Ilkeston Cam On Holiday In North Wales 2000

Part Eight - Conwy

Ancient And Modern

Modern fishing boats and pleasure craft nestle beneath the ancient walls of Conwy Castle in what is one of the best preserved mediaeval fortified towns in Europe. Begun in 1283 during the reign of Edward I, the castle remarkably took only four years to build and changed hands many times before finally succumbing to the Parliamentarians in 1646. On the other side of the castle, situated on the harbour wall is a memorial to much more recent history. I doubt whether the plaque that is already showing signs of wear and tear after less than forty years, will survive as long as the castle.

Conwy is a town of contrasts. The Aquarium, also situated on the harbour and built within the old town walls, attracts many visitors in the Summer season despite the warnings to 'Keep Clear' and 'Beware of the Sharks'. Meanwhile the pleasant gardens alongside the busy approach road to the town do not appear to attract the the same numbers as the bustling harbour.

The harbour itself is a hive of activity - yachts and pleasure boats of all sizes abound to attract the visitors while local fishermen can often be seen mending their nets. It is not without its excitement too. While we were there, a car supposedly parked, rolled sedately down the slip way, narrowly missed two ladies on the beach, floated out into the harbour and sank without trace.

The art of a news photographer is to be in the right place at the right time which probably means that I'll never be a news photographer! I was looking round the Smallest House when the car submerged and by the time I reached the harbour wall there was not a ripple to be seen.

The gull below though, standing atop another vehicle, was still looking on in amazement and disbelief.

Another reason why I'll never be a great photographer is that the only image I captured of another of Conwy's historic buildings was grossly over-exposed. Despite extensive work to correct it, the black and white image below left is the best I could achieve. In desperation therefore, I have scanned the image below right from a tourist brochure to illustrate the splendour of Plas Mawr.

The detail right is also from the same brochure.
Yet another building of historical importance graces the streets of Conwy. Now owned by the National Trust and housing a museum and exhibition as well as a gift shop, Aberconwy House is a fourteenth century timber framed house. It is the only survivor in the town of this type of house which were commonplace in the town in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. But the contrasts of Conwy are still apparent - notice the twentieth century traffic lights, motor vehicles and of course the giant ice cream cone suspended opposite!

Yes there is much to compare and contrast in Conwy but it is all enhanced by the magnificent setting. The views across a tranquil sea with boats bobbing gently on the water 'neath a brightening sky serve only to leave a lasting impression of the town. Just one more reason why, like Caernarfon, it is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Continued in Part 9 - The Great Orme

Other parts in this series:
1- Llandudno & Llanrwst; 2 - Betwys-y-Coed; 3 - Bangor; 4 - Llyn Ogwen & Llanfair;
5 - Caernarfon & Blaenau Ffestiniog; 6 - Bodelwyddan & Rhos-On-Sea; 7 - Conwy Bridges & Smallest House
& 10 - Llandudno Town.


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