Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Current

Hello to all my regular readers! I know there are a number of you out there.
Thank you for your interest. 

No!  We haven't given up!!
After excitedly getting back to walking with my new knees last year, we have other problems this year which prevent us from (temporarily) continuing our Trek.  We have a bit of financial embarrassment over a mortgage, so when our car finally bit the dust last September we could only afford to buy a small Ford Fiesta, which is not big enough to tow our caravan.  That is our accommodation when walking the coast, and we live too far from Milford Haven (which was our final destination last year) to go there, do a Walk, and come home all in one day.  So the Trek is 'on hold' for the time being.
But all should be resolved by the end of the year!  By the time the Pembrokeshire summer bus timetable kicks in next Spring, we plan to have bought a bigger vehicle, and may even have lashed out on a better caravan -- who knows?  By this time next year we hope to have completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and be yomping on towards the Gower.
To all my readers, thank you for your interest in our venture.
Rosemary
PS  Go to   www.bognorregisbeach.co.uk  to see what is happening NOW just left of Bognor Pier! (On the website, click on  'Live Webcam')

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walk 360 -- Harlech to Barmouth

Weather:  Hazy sun and very hot — unbelievable weather for this time of year!
Location:  Harlech to Barmouth.
Distance:  15 miles.
Total distance:  3717 miles.
Terrain:  A lot of firm sandy beach.  Some road.  Some grassy paths across marshes.  Mostly flat, except in the dunes where we got lost!
Tide:  Out when we wanted it to be so.
Rivers: No.437, Afon Artro.  No.438, Afon Ysgethin.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.773 to 783 (11 in all) across the marshes.
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan in Snowdonia.  This morning we drove from there to Barmouth where, once more, we rejected the paying car park.  We parked in a wide layby just outside the town, then walked in to the station where we caught a train to Harlech.
At the end we finished the Walk at the ferry steps.  It was almost dark, but there were lots of street lights, even at the out-of-town layby where we were parked  We walked out to there, had our tea and biscuits, then drove back to our caravan.

We started today’s Walk at Harlech Station.  We walked straight down the road to the beach car park by the golf course where we didn’t park last time because it’s too expensive.  A path then took us to the beach over the dunes, where there were notices warning us not to stay on the golf course.  We sat on the edge of the dunes to eat our pies.
There followed a lovely walk of about one and a half miles along a firm sandy beach.  The Wales Coast Path is not marked on our recently bought OS map, so we were on the lookout all the while for a way off.  We hoped we would be able to walk round the end of the cliff on a kind of ridge, but it turned out this ridge was the railway so that was not possible.  The sandy beach eventually deteriorated into rocks, but not before we had seen some steps leading up to a simple railway crossing, then a zigzag path leading up to the top of the steep cliff.
I stood at the bottom thinking, “Oh!  My knee!”  I had only come on this series of Walks with my dodgy knee because I thought the terrain was fairly flat.  I hadn’t bargained on having to climb the cliffs!  But I had no choice.  I had taken painkillers before we left the caravan, and had more in my pack for when they wore off.  So I hauled myself up the initial steep steps, crossed the railway, then tackled the eighty steps on the zigzag path using the rail to haul myself up with my hands.  Colin found a bench in the shade at the top, so we sat there for a good five minutes to recover.
We came out on to a main road, but there was a pavement.  Just round the corner we turned on to a much quieter road.  The views from up there were magnificent!  We could see over the next estuary.  Colin looked through his binoculars and announced, “There’s no footbridge across the river!”  Well, there was one marked on the map — a bit inland so I assumed he wasn’t looking in the right place and carried on.  The quiet road descended to sea level (what a waste of effort it had been climbing all the way up that cliff!) where we crossed the railway again at a station and on to a car park.
A café was a welcome sight.  We fancied an ice cream.  Then we fancied a cup of tea.  The truth was we were very hot, my knee was aching, and we didn’t really want to continue today.  We had to in the end, of course.  (We don’t do HOT!) 
We went through a gate where there was a tiny and very ancient chapel.  It was so small the lychgate was almost as big.  We couldn’t get inside the chapel, so we looked at the gravestones which dated back to the fifth century, so they said.  A notice told us that since 2009 there was no room for any more burials.
We couldn’t cross the river when we came to it, so we walked a little bit inland alongside it admiring the wild flowers we passed.  In the distance we could see tall-masted boats moored up, which explained why there was no footbridge at the mouth of the river.
We thought we would have to cross the railway yet again when we came to it, but a Wales Coast Path logo directed us to the right where there was a new wooden footbridge over a ditch.  We crossed a marshy field — dry, thank goodness — alongside the railway, but there was no signage as to where to go next.
Our only option was to go through a gate into a courtyard within a building.  It seemed to be some kind of activity centre with rows of canoes etc. in sheds.  Then we crossed the railway at another station (the stations seem to be very close together on this line) and out on to the main road again.

