The great thing about history is that there is seemingly no end to it. Each country has its own bountiful source with more stories than any one one person could know. There are so many that we know definitely took place yet still for some reason the ones that stay with us are those that are myths and legends, stories told and changed over years and years. On the British Isles there is arguably none more adored than the legend of King Arthur and the court of Camelot.
The story of King Arthur is something of an epic, encompassing not just his life but the many other well known characters of the tales such as his father King Uther, the wizard Merlin, his wife Guinevere and the infamous Knights of the Round Table. It’s a story that takes place all over the United Kingdom and as time has gone on the stories have been spread even further. In truth nobody even knows if he existed, this of course poses an immediate issue when trying to find the exact setting for each story, however here are a few places that over time have become intrinsically linked to the legend.
The Birth of a Legend
Dinas Emyrs – Before Arthur came to be there was Merlin. Merlin was key in all events that lead to both the arrival and demise of the beloved King, but where does his tale begin? Well one thing most agree on is that Merlin came from the area of Britain now known as Wales, in fact the story in which we meet him sets up the legend not only of King Arthur but of the country itself.
The story begins with the warlord Vortigern, he has fled after a battle with the Anglo-Saxons to the hill fort of Dinas Emrys with his army. Work began immediately improving the fort and attempting to erect new towers and other defenses, though each day they returned to the site they would find their work reduced to rubble. Vortigern was advised that there was a boy that lived nearby that was not conceived by a mortal man, he was to find him and spill his blood on the land in order to stop these destructive tremors. The boy was fetched and he was none other than Merlin himself, in a bid to spare his own neck he told Vortigern of another way to end these supernatural forces. He explained that below the earth two dragons battled throughout the night, shaking the earth itself. Work began in order to dig these creatures up and low and behold there they were, a white and red dragon. After a fearsome battle the red dragon won and peace was restored. This is the same red dragon that is shown on the welsh flag today.
Sitting just below the great Mt Snowdon, Dinas Emrys is a truly beautiful place to visit hosting some of the finest views in Wales, showing off it’s luscious, rolling green landscapes and it’s beautiful lakes, the walk won’t leave you disappointed. There’s also a small visitors centre below that will fill you in on further details of the area and is a great place to start your walk.