England & Wales, 2000

Photos © Ruud Leeuw Photos © Ruud Leeuw


This time we crossed the Channel by Hoverspeed's SeaCat, a return trip Ostend - Dover.
Our mode of transport was a veritable campervan, for some serious camping. I found it hard to adjust to the slower going, our 'Orbiter' had a hard time to negotiate the mountains at times, but we did cover 4.500 kms during three weeks.


Arundel Castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England is a restored medieval castle. The castle dates from the reign of Edward the Confessor (r. 1042–1066) and was completed by Roger de Montgomery, who became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel by the graces of William the Conqueror. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.
[Wikipedia, more..]
Arundel castle
One finds this fine castle near Southampton.

In 1846, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert visited Arundel Castle for a few days. Henry Charles Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk had remodeled the castle in time for her visit. The Duke devised a brand new apartment block for the new Queen and her Consort, Prince Albert to stay in, commissioning a portrait of the Queen and decorating the block with the finest of Victorian furniture and art. There was also a re-structuring of bedrooms for the court. The Duke spared no expense to make the Queen's visit enjoyable, and he succeeded.

Yeovilton air museum

Rather more recent history was enjoyed at Yeovilton's Fleet Air Arm museum. The Concorde on display here was one of the prototypes, equipped with test equipment. The Concorde was produced at nearby Bristol.
Concorde completed on 24Oct03 its last commercial passenger flight, ending three decades of supersonic travel. Three flights landed at Heathrow airport within five minutes of each other, watched by thousands of onlookers. BBC Report


In Southampton we had visited a War Games shop, but Alexander had noticed that Worcester had an even larger shop and was open on sundays. This warranted a visit to Worcester. Not being able to park the campervan in a parkinggarage, I had some difficulty finding a spot to park our vehicle. While Alexander spent time at the War Games shop, we wandered round, found a bookshop open and purchased another wonderful book by Bill Bryson.


Next stop: Hay-on-Wye, the famous booktown. Circumstances were wet, very wet, but for an ongoing steamengine manifestation I got my camera out.

Hay-on-Wye is a small market town in Powys, Wales.
The town lies on the east bank of the River Wye and is within the Brecon Beacons National Park, just north of the Black Mountains. The town is situated just within the Welsh side of the border with Herefordshire, England.
Hay-on-Wye is a destination for bibliophiles in the United Kingdom, with over thirty bookshops, many selling specialist and second-hand books. [Wikipedia, more..]

Powys castle

Powis Castle (Welsh: Castell Powis or Castell Coch) is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion located near the town of Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales.
The residence of the Earl of Powis is known for its extensive, attractive formal gardens, terraces, parkland, deerpark and landscaped estate. The property is under the care of the National Trust, who operate it under the name "Powis Castle & Garden".
The future Queen Victoria visited the castle during her progress through England and Wales in 1832. [Wikipedia, more..]

We drove into central Wales. Years ago I became fascinated by 'Llewellyn the Great' & 'Llewellyn the Last'. I decided to reread the book (Alexander enjoyed it too) and find physical traces of this history. Thus we arrived at Castell-y-Bere..