This time we had about a quarter of a mile to walk alongside the traffic, But there was a pavement, and after a while it went behind a hedge which shielded us from the speedsters.  We turned on to a path where there were loads of ripe blackberries — so we helped ourselves!  And there was a brand new footbridge across the river.  There was a shoe hanging on the fancy gate on the further side.  We walked along the other bank to some shady trees where we stopped to eat our sarnies.
We came out on to a road, crossed the railway by yet another station, and route-marched along a zigzag road past a small airfield.  Colin remembered landing there when he worked for the RAE in Farnborough in the early 60s — he used to be paid extra “danger money” for being a lookout on flights, but can’t remember what he was supposed to be looking out for!  Our map says this airfield is disused, but it isn’t because we watched a plane taking off.  We think a small private club now uses it.
It was hot in the sun, and there wasn’t any breeze.  Colin said, “I’m not enjoying this!”  Neither was I.  At the end of the road we saw a Wales Coast Path sign leading us off to the left.  Mistake!  We should have stayed on the road if we wanted to get to the beach. 
But we followed a very straight new concrete path across the marsh.  We had put the map away because we were following the logos — that was a mistake too.  We passed a couple on bikes who were watching planes, and route-marched towards a gate.  We didn’t notice any path going off, we should have looked at the map but we didn’t.  Through the gate and on and on we marched thinking we were sloping towards the coast.  But we weren’t.
Through another gate — and the concrete path turned to sand.  No logos.  So we carried straight on through a wood where campers were pitched amongst the trees.  Then it all came to an end.
A track went across us from right to left.  Eh?  We were quite lost!  So we got out the map, and realised we were nowhere near the coast but about a mile inland.  The map showed a public footpath going straight to the coast from where we thought we were, but that didn’t exist in reality.  We turned right on to the track, but that wiggled about and very soon disappeared into nothing.  We met a man on a bike, and asked him if the way he had just come was the way to the beach.  He said, “Er, yes!” but he didn’t sound very sure and he didn’t stop.  Now we were really on our own!  All we could see in any direction were dunes, some covered in vegetation and some loose sand.  It was a nightmare!
We were so hot, neither of us felt we could cope.  We got out the compass and argued about it, none of which helped.  We climbed a dune to see where we were, but all we could see was more dunes.
It was difficult for me to get down with my bad knee, and we did this at least three times.  Colin was all for sticking to the valleys, but there we couldn’t see where we were going.  I just wanted to get to the beach.  Eventually we climbed a steep dune through brambles and trees — and there was the beach below!
Trouble was, we were at the top of a vertical cliff.  We chose our spot, and slid down through dry soft sand on our bums!  At last we were on the beach! 
I was all in, hot and dehydrated.  I didn’t know if I could carry on.  There was nothing to sit on, so Colin filled a broken polythene container with sand and we sat on that to eat our chocolate.  There were a few people scattered about here and there on this vast lonely beach, and we gradually realised that none of them had any clothes on!!  We started to laugh, and laugh and laugh which made us both feel very much better.
We started walking south.  The beach was mostly nice firm sand, there was a very gentle breeze now we were out in the open, and it got a tad cooler as time progressed.  We actually began to enjoy it.  The dunes stretched for miles, and gradually the people we met were scantily clad, later on they were properly clothed.  Colin noticed a Wales Coast Path logo at the top of the beach pointing inland, but we ignored it.  Those logos had let us down too often, we were going our own way.
