The Red Dragon
There is a famous story associated with Dinas Emrys that would have been familiar at the time of the princes, through contemporary and earlier Welsh literature. According to this legend, it was at Dinas Emrys – literally ‘The Fort of Emrys’ – that the enduring symbol of Wales, the red dragon, first emerged. Dinas Emrys is also said to be where one of the greatest figures of British legend made his first entrance onto the mythic stage.
The story goes that Vortigern, a powerful ruler of Britain in the 5th century AD, was making a stand against Anglo-Saxon invaders. He sought to build a stronghold on this strategic hill. Each day he set his builders to work, but each morning they woke to find piles of rubble lying where the newly built walls had stood. Vortigern’s magician advisors suggested a solution: he must sacrifice ‘a fatherless boy’ and sprinkle his blood on the site where he wished to build.
An appropriate boy was quickly found. Before his blood could be shed, however, he convinced Vortigern that his problems lay underground. Beneath the hill, he said, was a lake in which there were two dragons. Digging proved the boy right and, when they were released, the two dragons – one red, one white – fought each other. The red dragon was eventually victorious, and this symbolic defeat of the Saxons by the Britons is commemorated on the Welsh flag to this day.
Vortigern named the castle that he finally built after the boy who had advised him. He was called Myrddin Emrys – but today we know him as Merlin, the great magician and advisor of King Arthur.
National Trust Craflwyn Sherpa Bus Timetable Welsh Highland Railway
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
- Picnic Area
Open all year round
1 mile north-east of Beddgelert on the A498
16 miles from Betws y Coed railway station. The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway stops in Beddgelert on most days between 1st March and 31st October. See http://www.whr.co.uk/ for more information.
The Sherpa Bus Service goes through Nantgwynant. This is the service that shuttles around the base of Snowdon, connecting all six main footpaths and the surrounding villages. Timetables available at http://www.gwynedd.gov.uk/gwy_doc.asp?cat=2567&doc=25961&language=1&p=1&c=1
1 mile from Beddgelert on the A498
The site is 1 mile from Beddgelert on the A498. It is a steep 45 minute walk to the top.
Medium. Steep and slippery in places. Walking boots required. Dogs allowed on a lead.
Access is from the National Trust car park at the adjacent Craflwyn Hall, where there is also a viewpoint to Dinas Emrys. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/craflwyn-and-beddgelert
National Trust Craflwyn
- Craflwyn, Beddgelert, LL55 4NG