadog to the south.

The village is also linked with the Rupert the Bear stories, as Alfred Bestall wrote and illustrated some of the stories whilst he lived in the village, in a cottage at the foot of Mynydd Sygun.

Myths and Legends
Llywelyn was very fond of hunting and in the summer he lived in a hunting lodge at the foot of Snowdon. Although he had many dogs, his favourite was Gelert, because not only was he fearless in the hunt he was also a loyal friend and companion at home. One day Llewelyn and his wife went out hunting, leaving their baby son with a nurse and a servant to look after him. The nurse and the servant went for a walk in the mountains leaving the baby alone and unprotected.

Llewelyn was absorbed in his hunting, but after a while he noticed that Gelert isn't with the pack. The Prince knew something was wrong as Gelert was always at the front of the pack. He reasoned that the only place Gelert would go is back to the lodge, so he called off the hunt and headed back home.

As the party dismounted, Gelert came running out of the lodge towards his master, covered in blood and wagging his tail. The Princess, calling her child's name, fainted. Llewelyn rushed into the baby's room to find the cradle overturned, the bloodstained bedclothes thrown all over the floor - and no sign of his son.

Filled with anger and grief he drew his sword and ran Gelert through. As the dog died, his whimpers and his cries were answered by the sound of a baby crying from behind the overturned cradle. When Llewelyn pulled aside the cradle he found his son unharmed and the body of a huge wolf next to him. Gelert had in fact killed the wolf as it tried to attack Llewelyn's son.

Filled with remorse, Llewelyn buried Gelert in a meadow nearby and marked his grave with a cairn of stones. The village of Beddgelert (Gelert's grave) owes its name to this site.

Tourist Information Centre
Address:
Snowdonia National Park Information Centre,
Canolfan Hebog, Beddgelert,
Gwynedd. LL55 4YD

Telephone: 01766 890615
Fax: 01766 890615
E-mail: TIC.Beddgelert@eryri-npa.gov.uk


A little reminder to all visitors...
If travelling to Snowdonia or taking a short break in North Wales, good preparation will ensure your holiday is not disrupted by forgetting crucial equipment. Whether it be gearing up for your adventures in the mountains or having a baby travelling with you - good planning will ensure more time spent safely enjoying everything North Wales has to offer. Don't wait for that 'white-out' on the Carneddau before realising you've forgotten a map and compass...make a check list before you go !



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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015