Welcome to the personal website of Michael Gorey. I'm a Bundaberg-based communications professional interested in photography, reading, history, politics and travel.
I visited Castell Dinas Bran in April 2014. It's a haunting ruin above the town of Llangollen in Denbighshire, Wales.
Dinas Bran was built on the site of an Iron Age fort and was the stronghold of Welsh princes before English forces overran them in 1282. The name translates as "crow castle" or "hill of the crow".
It's indeed a challenging walk from below to the ramparts and would have deterred many attackers.
Wikipedia says the castle visible today was probably built by Gruffydd II ap Madog son of Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor sometime in the 1260s. At the time Gruffydd II ap Madog was an ally of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd Prince of Wales, with Powys acting as a buffer state between Llywelyn's heartland of Gwynedd and England.
Beyond the northern wall a steep natural slope falls sharply several hundred feet whilst the southern and eastern walls are defended by a 20-foot ditch. The Keep stands at the south-eastern corner, where the ditch is deepest, and looks out towards the River Dee.
The Great Hall is on the castle's southern side, where some of the more visible remains still stand.
I approached alone on a misty morning after leaving Llangollen while completing the 285km Offa's Dyke Path from Chepstow to Prestatyn. The fog meant I had little sense of the landscape, except the height I ascended.
The English invaders felt no need to retain the castle and its ruins have stood for centuries as a reminder of bygone conflicts.