More castles for my New Years Resolution!

Published: Tuesday 30th Dec 2014

Written by: Ginnie James

Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day! Actually maybe not, but I hope everyone has had as good a time as my family and I. We have had Queen Elsa on roller boots living with us for the past few days and while it’s been lovely that our little one has been enjoying herself so much, the dog has spent most of his time getting out of the way! Now is the time I start looking forward to the New Year and pondering what my New Year’s Resolution should be.

I haven’t done too badly sticking to my resolutions the last few years although I must admit I haven’t chosen many big challenges, instead aiming for more achievable goals such as attempting more proper cooking at home. This year I feel my castles calling me again! I have been watching ‘Britain: A Fortified History’ on BBC 4 and seeing on there one of my college lecturers got me reminiscing about my student days, traipsing over muddy fields to look at earth works and bumping along in a very old Land Rover to study local heritage sites.

Castles have been in the news as well this past week. Cadw (the government body responsible for the historic environment of Wales) have recorded an increase in visitor numbers over its 129 sites in both 2013 and 2014 with Laugharne Castle aided by the Dylan Thomas factor in his centenary year, and Strata Florida Abbey which celebrated 850 years, doing especially well this year.

To visit all 200 odd main castle sites in Wales in one year may not be achievable, or practical with a little girl who might not be able to appreciate the relevance of a few mounds and a pile of stones in the landscape or understand why Mummy wants to visit them (!) but I want to try and grab any opportunity that arises to discover or re-discover as many castles as I can.

What may catch my daughter’s attention could be the way that Cadw and other organisations are now harnessing the power of CGI and aerial tours. It is now easy for everyone to see what many of our great castles would have looked like in all their glory with digital restoration and Cadw even have a YouTube channel where, among other related short videos, you can view their series Castles from the Clouds.

Cadw and many other heritage sites run a full programme of events throughout the year and I think my little one, who will be turning 5 in May, is getting to the stage where she would really enjoy some of the events. Maybe not full battle re-enactments or cinema screenings quite yet but a Bird of Prey demonstration or a Knights and Princesses day would be right up her street – as long as she got a go with the sword as well of course!

I will have to start doing my research as what events are planned where for 2015 and see which ones I can get to go some way towards fulfilling my resolution. I’ll have the list soon and get it up on the blog. Has anyone else got any heritage-themed resolutions or is it just me??!

Ginnie James
Ginnie James



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