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
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