Sunday, October 9, 2011
Bore da o Cymru!
One grey Thursday morning (aren't they all?), feeling adventurous, we decided to embark upon a grand expedition to Wales. After a 20 minute walk to the train station and a 14 minute train trip, we arrived o Cymru!
Flint was the destination we had chosen, and Flint met our every expectation of a small, Welsh village located in the middle of nowhere, facing a large estuary. Grey and wet and dingy. No offense, Flint.
Despite the drizzle and dull setting, there was a reason we had come to Flint: Flint Castle. Built for King Edward I, construction began in 1277 and three years later the fortress was complete, at a cost of just under 9000 pounds. Just two years afterward, the Castle was beseiged by those dastardly Welsh who attacked again in 1294 just to keep the English on their toes. Cleverly, the English burnt down most of the Castle to protect it from their foes, and subsequently much repair work was needed to make the Castle awesome again.
In a grand twist of excitement, the rascal Henry of Bolingbroke captured King Richard II at Flint Castle, forced him to abdicate and became King himself - Henry IV to be exact. After this, Flint Castle was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War but was eventually captured and was largely destroyed in 1647. I understand this was a common measure taken to ensure that such facilities were not used against the government in the future.
So that is the grand story of Flint Castle. It is not as big and exciting (paraphrase) as other castles in Wales, so it isn't as well protected and there was quite a bit of litter and graffiti around the castle and grounds. In much older times, the estuary used to flow around the castle, making a tidal moat. As the estuary no longer flows around the castle, one can walk around what used to be the moat, which is a strange feeling - to be able to walk over the very ground that used to protect the castle from invaders.
One can still see the arrowslits and evidence of spiral staircases and a portcullis, and the 'donjon' - or keep - is still largely intact. This was probably the most exciting part of the Castle, as one could actually see more of what the building might have been like back in the day. It was one of those places that if you narrowed your eyes and blocked out any external noise you could almost picture yourself as a nobleman or princess wandering the tower, or as a watchman peering out the arrowslits keeping an eye out for attacks.
(us keeping an eye out for attacks)
Keeping with the medieval theme, we left the castle and searched for a chippy. Finding none, even after searching the vast streets of Flint three times, we ended up at McDonalds. Yes, we're all class...
So, feeling satisfied (and a tad wet), we decided to head for home. Flint is a small place and there are only so many pubs with seedy-looking men leaning on posts whilst smoking and giving you the eye that one can take, so we made for the train station.
And for our Number One Fan (Yes, that's you, Dave Hulse): I can say that we did see Flint and we did see stone, but no, we did not see The Flintstones. Tragic, eh?
Bad puns out of the way, that is the end of another Moffventure!