The next day, we continued our Patrick McGoohan/Edward I tour with a visit to Caernarfon Castle, one of the Iron Ring castles. Construction started in 1283 on the fortress and it was a ready symbol of England’s dominance over Wales. His son, Edward II, was born in the castle in 1284, making him the first Prince of Wales.
Edward I paid some homage to the Welsh’s respect of the Romans. The fortress was built near the former location of a Roman fort. There are several towers but the most impressive is the Eagle Tower with stone owl statues, another nod to the Romans. The fortress is built on the water of the Menai Strait so you get a beautiful view of the water. I think this was where the investiture of Prince Charles took place in 1989.
There is not a lot of exhibitions to see within the castle itself. There were some cannons in the courtyard. It was fun rushing up to the top of each tower and getting a view of the city. Or wandering through the corridors from one tower to the next.
There is the Museum of Royal Welsh Fusiliers which discusses the history of the Welsh Fusiliers in history. I found it moderately interesting (military history is not entirely my cup of tea) but it is thorough if you do. I was happy to learn about the Royal Goat. The crown traditionally gives a goat with gold gilded horns to the Fusiliers. It is not the mascot; it is part of the order. Sometimes a person had to pretend to be the goat when the goat was not readily found. Yay for goats!
There are some other decently interesting things in town but the castle is the main attraction. We took a boat ride over the strait, which was nice. We could see the mountain ranges of Snowdonia, which were incredible. There is Segontium, a Roman fort, a little bit outside of town but all that exists are the foundations of the buildings. There was a nice hill overlooking the town. It wasn’t the most impressive by any means of Roman ruins but it was okay.
It was interesting when the tide went out and the harbor suddenly is just mud. Boats had been bobbing in the water when we arrived and five hours later, they were sitting in mud. The sandbank was exposed with all sorts of seaweed and birds wandering on it. There were some nice parks, one by the wall. There isn’t anything quite as spectacular like swinging next to ancient city walls.
We did find a tower rising up in the forest that we had to find; we called it the Wizard’s tower. It required going into a cow pasture and wandering up a hill, avoiding the cow pies. It was kinda neat.
Stay tuned for Beaumaris castle in Anglesey.