or Carnarvon, as per our awesome guide, had to be the first stop in our retro-project.
Caer-ar-fon “the fortress opposite Anglesey” stands just within the western entrance to the Menai Strait, at the mouth of the river Seiont. It is the ancient “metropolis of the hills” – the chief town in that mountainous stronghold known as Eryri, and the best view of the town (that from the path leading to the Baths) still shows the stout little fortress backed by the wild and rugged giants of Snowdonia. Carnarvon is the best modern representative of the British fortress Caer Seiont, and of the Roman military station, Segontium, and in position, beauty and historic associations there are few towns, if any, in Wales to compare with it.
Yes, yes, that’s quite right. In fact, there are few towns altogether, not only in Wales, that can compare to Caernarfon. Also, the seagulls. The guide doesn’t mention them, but we love them, and love to be woken up by their cries early in the morning. (Yes, we.) So what does the guide have to say about the castle?
Admission – sixpence; children 3d.; parties over 20, 3d each.
Open daily 10-8 or dusk, Sundays from 12 noon to 6 or dusk if earlier.
Entrance by King’s Gate, on north side.
With the exception of that in Alnwick, in Northumberland, Carnarvon Castle is “the finest in Great Britain”. Dr. Johnson, who visited in 1774, observed in his diary: “The Castle is an edifice of stupendous magnitude and strength. To survey this place would take much time – I did not think there had been such buildings; it surpassed my ideas.”
Seriously, a sixpence? The prices have gone horribly up, haven’t they? They made me pay like a fiver. Worth it though. Specially up the towers – everybody should do that. And who ever heard of Alnwick?