Since taking up road cycling, one of my most popular destinations, or stop-off locations is castles. This started mainly due to the convenience of many castles having excellent cafes either on-site, or very close by…and most of these cafes have amazing coffee making facilities, so things were off to a good start.
Putting the coffee to one side for a moment, it’s impossible to not be impressed at the sight of some castles. Besides their dramatic and awesome architecture, they’re also doorways back into history and back into times of conquest and oppression.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
Some of the most iconic castles in Wales were built under the command of Edward I during his two conquests of Wales in the 13th century. A total of 8 castles were built by Longshanks with Flint Castle being his first in 1277. Then followed castles in Builth, Aberystwyth, Rhuddlan, Harlech, Caernarfon, Conwy and Beaumaris, although construction on the final castle in Beaumaris was not completed. Edward’s castles were extremely formidable weapons of war and the sheer magnificance of them can still be seen today with Conwy and Caernarfon both excellent examples.
However, it should not be forgotten that these castles were used to subjugate the Welsh and crush her uprisings.