The dunes came to an end where a small river babbled across the beach, shallow enough to paddle through.  We realised later that we had camped just inland next to this river with our four children back in 1980.  Past there were some rocks shielding holiday homes from shifting sands.  We sat on them to eat our apples.
We were beginning to lose the light.  We were pleased the tide was out as far as it was, but after another two miles it had come in too far for us to continue on the beach. The cycleway which was marked on the OS map didn’t exist.  We were a bit disappointed because we had expected to stay on the beach all the way into Barmouth.
But it was not to be — we were too late for the tide.  Just before the railway sloped in to the top of the beach, we climbed up the shingle — with great difficulty because of my dodgy knee — and found a simple crossing of the line.  Then we went further up through a caravan site to the road.  We were really losing the light now.  We hate walking along roads, but fortunately there was a pavement.  A logo on a post told us we were still on the Wales Coast Path.
We passed Llanaber Church, and after about a mile we saw a sign which read, “To the Beach”.  We descended a steep narrow road to Barmouth prom.
There were people in the sea having a late swim even though it was now getting dark.  But it had been a very hot day, and the sea is at its warmest at this time of year.  There was still another mile or so to Barmouth town along the promenade, with paying car parks all the way.
There was no sign of the beach huts which my Dad hired when he brought here us on holiday in 1962.  (That was a year before I met Colin, I was seventeen.)  It was almost dark when we reached a row of terraced houses across the road.  One of them was the boarding house where we stayed in 1962 for two weeks, but I can’t remember which one it was.  We had bed and board, i.e. three substantial meals each day.  But the bathroom facilities were shared, and it cost an extra shilling every time we had a bath!  (No showers in those days.)
We ended the Walk at the ferry which crosses the Mawddach Estuary to Fairbourne — it was closed by that time, of course.  It was quite dark by then, but fortunately I had taken several photos of Barmouth and the famous Barmouth railway bridge in the morning before boarding the train to Harlech.  We passed a plaque marking the spot where an old-fashioned signal box once stood.
We puzzled over a sculpture we came across, but looked it up later on the internet.  Apparently it shows three generations of fishermen hauling in their nets, they are pulling on a thick rope and leaning backwards.  We thought it was a bit weird.  It was carved from a large block of Italian Carrara white marble which was part of a cargo recovered in 1978 from a wreckage of a foreign ship which sank off the coast of Talybont in 1709. 
We walked across Barmouth Bridge on one of our rest days, and then walked back.  Colin and I spent our honeymoon in a tiny B&B just the other side of the bridge, and used to walk over into Barmouth daily.  So it was quite nostalgic for us.  We will not be using the bridge on our next Walk because we are going to catch the ferry to Fairbourne.
That ended Walk no.360, we shall pick up Walk no.361 next time at the ferry steps in Barmouth.  It was eight o’clock, so the Walk had taken us nine hours thirty minutes.  It was almost dark, but there were lots of street lights, even at the out-of-town layby where we were parked  We walked out to there, had our tea and biscuits, then drove back to our caravan.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Walk 359 -- Penrhyndeudraeth to Harlech

