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Dolbadarn Castle (Gwynedd; Wales)

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Located near Llanberis in Gwynedd, North Wales.

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      16.09.2011 20:31
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      Not worth going out of your way for!

      Several weeks ago whilst staying in Pwllheli we decided to make a trip to Dolbadarn castle near Caernarfon in wales. I have always been interested in castles and when I found this one after doing some digging on the internet I decided I wanted to give it a visit. The main attraction for me was that it was free, I don't just mean on the basis that I don't have to pay but I have always found free historic sites to be more interesting and mystical supposed to overly priced attractions swathed in tourists and staff. I prefer the feel of a place to be more secluded and off the beaten track; this always makes a place more interesting and mysterious for me. Dolbadarn castle is situated in Llanberis in wales. Actually getting to the castle caused some problems for us, we had used a sat nav but unfortunately it took us half way up a mountain, having to go all the way down to then go back up was rather annoying but arriving at the bottom the way we first started I saw out the corner of my eye a castle in the distance. We had to park up a good way away from the actual foot path at a nearby hotel, I'm not sure if this is actually allowed but there is no other parking nearby. The small and winding footpath takes a good 15 minutes to walk before you are presented with the gated entrance to the castle grounds. I must say at this stage that there is no entrance for wheelchairs or pushchairs as there is unfortunately only one way to enter and this is through a very tight squeezing one person gate. When I first entered and saw the castle for myself rather than on a picture I was not really all that impressed, it really isn't the best looking castle but I was more interested in finding out the history of the castle. There were several other families' there at the same time as us which I wouldn't have expected as we went on a very heavily raining day. When we first entered the site I went looking for a sign or description of some sort describing the history of the castle, I was surprised to find that there wasn't anything of such thing so feeling rather annoyed I continued to look at a stone structure that I knew nothing about. We firstly entered the castle before looking around the rest of the site, there are a set of very interesting looking steps that circle the castle, they lead to a entrance way which is approximately a quarter of the way up the castle structure. This leads to a small, newly looking balcony area which can really only fit a couple of people at a squeeze, from here you can see the entire inside of the castle, which really isn't much, it just looks like an empty tube, you can see directly to the sky from looking up and when looking down you are greeted with a mix of beer bottles and children's (hopefully not adults) scattered confectionary wrappers. Coming off a hole in the wall is a set of other stairs, this immediately got me excited as I love little nooks and crannies such as these, the step however lead to nowhere exciting. There are approximately 10 steps and these don't particularly have a purpose, they don't take you anywhere, they just come to an end. At the top there is a newly looking wooden barrier stopping you from falling out another view point. When we got to this point we found several grown men to be stood here taking pictures, my daughter was eager to get through to take a look but they wouldn't make room for us and simply said, there's nothing really to look at up here. They continued to take pictures and we proceeded back down the stairs. After leaving the castle we walked around the outside, here there are several ruins but as we had no idea what they were it wasn't really all that interesting. I really wish I had more to say but there is so little to see and do at this castle we really did nothing else. We must have spent 2 hours to get to the castle and we spent all of 10minutes whilst we were there. As we were leaving, all in somewhat sombre moods we decided to visit Caernarfon castle half an hour away. That definitely made up for the disappointment! Truthfully I wasn't expecting much from this castle as it is free, but it's usually the little things that count, in this case it was the build-up of little things that made it a disappointment. I am awarding it a generous three stars mainly because of the fact that it is free but I couldn't recommend going out of your way for. If you happen to be passing then it might be worth making a visit for curiosity's sake but it could never compete to the larger and more publicised castles.

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