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf (c. 1223 – 11 December 1282)—meaning Llywelyn, Our Last Leader—was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England. He is sometimes called Llywelyn III of Gwynedd or Llywelyn II of Wales.
Llywelyn was the second of the four sons of Gruffydd, the eldest son of Llywelyn the Great.
Besides an elder brother (Owain Goch ap Gruffydd ), Llywelyn had two younger brothers, Dafydd ap Gruffydd and Rhodri ap Gruffydd.
Llywelyn and Owain came to terms with King Henry and achieved a truce in 1247. The terms they were forced to accept restricted them to Gwynedd Uwch Conwy, the part of Gwynedd west of the River Conwy.
When Dafydd ap Gruffudd came of age, King Henry accepted his homage and announced his intention of giving him a part of the already much reduced Gwynedd. Llywelyn refused to accept this, and Owain and Dafydd formed an alliance against him. This led to the Battle of Bryn Derwin in June 1255. Llywelyn defeated Owain and Dafydd and captured them, thereby becoming sole ruler of Gwynedd Uwch Conwy.
In 1263, Llywelyn's brother Dafydd went over to King Henry.
In England, Simon de Montfort (the Younger) defeated the king's supporters at the Battle of Lewes in 1264, capturing the king and Prince Edward. Llywelyn began negotiations with de Montfort, and in 1265 offered him the sum of 30,000 marks in exchange for a permanent peace, in which Llywelyn's right to rule Wales would be acknowledged.
De Montfort died at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. After Simon de Montfort's death, Llywelyn launched a fast campaign in order to rapidly gain a bargaining position before King Henry had fully recovered. Llywelyn opened negotiations with the king, and was eventually recognised as Prince of Wales by King Henry in the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267.
Following the death of King Henry in late 1272, with the new King Edward I of England away from the kingdom, the rule fell on three men, one of whom, Roger Mortimer was one of Llywelyn's rivals in the marches.
However, Llywelyn's territorial ambitions gradually made him unpopular with some of the minor Welsh leaders, particularly the princes of south Wales. Llywelyn was also finding it difficult to raise the annual sums required under the terms of this treaty, and ceased making payments.
Llywelyn also made an enemy of King Edward by continuing to ally himself with the family of Simon de Montfort, even though their power was now greatly reduced. Llywelyn sought to marry Eleanor de Montfort, Simon de Montfort's daughter. They were married by proxy in 1275, but King Edward took exception to the marriage, in part because Eleanor was part of his own royal family; her mother was Eleanor of England, daughter of King John and princess of the House of Plantagenet. When Eleanor sailed from France to meet Llywelyn, Edward hired pirates to seize her ship and she was imprisoned at Windsor Castle until Llywelyn made certain concessions.
In 1276, Edward declared Llywelyn a rebel and in 1277 gathered an enormous army to march against him.
Edward was supported by Dafydd ap Gruffydd and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, and many of the lesser Welsh princes who had supported Llywelyn now hastened to make peace with Edward. By the summer of 1277, Edward's forces had reached the River Conwy and encamped at Deganwy, while another force had captured Anglesey and taken possession of the harvest there. This deprived Llywelyn and his men of food, forcing them to seek terms.


Llywelyn was forced to acknowledge the English King as his own sovereign; initially he had refused, but after the events of 1276, Llywelyn was stripped of all but a small portion of his lands. He went to meet Edward, and found Eleanor lodged with the royal family at Worcester; after Llywelyn gave in to the king's assorted demands, Edward gave them permission to be married at Worcester Cathedral. By all accounts, the marriage was a genuine love match; Llywelyn is not known to have fathered any illegitimate children, which is extremely unusual for the Welsh royalty.
On or about 19 June 1282, his wife Eleanor de Montfort died in giving birth to a daughter Gwenllian.
By early 1282 many of the lesser princes who had supported Edward against Llywelyn in 1277 were becoming disillusioned with the exactions of the royal officers. On Palm Sunday that year Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked the English at Hawarden castle, and then laid siege to Rhuddlan. The revolt quickly spread to other parts of Wales. Llywelyn, according to a letter he sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury John Peckham, had not been involved in the planning of the revolt. However he felt obliged to support his brother, and a war began for which the Welsh were ill-prepared.
Events followed a similar pattern to 1277, with Edward's forces capturing Gwynedd Is Conwy and again capturing Anglesey and taking the harvest.
Llywelyn now left Dafydd to lead the defence of Gwynedd and took a force southwards to try to rally support in mid and south Wales and open up an important second front. During the Battle of Orewin Bridge at Builth Wells he was killed while separated from his army; Llywelyn was tricked into leaving the bulk of his army and was then attacked and killed.
[Wikipedia, more...]

I greatly enjoyed the books on this subject by Susan Penman: "Here be Dragons", "Falls the Shadow" & "the Reckoning".


Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle, located in Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales, is a concentric castle, constructed atop a cliff close to the Irish Sea. Architecturally, it is particularly notable for its massive gatehouse.
Built by King Edward I during his conquest of Wales, the castle was subject to several assaults and sieges during its period of active use as a fortification. The seven-year siege of the castle, during the Wars of the Roses.
Construction started in 1283 as part of Edward I's second Welsh campaign. The castle was part of Edward's iron ring of castles around Snowdonia, a string of new castles to hem the prince in.
All the royal castles of Edward's second Welsh campaign were sited so that they could be kept supplied at all times. Harlech was not always isolated; the sea used to come to the foot of the cliffs.

Dolbadarn Castle

We travelled into Snowdonia and intended to visit Mt.Snowdon, but were put off by the prices and long lines of waiting tourists. We continued and soon arrived at Dolbadarn Castle.
Dolbadarn Castle rests on a rocky hillock at the tip of Llyn Padarn, perched above a roadway near Llanberis, in Gwynedd, north Wales. It was built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), at the foot of Snowdon, some time before 1230; and was active through at least 1284 and into the early 15th century.
During the Welsh wars of independence against the English king Edward I, Dolbadarn Castle was held by one of Llywelyn's brothers, Dafydd ap Gruffudd. But the castle succumbed to the army of the Earl of Pembroke, and in 1283, months after Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the Prince of Wales had been lured into a trap and put to death, Dolbadarn fell to the English army. [Wikipedia, more..]
View from Dolbadarn Castle
Splendid view over the countryside, dominated by Dolbadarn Castle.

