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KA Llangollen Landscapes 4
CREDIT: Kathryn Alkins ARPS

Llangollen Landscape Trip

Moving back to North Wales after many decades in London, Kathryn Alkins was glad of an opportunity to be reintroduced to a part of North Wales and also a chance to meet fellow photographers.

Moving back to North Wales after many decades in London, I was glad of an opportunity to be reintroduced to a part of North Wales and also an opportunity to meet fellow photographers. Llangollen is situated in Denbighshire/ Sir Ddinbych in the Dee valley and is a popular tourist destination being in an AONB with many historic sites nearby. 

After an awful lot of rain and gloom, we were extremely fortunate to have dry weather and some sunshine to enhance the autumn colours and keep us warm. Geraint, our leader, was familiar with the area, his home patch, and had lots of ideas of where to go and provided us with interesting background information.  

We met at the Horseshoe Falls/ Rhaeadr-Y-Bedol, a lovely place on the River Dee. There was a 140m weir built by Telford in 1806 to draw water from the River Dee to supply his canal. I became intrigued by the reflection of an old oak tree in the water and spent time experimenting with different shutter speeds. At home, I combined two images with different shutter speeds to keep the leaves sharp with the slow water. I was so engrossed that I stayed while the others visited a nearby old church Eglwys Sant Llantysilio. 

KA Llangollen Landscapes 3
CREDIT: Kathryn Alkins ARPS
KA Llangollen Landscapes 1
CREDIT: Kathryn Alkins ARPS

We walked along the canal, built in 1805 to transport slate, but used for pleasure craft up to today after an early bankruptcy.  It was a short way to the Chainbridge Hotel and accompanying Chainbridge/Pont Gadwyri, restored in 2015 using some of the original chains from 1818.  

Geraint moved us to Castell Dinas Bran (castle), about 300m above the town and a handy nearby parking spot. The castle was built by Prince Gruffudd ap Madoc in 1260 on the site of a former iron age fort.  Unfortunately, it was destroyed by one of Edward 1’s Knights in 1277 and subsequently fought over leaving the remains suitably “romantic”. Both JWM Turner and R. Wilson painted the castle. The far-reaching views along the Vale of Llangollen, the Dee valley and the Eglwyseg limestone escarpment are impressive. 

KA Llangollen Landscapes 2
CREDIT: Kathryn Alkins ARPS

We then had a totally different experience as we walked across the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO world heritage site, also built by Telford, carrying his canal. We suddenly emerged onto a narrow walkway, plus balustrade above the ground crossing a river with dizzying views to woodland and beyond. We were treated to lots of autumn colour. A nice surprise was a great cafe sited in an old chapel. 

We then walked around the base of the Aqueduct and over a charming, if very narrow, bridge, Pont Cysylltau where I also tried to capture the lovely evening light and not get run over! The Aqueduct viewed from below makes for an arresting sight high above, one of our group had a drone which produced an interesting perspective. 

Everyone appeared very happy at the end of the day and had lots of photos to take home and to savour the experience. 

KA Llangollen Landscapes 5
CREDIT: Kathryn Alkins ARPS