Featured Photo – Castell Dinas Bran


Sunset at Castell Dinas Bran

Sunset at Castell Dinas Bran

What does it mean to be a photographer? It means sitting on a cold Welsh hilltop at well past dinnertime waiting to catch the last flash of sunlight over the ruins of an ancient castle. Castell Dinas Bran was built on the site of an Iron Age hill fort, or so archaeologists tell us. Local folklore contends that Faeries inhabit the hill, making it quite a busy neighbourhood for the little folk.

The ruins here pictured were build in the 13th century by the king of Powys, Gruffud ap Madog, during a civil war against his brothers. Before the end of the century, the castle was besieged by English (Norman) forces and destroyed by the defeated Welsh defenders, never to be rebuilt.

No surprise then, that fairy tales and photographers have surrounded this hilltop in the 800 years since the castle was abandoned. It is variously said to be the home of King Bran the Blessed and defended by the giant Gogmagog, hiding place of the Holy Grail, or just haunted. Haunting as it can be on a cold night, I hope this photo brings at once a sense of mystery and peace.

The path to the castle is steep, a characteristic it shares with almost every castle in the area, but the climb is well worth it for the views over the Dee Valley and he chance to try and spot other hilltop ruins in the area.

Castell Dinas Bran is a small ruin, almost archetypal of this part of Wales. You don’t go just for the castle, you go for the journey through the rugged landscape and the sense of history you can find at the crest of the hill.

This photograph is from my Wales Fine Art Prints Gallery. Print enquiries for this photo can be made here.