May 5: Drive to Wales

We booked a custom tour with a company from Wales called Celticos. Our driver and guide picked us up at our Liverpool hotel. When we left it was lightly raining, something no weather forecast had mentioned.

We had to head south to cross under the Mersey River then back up north to drive west into Wales. We stopped in Flint, where Edward I built one of his early castles in Wales on the river Dee.

Edward I built most of the castles we were going to look at. He started in the 1270s with trying to conquer Wales after his father Henry III died in 1273. He completed his conquest (legally) in 1283. The last castle he built before the conquest was Rhuddlan.

We took a couple of detours including the graveyard of St. Margaret’s church where Canadian soldiers were buried because they had died in the unsanitary barracks awaiting return to Canada after WWI. Some rioted when they learned their transport home had been diverted to transport American troops instead. They were shot and some died.

We also looked at the site of the Roman fort of Canovium, which was excavated then covered up, at the landowner’s request. Lambs are now running above the ruins.

Our last stop was in Conway, one of Edward I’s great fortifications, which was not only a castle but an entire walled town for the English inhabitants–the Welsh were not trusted and not allowed within the walls. The town and castle are now the most visited in Wales.

Also in the town is an Elizabethan townhouse. I visited while Scott ring shopped. He would have not liked the steep steep staircases.

We then drove on to our hotel in Felinheli on the Strait of Menai. The area was once a centre for slate mining. It was also the site of the last Welsh victory over the English on November 12, 1282.

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