Ages:  Colin was 72 years and 130 days.  Rosemary was 69 years and 272 days.
Weather:  Mostly cloudy but dry.  Very warm and humid.
Location:  Penrhyndeudraeth to Harlech.
Distance:  8 miles.
Total distance:  3702 miles.
Terrain:  Mostly grassy paths across fields and along banks.  One path took us into a corn field with plants above our heads, and then petered out!  Nearly all flat.
Tide:  In.
Rivers: No.435, Afon Dwyryd at the start of the Walk which we had to pretend to cross because the bridge won’t be finished until next Spring.  No.436, Afon Glyn.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.754 to 772 (19 in all) spread out along the way.
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  No.10, Harlech Castle.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  Yesterday we towed our caravan from home to Snowdonia, to the same caravan site we have used twice before.  This morning we drove from there to Harlech.  We rejected the expensive beach car park, and drove up behind the castle where we had parked for free before – a local in a pub had told us about this place.  Then we walked down the hill to the station and caught a train to Llandecwyn, the station just south of the broken bridge over Afon Dwyryd.
At the end we finished the Walk at Harlech Station.  We climbed the hill to our car, had our tea and biscuits, then drove back to our caravan.

My left knee has packed up!  I’ve been having problems with it for the last three months or so, ever since Colin got his bladder problems sorted.  A few weeks back we drove to the Brecon Beacons to climb a small mountain called Sugar Loaf.  I got to the top OK, but as soon as we started on the way down I experienced searing pain through my left knee and both legs ached unbearably.  How I got back to the car I don’t know — it was agony all the way.
I really need a new knee, but persuading the medics is proving problematic.  So far I haven’t got past my GP who has only prescribed painkillers, which are pretty useless.  I am determined not to give up — it would break my heart not to complete the Round-Britain-Walk now we have come so far!  The three Walks we plan to do this time are pretty flat, so I dosed myself up with painkillers and used my walking poles even on the flat and easy bits.  (The knee actually behaved quite well today, which surprised and pleased me.) 
Another problem we had today was that Colin left his rucksack in the caravan!  He didn’t forget his lunch though, so he put it in my rucksack and then carried it for me all day — which was nice for me.  (Oh!  The problems of getting old!)  As we started out Colin said, “It’s good to be walking again!”  Certainly is!
Trains now run over the new bridge from Penrhyndeudraeth, but the road which runs alongside it is far from finished.  They are now talking about next Spring, which will make it over a year since it was closed.  The diversion is miles, and for traffic it involves a one-way convoy north from Llandecwyn Station.  We alighted from the train on to a brand new station!  Another elderly couple also got off the train — they told us they were walking back to Harlech, as we were.  They marched off at great speed, but we sauntered because of my knee.
We couldn’t get any further north than the station platform, it was all fenced off.  We started walking southwards along an unmade road.  There were lots of workmen about wearing hard hats, but most of them seemed to be sitting about doing nothing very much.  We chatted to one of them, and he shrugged when we asked him when the road would be finished.  He said the old bridge had to be removed first.  It was set on wooden posts which are two hundred years old — must have predated the railway.  He said it was made from a Scandinavian hardwood which oozes poison, so they can’t work with it anymore.
We turned on to what looked like a driveway to a house, but there was a kissing gate next to it that led to a footpath.  This opened out to a wide grassy area.  The official Wales Coast Path signed us up a hill, but we stayed on the flat and went round the hill to where the footpath came down again — got to think of my knee!  We could see the other couple ahead, they had climbed the hill.  We didn’t see them again, they marched on too fast for me.  We crossed the railway where there was a warning sign that trains were once more running.
The path continued along the top of a bank but it was uneven and overgrown, and the stiles we had to climb over were distinctly dodgy.  I was finding it difficult.  There was a good parallel track down on the estuary side, but we couldn’t get to it because of a barbed wire fence.  Even when we came to a gate, we found it to be locked with barbed wire looped round the top bars.  The landowner certainly didn’t want us walking down there!  At one point the path was so overgrown and uneven we tried to walk along the bottom of the bank on the field side.  But that was worse and we had no views, so we went back up and slogged on.
We had magnificent views across the estuary towards Portmeirion which gradually revealed itself from behind Ynys Gifftan (a small island) as we walked along.  Later Porthmadog appeared, and we occasionally heard steam train whistles.
We took photos of each other by the barbed wire fence — then I remembered we were at about the 3700mile mark about here.  So we put my camera on a fencepost and took a picture of us together using the timer.  (We should have been a bit nearer Harlech, but who’s counting?)  We came to a path which led out across the estuary to Ynys Gifftan, but the tide was coming in fast so we couldn’t have gone out there even if we’d wanted to — which we didn’t.  There was a gap in the barbed wire fence for this path and, at last, we were able to get on to the nice track along the bottom of the bank on the estuary side.  No more dodgy stiles — but we took it on trust that we would be able to get out at the other end.  (We could, it was quite open.) 
We sat on a wall made of slate blocks to eat our sarnies.  It was quiet and peaceful, very comfy — like an armchair.  Perfick!  We watched a woman shaped like a barrel walk out on to the marshes with her dog.  Another woman jogged past us on the track.  Apart from that, we were alone.
The wall was made from rubbish slates, and some stones were pure calcite — very pretty.  Others seemed to have Art-Deco designs on them, and we wondered about their geological history.  As we set off again, Colin complained about the hot sun and the fact that he hadn’t got a sun hat.  So I lent him mine — I didn’t think the sun was that hot.  We ate blackberries as we walked along — Yum! 
Further on we had to go back on to the bank, but here the path on top was short grass, easy and pleasant to walk.  We came to a corner and were relieved to see that the footbridge (across a small river) we had been expecting was in place — you never know with maps.
From there the view of Portmeirion was even clearer,
and the mountains of Snowdonia looked surreal.
We crossed the bridge, then the path took us out to a road at what we thought might be an old mill.  The building was very pretty with lots of flowers and a clock on the wall.






