Wales is home to many myths and legends, but a small riverside village south of Snowdon can lay claim to one of the most famous – the brave hound Gellert.
Bedgelert lies between the Colwyn and Glaslin rivers, and legend has it that the village was named after the dog because in Welsh bed means grave.
Gellert is said to have been owned by Llewellyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, who ruled Wales in the early 13th century.
According to legend, Llewellyn had a castle at Bedgelert and he often went hunting in the area. One day he left his dog at home and on his return, Gellert came to visit him, gleeful but covered in blood.
This worried the prince and he went to check on his baby son, but he found only an empty crib with a bed cloth and a floor covered in blood.
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Llewellyn became enraged and put his sword at Gellert, thinking the dog had killed his son, but as Gellert cried out on his last breath, it was answered by a baby cry.
Llewellyn searches and finds his successor safe near the body of a mighty wolf. Realizing that Gellert had killed the hunter and saved his son, the prince was overcome with grief and was told never to smile again. He buried Gellert in the village and placed a stone in tribute.
Bedgelert’s visit today
It is a sad story, but it has little basis in history. Llewellyn was There was a King of Wales at the time, but Gellert’s legend reportedly came to life much later from local businessmen, eager to attract more Snowdonian visitors to the south with a suitably sentimental story.
And it’s worked a treat – visitors now flock to the village and the surrounding hills, and you can even take home a Gellert fridge magnet or postcard from the village shop.
There was really no need for them, as Bedgelert is an idyllic place on its own merit, especially when autumn colors the trees.
The houses, shops and hotels are mainly built of stone and the strength of Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales and England, dominates the landscape to the north.
An easy riverside walk from the center will lead you to a stone marking Gellert’s tomb, with a plaque retelling the legend in English and Welsh.
A little further ahead is a ruined roofless stone hut, and just inside the door is a bronze statue of Gellert’s standing clock. You will notice that the dog’s nose is quite shiny as many visitors rub it for luck.
This is one of several areas in the area that have much more challenging yumps, if you and your dog are happier on the falls.
The Walking Britain website suggests trying 30. https://www.walkingbritain.co.uk/Beddgelert-walks-and-walking
Gellert legend lives on
If Gellert’s story already sounded familiar, it may be because it’s one of the major plot devices in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp — but it’s a mouse, rather than a wolf, who sees that when The tramp is banished until the lady proves her innocence.
The story has also inspired many poets, including WR Spencer who wrote Beth Gellert or Greyhound’s Grave in 1800 and Walter Richard Cassels who wrote Llewellyn In the late 1800s.
Bedgelert is a two-hour drive from Manchester and two and a half hours from Birmingham and there is plenty to explore after rubbing that loyal nose.
is one of the stops in the village Welsh Highland Railway, which operates steam trains with heritage carriages between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. while near sigun The copper mine offers self-guided underground audio tours of the site that has been mined since Roman times.
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