Archive for January, 2010

Nestled within Snowdonia National Park Wales is a small little village that thousands are drawn to every year. In a deep valley surrounded by hills and mountains sits Beddgelert.

The literal translation of the name is Gelert’s Grave. Although this may in fact be a mistranslation and the origin of the name is somewhat murky, possibly relating to a seventh century saint known as Gelert or Celert. The most popular belief comes from a 19th century tale, the story of Prince Llewelyn and his faithful hound Gelert.

The tale, which can be read on a large piece of slate, speaks of the day Prince Llewelyn left on a hunting trip leaving behind his beloved son and his favourite hound Gelert, whom for some reason he couldn’t find. When he returned from the hunt he found the door of his house opened and to his horror he discovered the babies crib covered in blood with the swaddling ripped.

From a corner happily bounded Gelert whom was also covered in blood, believing that his favoured hound had killed his son he drew his blade and slew Gelert. As the dog howled his final breath his howls were responded to by cries from the baby.

Investigating the Prince discovered the baby safe and unharmed, a body of a wolf laying near by.

Realising he had jumped to the wrong conclusion he became overwhelmed with grief and buried Gelert in his favourite place.

It may be only a story, but it is one that draws people to the village over and over. However from one village many stories can develop and Beddgelert is also famous for being the home of the creator of the endearing bear Rupert. Many of the paintings used in the cartoons were based on the mountains all around the village and trails can be taken to visit those areas.

More about the area can be found here: http://www.beddgelerttourism.com/gelert/

If you ever get the chance to go to Snowdonia, make sure to stop by!


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For my post this month I thought I’d share some pictures* of that most British of pastimes, the New Year Hunt. Traditionally, the hunting season runs from November to April, with Boxing Day or New Year being one of the calendar highlights.

Fox hunting has been illegal in the UK (but not in Northern Ireland) since an Act of Parliament in 2004. The Act has been hotly protested by the pro-hunt lobby—indeed, Otis Ferry, son of the Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry, wrote an article in the Sunday Times on the subject last week, while the anti-hunt lobby claims that, since the ban, more foxes are slaughtered by illegal hunting than ever before.

Hunts now follow a false scent trail (called drag hunting) and are (meant to be) strictly monitored. While I love foxes, I also love tradition, so for me at least it’s wonderful to be able to see a hunt, even a false one.

The arrival of the hounds, accompanied by the Whipper-In (on the white horse) and the Master of the Hounds (red coat, brown horse).


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