Brân, fortress of the stream

Castell Dinas Brân above Llangollen in Wales is a great historical site (see photo drom Llangollen with the River Dee’s channel below) . The ruins of an Iron Age fortress (built ca. 600 BCE) and the Medieval castle (13th century) can both be seen there. When King Edward I conquered Wales his army led by the Earl of Lincoln (Heny de Lacy) besieged the castle. The Welsh lord of the castle was forced to surrender. The English set the whole castle on fire which burned down to its ruins.

The castle and ruins have long had their own ghosts and spirits. The most popular is Gogmagog, the legendary evil giant who was killed by Payn Peveril, a brave Norman knight. While dying, the giant tells the knight about the great treasures of the castle – treasures that have never been found.

Uk Castell Castle Dinas Bran Historic Tourism

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Potholing in UK’s largest cave

UPDATE: Gaping Gill Winch Meet will be held from 29 May to 4 June 2021.

Have you ever caved?

Gaping Gill in Yorkshire Dales is a unique place for those who love caving i.e. “potholing”. This spot, however, is only accessible two times a year (in May and in August) and is one of the best places for those who are keen on walking – Gaping Gill is only accessible on foot from the village of Clapham.

The chamber and the extensive cave system it is a part of are only accessible to experienced and cave explorers except for the two times, the bank-holidays mentioned above. Two local caving clubs provide a winch to allow members of the public: they are lowered down the shaft on a boatswain’s chair and later winched out again.

Once inside you can just explore the chamber, or the slightly more adventurous can enter some of the easier and closer passages of the 16.6km cave system.

Its main chamber is 130m long, 31m high and 25m wide, the largest cave chamber in Britain – a cathedral would fit inside. Actually, a hot-air balloon-flight was already attempted.

 

Bridge tilts

The grand structure that connects Gateshead and Newscastle over the River Tyne is nicknamed the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge’ because of its shape and the tilting method to let ships pass beneath.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge was opened to the public on 17 September 2001, while Her Majesty the Queen officially opened it on 7 May 2002.

The engines used for the tilting method could run eighth Ford Focus cars. The whole process seen below lasts for four and a half minutes.

Both the design and te lightning of the bridge have been awarded several times, you can find the list of these here.

The self-cleaning method of the bridge works quite simply: when litter is thrown on the pathways, they roll down into a container when bridge lifts.

Feature image crtedit: Kelly McClay

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Inspired by the Industrial Revolution, the first stone was laid in 1795. Ten years later the marvellous structure designed and built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop was opened.

The aqueduct near Wrexham is a World Heritage Site and lies between England and Wales – actually it is the border over the River Dee.

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This structure was built to create a navigable union betwen England and Wales to connect important rivers: Dee, Severn and Mersey. The Wrexham are was active in the Industrial Revolution: coal, iron, brick and tile, mines and work and limekilns made the cana system vital in Britain and especially this northern area.

QUICK FACTS

  • The aqueduct rises to a height of 35 m
  • The ironwork is 3.3m wide, 1.6m deep and 305m long
  • 19 cast iron arches with a 13.6 m span support the bridge
  • Everything was constructed from local stone
  • It holds over 1.5 million lites of water and takes two hours to drain

Photos below by Mike Prince

GR8 to Know

Latin origins: “ductus” – leading, conducting; “aquae” – water; aquae ductus – leading over water

Viaduct: “via” – road; “ductus” – leading, conducting

Offa’s Dyke

Legends tell stories about how the Britons or Celts of these Welsh kingdoms fought against the Saxon invaders. Most of these stories are built upon the Arthur-myth – with the legendary king and his Knights of the Round Table, his sword the Excalibur and his prophet wizard, Merlin.
In reality, Saxon kingdoms were at constant fight with the Britons and it resulted in Offa’s Dyke – an earthwork legendarily ordered to create by Mercia’s king Offa to mark a boundary between the Kingdom of Powys and of Mercia.

Offa’s Dyke today offers a great Nordic walking opportunity. Part of the Nation Trail, the path shows the beauty of the Welsh landscape in about 180 kilometres.

The Tower of London – Ceremony of the Keys

‘Halt, who comes there?’
‘The Keys.’
‘Whose keys?’
‘Queen Elizabeth’s Keys.’
‘Pass then, all’s well.’

The above dialogue can be heard daily at around 8 p.m. by those who visit The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. The event is supervised by the Yeoman Warders.

GR8 to Know
Admission is free but you must book a “ticket” online in advance. Be quick – tickets are usually booked in a year’s advance.

More about The Tower of London here and here

Globe Theatre

Associated with William Shakespeare, the theatre’s replica building in London’s Bankside is a popular tourist attraction. If you travel with a group, don’t miss the interactive extra lessons on Shakespeare’s most well-known plays.
Tickets for summer performances are available from 5 – 6 GBP.

GR8 to Know
The original Globe caught fire several times. Once it was the staff’s own fault: a gun was used to create real sound effects but the ball fell on the thatched roof and the whole building burnt down completely.

The British Museum

One of the world’s largest and oldest museums to introduce the history of mankind with its collection of about 8,000,000 items. Entrance is free to The British, the most visited museum in the U.K. Top attractions include the Ancient Egyptian mummies, The Rosetta Stone, Greek and Roman memorabilia from the Ancient Times and a huge collection of Asian, African and American items. The most important and famous artefacts sum up to 4,000.

GR8 to Know
The museum’s great library had several “celebrities” who visited there on a regular basis, e.g. Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Bram Stoker. Lenin also used to go to this library; he used an alias: Jacob Richter.

GR8 Chunnel

The Channel Tunnel was opened to the public on 22/12/1994 (however, the service tunnel was opened four years before).

Did you know?
– The total cost of the Channel Tunnel was 4.65 billion GBP (80% more than planned)

– The mass of limestone, other stones and the soil removed from undergrund was enough to build a hill near Dover called Samphire Hoe (samphire: a European plant which grows on rocks and cliffs by the sea, its leaves are often eaten)

– Eleven 1,300-tonne behomoth tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were used in the making

– Lining is guaranteed for 120 years

– The Eurotunnel is one of the New7Wonders of the World.

For more information visit the Timeline here:
https://www.getlinkgroup.com/uk/the-channel-tunnel/history/

Culzean Castle and Country Park

One of architect Robert Adam’s masterpieces is the Culzean Castle (and Country Park), in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Following his father’s career, Robert Adam was the pioneer of 18th-century Scottish architecture. And British since he designed Bath’s famous Pulteney Bridge as well.

Owned by the National Trust for Scotland today, the castle is hauned and numerous ghosts are claimed to live around. One of them is a piper whose music can be heard whenever there was a wedding in the Kennedy family – clan to be exact since the castle had been owned by them before they gave it to the National Trust.

The castle has a bloody history, however, it was never attacked by the English. The countryside around the castel inspired Scottish poet Robert Burns, a resident of Ayshire.

Clan Kennedy – the Scottish one – is a descendant of Robert the Bruce. It was David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassillis wo got Robert Adam to build a magnificient castle on the property to show the family’s power and wealth. Actually both David Kennedy and Robert Adam had died before the castle was completed in 1772.

The top floor is called the Eisenhower House, named after the 34th American president Dwight D. Eisenhower who occasionally stayed there both as a general and later as a president. The rooms are available for lodging on holiday as well as several cottages in the castle’s great park.