This morning we woke up and decided to do some hiking. So we headed up the big hill to Castell Dinas Brân. Dating from the 1260-1277, it was a burned down by the invading army of Edward I, and was abandoned. It was a challenging hike with some magnificent views from the top of Langollen and the surrounding valley.
Once we came back down, we picked up Lesley and headed to Horseshoe Falls. This is where 12 million gallons of water from the River Dee, via a weir that was built in 1808, to create a pool of water to enter the canal via a meter house. The water was very cold, very clear, unlike the actual canal, and yet there were people are swimming in it. Crazy! Although my sister-in-law, Kim, would have LOVED it. We also made our way up to the small church that was being decorated for a wedding the next day and had a wander around the cemetery. On our way back, we encountered a narrowboat with some tourists being pulled by a draught horse. This is how the narrowboats used to be moved from point to point.
One of my goals was to have high tea while everyone was in the UK. London proved to be impossible as all the recommended establishments were booked out for the season. But, I did find a cute restaurant that would provide high tea for us. SCORE! We had the traditional Welsh version, which was absolutely amazing: sandwiches, some empanada looking things, scones with cream and jam, and the deserts. Wow! A welcome break after our 5 miles of hiking this morning.
Debbie found this very interesting place, Plas Newydd, that had a scandalous beginning. Evidently, in 1780 Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby ran away from Ireland and the social pressure of conventional marriage and bought a house together. They found scraps of paneling from various churches and used them to line all their walls. It’s quite ornate, for sure. They had notable visitors such as Sir Walter Scott, William Woodsworth (who wrote a sonnet about them “To the Lady E.B and the Hon. Miss P”), Lord Byron, and so on. It also had a lovely garden to wander around in.
We headed back down the hill from Plas Nweydd to a little restaurant on the river behind the ‘little card shop next to the bridge over the river’, called The Corn Mill. It made flour for over 700 years until 1972. It sat vacant and in very bad shape until some entrepreneurial spirits decided to make it into a pub/restaurant. You can imagine all the committees they had to wade through to finally get it done. We spent a nice evening sharing a table with a couple and their toddler before heading back to the boat. Aimee, Rhonda, and Debbie has some drinks and political discussions with the neighbors. Lesley, Michelle, and I hung out in the boat and had deep discussions about life.
The next morning before we left Llangollen, we decided to take a train ride up to the next town to see what that was all about. It was listed as one of the top things to do. We felt like we were in a Harry Potter movie as the train was quite old, but very cool. It was a lovely trip up the River Dees to a very nondescript stop and return. If I was a small child it would be thrilling.
We walked back to the marina via the Chain Bridge which was a historic bridge linking the Llangollen Railway and the canal. We did make one more stop along the way into the Motor Museum. This was much more interesting that any of us though. It was a huge junk pile of cars and motorcycles and lots of “Classic Spares” to repair them with, in addition to old phones, bicycles, stuffed animals, and various other oddities. Several of the cars were “the only known model remaining”, or “only one of two in existence”. We spent far longer in there than any of us expected.
All in all, Llangollen is a very cute town with tons of things to do and see. I would recommend spending several nights there.