Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


15.2.09
  Hazy Welsh Views, With Castles

Few of the photos I took of the Welsh landscape are not veiled by the hazy atmosphere, but judging from the picutures in my guidebook that problem is a persistant one. Does something like a clear Welsh sky actually exist?

Mountains at Dolwyddelan Castle

Of all the castles I visited, Dolwyddelan was the one with the most spectacular location, and the one offering the best climb. A bit like those German hilltop castles, just with fewer tourists and more sheep. The view of the Conwy Vale is breathtaking.

Dolwyddelan Castle, Llywelyn's Keep

While the whopping Norman castles are impressive, Dowyddelan felt more like an actual home. I sat in one of the Keep windows for some time, drinking tea, listening to the wind and looking at the mountains. There were no other tourists, and it felt really peaceful.

Another hazy view from Dolwyddelan Castle

And this is the view from said window. Though it should have been wine to go with the time; they didn't have tea then, poor Welsh princes. ;)

Conwy Bay, view from Anglesey to the mainland

It was a sunny day albeit a stiff breeze (to use a Hamburgian dialect phrase) rippled the water and blew the sails of the boats. It was my last day in Wales before I left for Chester, and I really wanted to stay longer.

Beaumaris Castle in the morning sun

One of Edward's biggies, constructed by his master architect James of St.George. Beaumaris stands out for its perfect symmetry and because of that gives an almost playful impression despite its double lines of walls and huge towers. The toy of a king.

Conwy River, seen from the Kings' Tower in Conwy Castle

A busy waterway these days that makes you forget the strait is the burial place of Llys Helig, one of the sunken cities so frequent in Celtic legends. It probably takes a quiet night to hear the bells, though.

Conwy Castle

Another castle in Edward's iron ring of castles in Wales. Conwy not only has an amazing castle, but the most complete town wall in Wales, a set of thick, multitowered fortifications. I walked small part of it but there was not enough time to promenade along the entire circle.

The evening sun glittering on the sea at Criccieth Castle

I love the sea in all weathers, but the low sun sparkling on the waves is the prettiest sight. It was my farewell to Wales: the sea, sun, wind, and a castle. Perfect.

Criccieth Castle atop the cliff

Another part Welsh part Norman castle, and like Dolwyddelan situated in a grand place - atop a cliff overlooking Cardigan Bay. The strongest part of the fortifications, the towers that still stand out today, faces the landward side.
 
Comments:
The sky in your photos looks remarkably like the sky in our photos. I liked the photos for Conwy. That one looks as if it has a beautiful setting, although I imagine there would be lots of tourists.
 
Ahhhhh, Dolwyddelan - one of my favourite castles! I agree - it is such an atmospheric place I've always felt 'welcome' whenever I've gone there. It certainly has fantastic views, but I still reckon that 2 other native castles - Dolbadarn and Castell-Y-Bere have better - but I don't think you managed to get to them.

Great pics - brings back some nice memories!
 
Shelley, seems Welsh sky is Welsh sky all the time. *grin*

Lady D, no, unfortunately I didn't manage to see those. A reason to come back, eh? :)
 
Lovely pics as usual, Gabriele. I know where to come when I want castle inspiration!

Do you say "stiff breeze" in German, too? It's a common enough phrase in English so maybe it dates back to Old High German, or something:-)

Your comment on the skies reminds me of when I was working in North Devon and after work I would walk along the cliffs looking out over the Bristol Channel. There was a local saying that went, "If you can't see Wales, it's raining; if you can see Wales, it's going to rain!"
 
Wow - love the view of the water from the tower. I wish we had castles... *sniff*

(Word verif: "Wingslob" - I think I'm insulted....) *g*
 
I think Wales is Just Like That and there are no other states. I have seen summer skies in Wales once or twice, but they didn't last long.

I was also going to remark on the phrase 'stiff breeze'; as Satima says it's perfectly usable in English, but your English is always so good that these moments of question surprise me. So it is only in a spirit of perfectionism that I mention that the phrase: "less tourists and more sheep", in pedantically-correct English, would be 'fewer tourists and more sheep'—less for stuff that cannot be numbered, fewer for things that can. My maxim for this is therefore 'less stuff fewer things!' which sounds like a political slogan but works as a memory trick too...
 
Old Low German probably, Satima. Steife Briese is used in Hamburg and at the coast, not in the High German dialects spoken inland. And the versions of Platt and Frisian have several sound and grammar features in common with English rather than with German.

Thank you Jonathan, both for the compliment and bringing that mistake to my attention. I corrected it.
 
Yes sunny weather does happen in Wales, but it's not a common occurance (in my experience) and doesn't last long. :)
 
Great pics! I'm hoping to get to North Wales sometime soon, with any luck later this year, and am so looking forward to seeing all these great castles!
 
"Does something like a clear Welsh sky actually exist?"
It can happen, but it's not common, and I think it's more likely in winter than summer. In Cumbria, further north, a north-west airflow usually brings clear skies, so the same may apply to Wales.
I was going to say that 'stiff breeze' is used in English as well, but I see lots of other people have beaten me to it.

I second Jonathan's comment about the high standard of your English. A lot of native speakers use 'less' and 'fewer' more or less interchangeably, especially in speech. It wouldn't surprise me if the two eventually become synonymous, language evolution being what it is. The memory trick I use is a sarcastic put-down used by a world-weary journalist against a politician who kept getting it wrong: "I suppose less teachers means fewer education".
 
Ann, I actually did quite well concerning sunny days, but they always came with haze. :)

Alianore, those big castles are FUN. Enjoy your trip - and don't miss out on Dolwyddelan.

Thank you, Carla. I suppose I'll remember your example. :D
 
"The evening sun glittering on the sea at Criccieth Castle"

I love this one.
 
Darryl Markowitz has posted some pictures from L'anse aux Meadows on his blog. He is a professional blacksmith, re-enactor, and semi-professional archaeologist, and helped to develop the living history of the Vikings in North America.

Why not head on over to his blog and see what he has been up to? He just put some pictures of his "lost fort" up. Say hi...grin.

http://warehamforgeblog.blogspot.com/
 
Thank you, Meghan.

Stag, thanks for sharing that link. That one looks like an interesting blog I'll surely check out.
 
Your trip is like a dream! A close friend of mine's paternal family is from Wales and every now and then my friend visits relatives. It's my secret wish to go with her one day. Thanks for sharing your lovely trip. d:)
 
Thank you, Debra. I love sharing my photos. :)
 
I love the Welsh countryside. The one time I was there, the clouds hovered in a drizzle the first day and the second was bright sunshine while looking at a huge black oak tree with a house inside. I went part of the way inside except for going up the narrow spiral staircase inside for fear of getting stuck.
 
A tree with a house inside? Someone wanted to play Lothlorien, it seems. :)

The staircases in the Welsh castles were not too bad, but I've found some really tight ones in Socttish castles.
 
I like Barmouth most as a view in Wales.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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