Sunrise from a Welsh castle


Combine a sunrise with autumn mist, a Welsh Castle and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOONB) and the results are best illustrated with photographs. My mere words could not possibly do the scenes created justice.  Even photos struggle to adequately capture one of autumn’s special treats. This short photo essay is of a recent sunrise above in the Vale of Llangollen. It gives a flavour of what awaits anyone climbing up to Dinas Bran Castle as the sun rises following a chilly autumn night.

Climbing Dinas Bran

Almost at the castle
Dinas Bran
 sits atop a conical hill above the town of Llangollen in North Wales. The present castle is believed to have been built for Gruffydd II ap Madog, lord of Fadog Powys around 1260, though it only survived intact for about two decades. It is now a ruin with a surplus of  enchanting views and legends.

A river of mist flows down the valley

View up the valley


View of castle from across moat

Dinas Bran can be reached by footpath from the town of Llangollen. There is also a footpath from the East side starting near the Panorama Drive. At about 300m (1000 feet) elevation, it is not too difficult a walk to the top, but is guaranteed to get your pulse racing if you are unfit, or happen to make the ascent on a morning like the one in this post.

One more view and it’s time to descend as the mist is starting to clear.
Vale of Llangollen

John Williams can often be found undertaking sustainable travel or snowboarding; usually while toting a compact camera. You can follow him at @Eurapart and find out more at more articles by John on the VisitBritain Super Blog. (All of the images in this article were taken by John Williams using the compact camera mentioned earlier.)

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12 Responses to “Sunrise from a Welsh castle”

  1. Jane @ EarthAppleJane
    October 15, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Magical photos of what must be a perfectly beautiful place to visit in spite of that walk, or maybe because of it!

  2. John Williams
    October 15, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Thank you Jane, yes I have visited there in all weathers. Sun, wind, rain and deep snow. The autumn rivers of mist at sunrise is one of the best spectacles though.

  3. Liza Jane
    October 16, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    Went to this spot about 6 years ago..absolutely stunning place,hard climb though!

  4. John Williams
    October 16, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    @Liza Jane, I think it is only a hard climb because everyone can see the views getting better as they ascend and rush to get to the top. It is just a matter of keeping to your natural pace and shortening your stride.
    Do you have plans to return?

  5. Stephanie
    October 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Awesome photos! I have been to Llangollen many times and I never fail to climb up to Dinas Bran, somehow this place is very special to me. These photos almost brought tears to my eyes as I can only too well imagine what it must have been like to be there. I really have to go back! Thank you!

    • John Williams
      October 26, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Thank you Stephanie it is special to me as well.

  6. John Redman
    October 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Beautiful photo’s of a beautiful place… wish I was there.

    • John Williams
      October 26, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      John, the photos don’t capture the full beauty of the vistas or the feeling you get being the first person to climb up there in the morning. Have you visited the castle?

  7. Lori
    May 4, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    These HDR photos are indeed really beautiful. It looks like an amazing place to be and to enjoy nature :)

  8. Selectiveretreats
    June 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    What exceptional photo captures. As John said “the photos don’t capture the full beauty of the vistas or the feeling you get being the first person to climb up there in the morning…..” I can image how extraordinary it feel to visit in person and take in the natural ambiance of the area and see the castle ruins. Wales is truly “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOONB)”.

    Selective Retreats

  9. Bob Davies
    January 8, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    Wonderful to see these pics!

    In 2002 I spent the night in the ruins of Dinas Bran so I could see the sun rise over my grandfather’s village of Froncysyllte. Hope to do so again in a year or two.

    We’ve passed on the legend of Myfanwy to our daughter, and of course grew up believing that Dinas Bran was the Fisher King’s Castle. Gwynhyfar’s Well is just around the corner, you know!




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    [...] companion post to Sunrise from a Welsh Castle on the VisitBritain SuperBlog. Look it up for more photos of misty valleys at sunrise. The [...]

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