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Castle Travelogues or

Adventures in Castle Hunting

by Jeffrey L. Thomas

 


Going through some old files on my computer recently I came across a couple of essays I had written describing our castle adventures in Wales. (I know, there's nothing more boring than reading about someone else's trips and looking at their photos.) My wife and I have visited Wales several times, although unfortunately, not recently. It’s (obviously) our favorite place to visit, partly because of the wonderful medieval and ancient history, and partly because much of my ancestry is Welsh. My Thomas ancestors were coal and iron miners from Brynmawr, in what used to be Breconshire (now Blaenau Gwent). They emigrated to the U.S. circa 1850 and settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the epicenter of Welsh America during its golden era.

My essays don't necessarily mention a lot castle history, but rather tell the story of where we traveled, where we stayed, and which castles and other sites we visited. I have attempted to use whenever possible photographs that were taken on the trip being mentioned. For some of my earlier trips original photos have been scanned and edited, however they are smaller and lack the quality of later digital photographs. (These were the days before digital cameras were available.) Creating this page and adding essays will be an ongoing project that I will attempt to complete as my time permits. At this point I have completed four essays, 1992, 2002, 2004 & 2006. As always, I welcome your comments.


1992 Trip: Our very first trip to England and Wales; the trip that sparked my obsession with Welsh castles and Welsh history.
1994 Trip: Back to England and Wales. York, Conwy, north Wales, followed by a visit to St. David's and surrounds. Castles, cathedrals, and more.
1995 Trip: Stratford-Upon-Avon, Betws-y-Coed, and Wiltshire. Lots of adventures in Wales with a slice of England on either side.
1996 Trip: An all-Wales Trip. The Gower Peninsula, Snowdonia & Anglesey in north Wales. and Llangollen and the Dee Valley. Beautiful!
1998 Trip: A three-week adventure in Britain but only a couple of days in Wales. Most of  trip was spent in the Lake District, Northumberland, and Scotland.
1999 Trip: Ten days in Arundel and London just before Christmas. (Sorry, no Wales this time). It was great to see how Christmas is celebrated in England.
2002 Trip: Exploring the castles and dramatic landscapes found in Mid-Wales, Shropshire, and South Wales. Several lesser-castle sites visited.
2004 Trip: Adventures in wild western Wales, off the beaten track and away from the crowds. Owain Glyn Dwr trail and native Welsh castles were the priority.
2006 Trip: Visiting castles and other ancient sites found in North Wales, followed by genealogy research trips to Brynmawr, and Shipham, Somerset.
2009 Trip: A more leisurely all-Wales trip, visiting northwest Wales, mid-Wales, and the Dee and Ceiriog Valleys. Beautiful countryside and lots of castles.
2012 Trip: London, Oxford, The Cotswolds, and North & Southeast Wales.

 


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