It’s always good to soar the skies and take a look at some castles from the air, and it was my privilege to do that today. And what a fabulous flight it was…
Being new to the skies around Gwynedd, I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful both the castles and the mountains would look from the perspective of height. As we got airborne, the geography of the place took on a new meaning. I saw the vast expanse of sea and the little waves lapping at the sandy shoreline beside the airfield before we reached the height of the majestic mountains of Snowdonia.
We flew south, admiring the superb views, and soon I was able to see Harlech Castle, sitting proudly on its prominent rocky seat looking out to sea. I’m always moved by the sight of a castle from the air, but this was something else. In such a special setting, it was pure joy to be able to catch some images from above and to appreciate its perspective within the landscape. It’s further back from the coastline nowadays, but the sea originally came up to the rocks on which it sits. Nevertheless, there’s no denying it’s still a very imposing castle. It’s easy to imagine the impact its presence would have had on the Welsh when it was built, with its huge white, lime-washed walls and the sea lapping at the rocks below.
As we flew back, I couldn’t resist photographing the stunning mountains as Snowdon held court among her shrouded sisters. It was a humbling sight.
Before we landed, we flew a little further up the coast, where I was able to photograph the full glory of Caernarfon. The pinnacle of Edward’s Welsh building project is no less impressive from the air, and you can clearly see the extent of the ‘bastide’ walls that encircled the English enclave in the 13th Century. It’s not often you get to see castles in this way, so I appreciated every minute looking down on these magnificent feats of medieval engineering.
Back on terra firma, I looked through my photographs, barely believing what I’d just experienced. This flight was one in a million, and the sights of the castles and the mountains from 2000ft up in the air mean this will be a day I’ll never forget.
So tomorrow, we’ll pick up the story from the aftermath of the 1294-5 Welsh uprising, and look towards the completion of my Quest on Saturday. But no tour of the ‘Iron Ring’ would be complete without a ground visit to the dramatic statement in stone that is Harlech…