Mining for slate

The slate industry in Wales began during the Roman period when slate was used to roof the fort at Segontium, now Caernarvon. The slate industry grew slowly until the early 18th century, then expanded rapidly until the late 19th century, at which time the most important slate producing areas were in northwest Wales, including the Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda, the Dinorwic Quarry near Llanberis, the Nantlle Valley quarries, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the slate was mined rather than quarried. Penrhyn and Dinorwig were the two largest slate quarries in the world, and the Oakeley mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog was the largest slate mine in the world. Slate is mainly used for roofing, but is also produced as thicker slab for a variety of uses including flooring, worktops and headstones.
[Wikipedia, more..]

Caernarfon Castle

Two inner courtyards: Caernarfon Castle (top) and Conwy Castle (below).
Caernarfon castle was intended to be the finest castle of King Edward I, following his conquest of Gwynedd in 1283. Edward I built castles and walled towns in North Wales to control the area following his conquest of the independent principality of Wales, in 1283.
The town breathes an atmosphere of 'tourist at the seaside', all pretty and tidy.

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle (Welsh: Castell Conwy) is a castle in Conwy, on the north coast of Wales. We were heading east now, in the direction of Manchester.
It was built between 1283 and 1289 during King Edward I's second campaign in North Wales.
The fortress is divided into an outer and inner ward. These are separated by 15 feet (4.6 m) thick walls and a deep rock gully. Each ward was protected by four towers more than 70 feet (21 m) high, 30 feet (9.1 m) in diameter and consisting of several storeys. The inner ward's towers also had the additional defence of turrets.
By the early 17th century, the once great Royal Castle had become dilapidated and was largely unused. However at the outbreak of the English Civil War Conwy was again garrisoned for the King. It was captured after a three-month siege by the Parliamentary army in 1646. It was slighted and left as an empty shell. [Wikipedia, more..]

The town of Conwy, our last stop in Wales.
View over Conwy

warhammer World
While travelling and having visited 2 War Games stores, the idea grew to visit its headquarters: Warhammer World! We had some trouble finding the adress in Nottingham, but succeeded. Impressive.
Warhammer scene Warhammer 40,000 (informally known as Warhammer 40K or simply 40K) is a tabletop miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop, set in a science fantasy universe.

Warhammer 40,000 was created by Rick Priestley in 1987 as the futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, sharing many game mechanics.
Expansions for Warhammer 40,000 are released from time to time, often to facilitate a certain sort of game, such as Cities of Death, Planet Strike and Apocalypse, which give rules for urban, planatary siege and large-scale combat, respectively.
The game is currently in its fifth edition.
Warhammer 40,000's gothic space fantasy setting spans a vast fictional universe. Its various factions and races include the Imperium of Man (the human race 38,000 years hence), the Orks (similar to Warhammer Fantasy Orcs), and the Eldar (similar to Elves in Warhammer Fantasy Battle). These races, along with their playing rules, are covered in the game's rule books and supplemental army codexes, along with articles in the Games Workshop magazines, White Dwarf and Imperial Armour.


Stonehenge Alexander expressed his wish to visit Stonehenge. It was crowded, but I managed to make a photo without tourists. In itself, as a subject for photography on a sunny midday, the stones are not a captivating subject. But 9 years after taking this photo I knew my way around Photoshop and messed it up a bit.



Pub in Chilham

Steering towards Dover, we intended to visit the castle at Chilham. Unfortunately, the castle was no longer open for the public. The pub was...

Chilham is a parish in the English county of Kent. Visited by tourists worldwide, it is known for its beauty.
Chilham has been a location for a number of films and television dramas. In particular it hosted the 1944 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Presburger, A Canterbury Tale (1944).
There are two pubs, the Woolpack and the White Horse.
The Church is a Norman structure and it is believed that Thomas Becket was buried in the churchyard. In 2009, Chilham was the location for filming of Emma, an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Emma. The programme will be broadcast by the BBC in autumn 2009.

Tea among the graves
The church had a fundraiser going on so we enjoyed some tea and biscuits among the gravestones...

We visited another castle, Knole Castle and did some plane spotting at London-Gatwick Int'l Airport.
It had been a busy trip (16 visits to aviation related subjects and 7 castles), seen plenty, met up with friends and returned with a good bounty of books (loads!).
The ferry could not dock at Dover because of poblems with a docking system and instead diverted to Calais, ending this trip on a slightly adventurous note.

Castles of Wales
Great Castles of Wales
Wikipedia: List of Castles in Wales
Visit Wales


the End