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Capel Garmon and Penmaenmawr (Kappel Garmon and Pen Mine Mowr)

Leaving Bangor, your journey now takes you eastward, along the shores of the Menai. The Snowdon Massif is on your right, and the isle of Anglesey to your left, accessible by Telford's suspension bridge. Before reaching the coastal highway, you detour through the mountains of Snowdonia National Park to reach the much visited tourist centre of Betws y Coed and the prehistoric site of Capel Garmon.

At the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, you can view a first century BC wrought iron firedog found at Capel Garmon, Betws-y Coed (Bet us uh Coid), Gwynedd. The burial chamber itself dates back to about 1500 BC. A long barrow with three chambers, one with its immense capstone still firmly in place, the whole surrounded by surviving stone base.

Capel Garmon is about one and a half miles up a small road leading northwest at Rhydllanfair (Rheed Thlan Vire) from the main road A5 from Betws Y Coed to Pentrefoelas (Pen tray Voilas). Capel Garmon burial chamber belongs to the Cotswold Severn Group. It is a large chamber inside a cairn, with a forecourt and blind entrance. In addition to the iron firedog, the tomb has yielded fragments of beakers, human bones, flints and a Neolithic pot.

From Betws y Coed, you will take the A470 north through the Vale of Conwy to reach the main coastal road at Llandudno (Thlan did no) Junction. You skirt the mountains and the sea and travel by modern highway along the Welsh Riviera, a string of holiday resorts, much frequented by the English summer hordes. Before you reach your next major destination, you will take a short detour west for a few miles to reach Penmaenmawr, the massive headland that dominates this part of the coast.

Druid's Circle, Penmaenmawr (Pen Mine Mour), Gwynedd
On the main coastal road from Bangor to Conwy A55, you will drive in a modern tunnel through the granite headland at Penmaenmawr. For many centuries, this area was avoided by coach travelers as being too dangerous. Passengers preferred to go over the Sychnant (Suck Nant) Pass or wait for low tide to travel along the sands rather than face the precipitous, rocky shelf that served as a road high above the sea at Penmaenmawr.

Up on the headland itself, on the slopes of just-under 2,000-ft Moelfre (Moyle Vray) is the so-called Druid's Circle. Nothing to do with the much later Druids, the stones are the remains of two Bronze Age circles, but for many centuries they were associated with the worship of two sinister goddesses, Andras and Ceridwen. Nearby, on the same History Trail, is the pre-historic axe factory at Graig Lwyd (Grige Loo-id). Here, flints and large arrow stones have been found; from them tools were made which found their way as far south and east as Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, and as far west as Northern Ireland.

From Penmaenmawr, on your way to the cathedral of St. Asaph, another detour off the coastal road to Chester takes you to the little church of Llanelian-yn-Rhos, situated two miles inland from the resort town of Colwyn Bay.

Next Stop: Llanelian and St. Asaph
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