Gavin's Adventures on the Mystical Island of Britain -- Part 30

A list of the adventures.

The Mound in the Dark Grove

I headed northeast from Caernarfon and found a bridge, known as the Menai Bridge, that crossed from the mainland to the Isle of Anglesey. I had heard of Anglesey before, and could not have left Britain without seeing it. The island is the most fertile area in the mountainous Snowdonia region, and therefore has been constantly occupied since the Stone Age. It was once the base of the Druids, until it was cleaned out by the Roman legions, who, in an attempt to wipe out the Druids' political power, cut down the sacred groves of trees. Nevertheless, many ancient and holy places remain, as I soon saw for myself.

Though it was not actually raining, the sky was dark and lowering, and waves lashed the bridge as I crossed. When I reached the island, I headed inland and was soon directed to one of the ancient wonders. It is called Bryn Celli Ddu, The Mound In The Dark Grove. A round green mound with a stone circle around it, it has a dark doorway on either side framed by a pair of tall stone pillars. It was so perfectly round and felt so old that I found it one of the most impressive cairns I had seen in Britain.

The mound is surrounded by a ring of stones and the remains of a ditch, long ago filled in. The ring extends some distance from the mound, but I later found out that the original Neolithic mound was about 60 feet across, and the stones were at its edge. The mound which remains today has been restored after careful excavation just after the turn of the century, and has left the innermost chamber exposed.

Iron bars prevented me from going inside, but I peered through the doorways at both ends and saw that within, the walls had been decorated and carved. From the entrance I could just make out a shelf running, it seemed, the length of the passage towards the inner chamber. Perhaps this once held sacred items during some long-forgotten cermonies. At the end of the passage lies the inner chamber, which now is only visible from the other side of the mound. In the centre stands a tall carved stone pillar. Perhaps this monument is not a burial mound at all, but a place of worship.

As I left Bryn Celli Ddu and headed back to my wagon, I noticed a standing stone in the adjacent field. Cattle grazed all around it, as if it were a natural part of their landscape. I admired it from a distance, but the farmer had not marked a path, and I did not want to disturb his herd.

After travelling a few miles along the coast, I arrived in Beaumaris, a beautiful town built around Beaumaris Castle, which I wanted to see. The town extends along the beach and around a harbour. Many of the buildings here are very old. In fact, one of the houses is marked as the oldest in all Wales! And another is marked as the oldest in all Britain!

I tried to get a room at an old black-beamed inn known as the Bishopsgate House Hotel. The main building was full, but I was directed to "the annex". The annex was a separate building about a block from the main hotel. When I arrived there, a kind women let me in, explaining that she was waiting for her child to return from school. I think the hotel actually only owns the top two rooms, and the rest belong to local residents. I had a beautiful view of the sea from my window. Later that night, that view would lead me to an adventure...

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- The previous adventure: Castles on the Welsh Coast.
- The next adventure: Rescue at Beaumaris Castle.
- Return to Grannus' circle.
- Go back to the front gate.

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