There were sluice gates there, and notices warning us that there were to be no jet skis (spoilsports!) and giving us the time of high tide, which was about now.






But we didn’t need to get our feet wet, for we turned off that road almost straightaway.  The path took us across fields and gently uphill.  There we turned sharp right, all well signposted with the Wales Coast Path logo.  Then the signs deserted us.  We tried to follow the direction from our OS map — that took us into a hollow where we were faced with a steep bank covered in impenetrable brambles and a high wall along the top.  We couldn’t see any way through.  I wanted to follow the path which crossed the field we were standing in, but it could easily have been a path trodden down by animals (it was).  We argued about it until Colin went round behind what looked like a huge bush.  Round the other side of it we could see that it was a recently fallen tree which was completely obscuring a sloping path leading up to a gate in the wall.  Our way out!  We could only see this from the further side, as we had approached it initially it had just looked like a big bush.
We had to scramble up a steep bank to get round the fallen tree, which was not good for my bad knee.
Through the gate the path led through ferns and gently downhill.
We had fantastic views across the river to Portmeirion and Porthmadog, and we could hear steam train whistles again.
Colin reckoned they were now using the engine we had a free ride on back in July, and that he could tell the difference between the Ffestiniog and the West Highland engines by their sound.  (I wonder…..) 
We came out on a track by a farm — we seemed to have lost the Wales Coast Path logos way back.
The track led down to a big house with a large notice  PRIVATE  attached.  But a gate at the side said “Please close the gate”, so we took this to mean we could walk through even though there were no footpath arrows or signs.  The path led across the front of the house, then through a gate at the other side with the same “Please close the gate” message for walkers going the opposite way.
In a complete contrast, we next walked through a field housing an old caravan (not as old as ours!) with rubbish strewn all about.  We then met up with a track and the Wales Coast Path logos again — where had they been meantime?  We continued through more ferns and kissing gates, one of which was almost obscured by the green fronds.
The path then led through a “pass” behind a small hill where we passed some ugly brown sheep sitting in the shade.  It was very hot and humid, amazing weather for mid-September.  (Back in August we’d sometimes had to put the heating on in the evenings!) 
We came to a farmhouse that had obviously just had a new bathroom fitted, for rubble and an old bath had been dumped by the side of the path.  Again there was no signage, so we assumed we should follow the farmhouse driveway to the gate, then turn left.  We should have cut across in front of the farmhouse — we learnt this from the signs put up for walkers going the other way!  There were none for us.  However, it didn’t make much difference.
We sat on a wall to eat our apples, and while there we watched a shepherd herding sheep — from a quad bike.  The dog was on the quad bike too — how times have changed!  Another dog kept poking its nose round the corner of the farmhouse, then running back out of sight.  It turned out this was not a working dog, just a pet.
We walked through a farmyard, then across a couple of fields to a row of trees.  We came to a concrete road which was straight and boring.  Colin said  “Remember Kirkcudbright Ranges”, so I tried to walk on the grass at the side because I didn’t want another stress fracture in my foot.  It was tedious.  There was no view, it was just straight and concrete.  Colin soon said, “I’ve had enough of this Walk!”  We had planned to continue in a straight line to the beach car park at Harlech, but Colin changed his mind which is unusual for him.  When we came to a diagonal path sloping off through fields to Harlech signposted with the Wales Coast Path logo, he decided he wanted to go that way after all.  We could already see Harlech Castle in the distance.
We crossed a field of grass — that was OK.  The next field was sweetcorn, and the crop was way above our heads.  There was a thin path which sloped off through the crop, but it was not good.  It faded, then disappeared leaving us in a sweetcorn maze.  We walked along the rows in a southwesterly direction (I was using my compass by then) until the rows changed and we had to walk eastwards.  I hated it (I loathe mazes!) and felt completely lost and helpless.
Then we came to a place where it seemed the only way forwards was northwards.  This was ridiculous — is this the much fêted Wales Coastal Path?  (I think I was getting a bit panicky by this stage.)  Were we near the edge of the field?  Yes, we were!  So we battled our way through several rows of corn against the grain, and fell out into clear air!  There was a kissing gate with the logo on it in the nearby corner of the field.
Looking back, we couldn’t see anywhere that the path was supposed to enter the sweetcorn, nor any indication that we should skirt the field round the perimeter. 
I’d had enough by then too!  We crossed several more grass fields, getting ever closer to Harlech castle up on the mountain side.
We crossed a stream on a little bridge where there were lots of ripe blackberries (yum!) and walked through a little wood.  We passed through a bit of new housing estate before we were spat out on to the main road.  There we sat on a seat and ate our chocolate.  We finished the Walk up the road at Harlech Station.
That ended Walk no.359, we shall pick up Walk no.360 next time at Harlech Station.  It was half past four, so the Walk had taken us five hours fifty minutes.  We climbed the hill to our car, had our tea and biscuits, then drove back to our caravan.

