Conwy and Ilam

Conwy and Ilam
Conwy, United Kingdom

Conwy, United Kingdom


“Ello alma, where are you?…we’re on oliday”

Conwy looked pretty on the way past yesterday, was recommended by several and is another walled city for my list. Of two, I think, both from this trip, but all lists start somewhere. So that’s where I headed.

I started the day with a run. To head straight down the hill or up? I’d had a look at the up the evening before so went that way, knowing it wasn’t rocky all the way. About half a mile up is a Neolithic burial mound, then there’s a grassy track leading off to the right, and up, but the up put me off and I decided to stay in the footsteps of Macro and Cato and keep to the roman road. It ended well, with the road undulating before opening out ahead of me with a view of the estuary. Even with that view I decided to carry on a bit, making it over the next bump for an even better view before turning back, sticking to the same path rather than taking on the descent to the village and the hill up. It’s 1 in 3!

But I sort of wish I’d done it.

Conwy is a lovely town, compact in the way medieval walled cities tend to have to be-they weren’t walking off space for millions. The quiet of the wharf was temporarily broken by the conversation up top, but I ignored them. I managed the city walls walk, though they’re not as wide and comfortable as the Derry walls. There’s just one tower for you to go up, with the views your reward, though the battlements are low enough to give me pause.

Big pause. Like a bear.

People were out in force, with scouse accents the most common. I passed a dad and son, the former repeatedly intoning “come on mummy,” I think in a bid to have his toddler pick it up and use it whenever mummy did, finally, hurry up. I didn’t stay for the denouement, but wandered on, spotting the noisy phone lady at the visitors’ centre, boring the bloke at the next table. “We’re from the West Midlands” her partner said, in a broad brummy accent. “No ****,” I added, in my special quiet voice.

I left the castle alone and instead paid a visit to the oldest house in the village, Aberconwy house, from the 14th century, which is a remarkable survivor. The Victorians tore down everything else, but this medieval house remains, with enthusiastic volunteers. No fans of the Victorians, these. I must check whether the stories force origins of ‘cross the threshold’ and ‘burn the candle (or rush light, as was) at both ends, as my apocryphal alarm was ringing loud.

To get out of the sun I dipped into the library. The Telegraph really is a rag, at least till you get to the comment and features section where it looks like there may be a modicum of journalism going on. A highlight was the chap who had thought it worth writing in to say “I suggest that on the birth of the royal baby all the church bells throughout the land should chime in celebration to herald its safe arrival”. Were I to criticise, I would barely know where to start. With a long journey to Ilam hall ahead I left, enjoying some proper traffic congestion at last. How I have missed it-the M6, I love you. But I made it in plenty of time for a bike ride and to enjoy the special atmosphere given by a large church group. There must be better ways to advertise yourself-group of friends, anyone?

Congleton parkrun in the morning, then kicking about somewhere Nationally Trusted, probably, till I can check in at Stow-on-the-Wold(er, fire in the sky-ies).

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