The Snowdonia Mountain range lies to the east of Anglesey and is an area steeped in history. The area contains the British Isles highest mountain peak outside of Scotland at 3,560 ft (1,085 m) called Snowdon (in English) and Yr Wyddfa (in Welsh). The name Snowdon is from Old English Anglo-Saxon for "snow hill". The Welsh name – Yr Wyddfa – means "the tumulus".
Snowdon gives its name to the surrounding area: 'Snowdonia', whilst in Welsh the name is called 'Eryri' from either the Welsh for eagle ( eryr) or means Highlands.
The area includes mountain ranges, mixed forests, lakes and rivers and is a designated National Park. The Park's 23 miles of coastline is a Special Area of Conservation, which runs from the Llŷn Peninsula
down the mid-Wales coast.
Large areas of the Park are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Biosphere and Ramsar sites. Rare mammals in the park include otters, polecats, and feral goats. Rare birds include raven, peregrine, osprey, merlin and the red kite.
Snowdonia has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is littered with Stone Age burial chambers, Celtic Standing Stones, forts, churches, castles - all evidence of the Roman, Viking, Norman and Anglo-Saxon short-lived presence after the many battles in the area.
The terrain served the Celts well and in times of conflict offered a natural fortress against invaders. Snowdon's history is replete with ravine ambushes and battles in its valleys. It has been the refuge of many Celtic battle-weary forces and leaders.
Snowdonia forms part of Celtic Arthurian legend. King Arthur is reputed to have met the giant 'Ritta' on the slopes of Snowdon whilst out riding with his knights. King Arthur commented on the giant's cloak. The giant replied it was woven from the beards of Kings and would be honoured to include Arthur's hair. Arthur declined the offer to part with his beard a fight ensued. Arthur slew the giant and the corpse was buried under a cairn erected on the summit of Snowdon.
The area has the highest concentration of castles in Britain. Some are just ruins but many are in a good state of order and are open to the public to roam around and explore.
Caernarfon Castle is in very good condition and was used as the location investiture of 'Prince of Wales' title on the heir to the throne of Britain.