Harlech  Castle 
We visited Harlech Castle on a different day.  Building began in 1283 during Edward I’s second campaign.  In the summer of 1286, the busiest time during the building of the castle, nearly 950 men were employed – 227 masons, 115 quarriers, 30 smiths, 22 carpenters and 546 labourers. The stone came from quarries in Anglesey, Caernarfon, Egryn and from the site itself.  It cost £8190 to build, millions in today’s money.
It has a massive gatehouse that probably once provided high-status accommodation for the castle constable and visiting dignitaries.  The sea originally came much closer to Harlech than in modern times, and a water-gate and a long flight of steps leads down from the castle to the former shore, which allowed the castle to be resupplied by sea during sieges.  Harlech Castle withstood the siege of Madog ap Llywelyn between 1294–95, but fell to Owain Glyndŵr in 1404. It became Glyndŵr's residence and military headquarters — at last one of Edward’s castles was in the hands of the Welsh!  But not for long………five years later it was recaptured by the English. 
During the Wars of the Roses, Harlech Castle was held by the Lancastrians for seven years, surrendering to the Yorkists in 1468, a siege memorialised in the song Men of Harlech.  Again this castle was held by the Royalists during the English Civil War, being the last fortification to surrender to the Parliamentarians eventually in 1647 after five years of siege.  The castle was slighted, but it was so robustly built that not much damage was done.
Today it is owned by Cadw, and is a World Heritage site.
--  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  --  ::  -- 

I was so inspired by Harlech Castle that I wrote a story about it.  I must stress that this story is entirely fictional, but I tried to base it against the actual history of the castle.  My story is called:



The  Bastard  Boy

Let me out!  Please!  It was only a little piece of meat!”

How long?  I’ve lost count of the days — months — it seems like years.  It’s dark, I cannot see the rising and setting of the sun.

I’m the Bastard Boy, the lowest of the low in the castle.  I don’t remember my mother, she died of the pox they told me.  They took pity on me because I was useful.  I was small enough to stand in the fireplace corner turning the spit.

The fire scorched my front and the draught froze my back.  But I was lucky because I lived on the rich scraps from the kitchen and slept on the hearth by the dying embers.  Better than starving like the peasants on the mountainside.

We fell on hard times.  We were besieged, and the name Owain Glyndŵr was whispered in fear.  We fought on the battlements, and we held out despite the lack of missiles.  Food was scarce, there was no meat to turn on the spit and little wood to burn on the fire.  We were cold, our stomachs rumbled.

Someone managed to smuggle in a deer.  We scooped up every scrap of the remaining firewood, and soon I was again turning the spit.  Venison!  It smelled good.  I couldn’t resist.  No one was looking as I broke off a small piece of the sizzling meat to put in my mouth.  Then another piece….and another……

I had been seen!  They beat me soundly.  They shut me in behind the wall until I had learned my place.

It is dark, damp, cold.

I could hear them feasting.  I could hear them fighting.     There was silence for a long time.

Again I heard them feasting, fighting, followed by silence — many, many times.

The very walls trembled as if the Devil himself was razing the castle to the ground.

Silence.

Sometimes I could hear the waves pounding on the shore nearby.  The wind continually whined through the battlements.  But never again came the comforting babble of folk feasting.

I think I can hear the sound of people talking.  Of children laughing as they play.  Of strange music against a drumbeat.  Of loud roaring as if the sky itself is falling in.  But I am only dreaming…….always there is the rattle of the wind.

“Oh let me out!  Pleaselet me out!  I know my place now!”



Newsflash

During restoration work at Harlech Castle in North Wales, a young boy’s skeleton was found within a wall cavity.  It is believed to be about 600 years old.

For generations, local residents have told stories of how, on stormy nights, they hear the sound of a weeping child floating on the wind………