What Goes Up: Climbing (REALLY STEEP) Towers in Wales


A view looking up from one of the perfectly circular towers at Conwy Castle

The picture above, taken during my trip to northern Wales with one of my best friends in October, depicts a view looking up one of the towers at the castle in Conwy. Built by Edward I of England in the 1280s, Conwy Castle was part of a ring of castles around Wales used by Edward to subdue and maintain control of Wales during his conquest in the thirteenth century. These castles are among the best medieval castles preserved in the United Kingdom.

My friend Megan and I climbed up every single one of the eight towers at Conwy Castle (after little sleep and a three-hour train journey). Now, I’m not one to shy away from physical activity, but climbing up tower after tower after tower while toting around a heavy backpack is really not my piece of cake. But at the same time, the views from the top of these castles cannot be beat, not by anything I’ve ever seen before. And. I. Do. Not. Lie. See below:

View from one of the arrow slits in the castle
View of the village of Conwy from the castle walls
The River Conwy from the castle walls

You see, the views were rather magnificent. But, it is one thing to see these pictures and another to be there. That is why I’d love to go back in the future. Megan came in from London, and I from Lancaster. While we were in Wales, Megan and I mostly went to the castles at Conwy and Caernarfon. Probably the most fascinating thing about the castles in northern Wales is the exquisite shape in which they are maintained. That being said, the staircases in both castles were rather narrow and dangerous at times. There were thick rope railings, but if someone was climbing up behind you, your hand may very well have been jammed against the stone wall. Yowch.

That Saturday we toured the castle at Conwy. After a wonderful night at a small, cozy hostel in Caernarfon (courtesy of Rick Steves, who Megan is rather fond of), we toured the other castle. It has been said that the castle in Conwy is in a better area, but the actual castle in Caernarfon was the better castle in terms of preservation. Caernarfon was much more massive than the one in Conwy, and tramping up all those towers (with little sleep and my heavy backpack to boot) very much wore me out by the end of the day.

But, I ramble on. I shall end with a simple statement and another picture. Wales was lovely. The people were lovely, the castles were lovely, and the places themselves were lovely. Minus narrowly missing the train back to Lancaster due to the VERY ‘reliable’ British transportation system, the trip was amazing.

View of Caernarfon Castle

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