Anglesey Woodland Festival

Anglesey Woodland Festival

Date

29 September 2018

Location

Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey
SH 52085 69639; 53.20317°N, 4.21601°W

Information

Anglesey Woodland Festival;
Plas Newydd;
More posts in the Plas Newydd series

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The Great Strait Raft Run I

Great Strait Raft Run

Date

4 June 2017

Location

Britannia Bridge
SH 54165 70870; 53.21480°N, 4.18546°W

Information

The Great Strait Raft Run is an annual event that raises funds for local causes. The route along the Menai Strait is approximately 6 km long and starts from Y Felinheli and ends in Menai Bridge, passing under the Britannia Bridge, past Ynys Gored Goch, and under the Menai Suspension Bridge. The raft run started in 1984 but was discontinued later that decade with it being restarted in 2002.

Further Reading

Great Strait Raft Run (official site);
Britannia Bridge;
Menai Strait

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Weeping Window, Caernarfon

Weeping Window, Caernarfon Castle

Weeping Window, Caernarfon Castle. The similarity of the base of the artwork to the claw of a Welsh dragon is coincidental and was a result of restrictions on the depth that can be spiked at certain areas because of underlying archaeological remains.

Date

15 October 2016

Location

Caernarfon Castle
SH 47827 62667; 53.13935°N, 4.27639°W

Information

The ceramic-poppy art installation Weeping Window, created by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper as part of the 2014 Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, is on display at Caernarfon Castle from 11 October until 20 November 2016.

Further Reading

Weeping Window, Perth;
Weeping Window… by day (Liverpool);
Weeping Window… by night (Liverpool);
Caernarfon Castle

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Colour Run, Llandudno

Colour Run, Llandudno

Colour Run, Llandudno

Date

15 May 2016

Location

West Shore Beach, Llandudno
SH 77016 82086; 53.32135°N, 3.84780°W

Information

The Colour Run in aid of St David’s Hospice was held on West Shore Beach in Llandudno with more than 1,000 people taking part. This was one of two such events organised by the charity in 2016, the other one having taken place earlier in Pwllheli. The first ever colour run was held in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona and the concept has since grown internationally with a for-profit company franchising events which are often organised in conjunction with charities. With a focus on fun, the 5k run is an untimed race in which participants are showered with coloured powders at kilometre stations along the route. The idea drew inspiration from the Hindu Holi festival.

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, is a major event in India and is held on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February/March). The festival commemorates events in Hindu mythology and is also a celebration of the arrival of spring. Social conventions are relaxed in the merrymaking which traditionally involves the consumption of food and drink containing bhang, an intoxicating cannabis-based ingredient. On the eve of Holi large bonfires are attended and on the day itself people gather together to cover each other with coloured water and powders.

Further Reading

St David’s Hospice

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Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015

Edinburgh's Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Date

26 December 2015

Location

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
NT 25411 73849; 55.95184°N, 3.19604°W

St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh
NT 25571 74115; 55.95425°N, 3.19355°W

Information

Edinburgh’s Christmas is a programme of events and activities taking place in a number of sites in the city centre from 20 November 2015 until 4 January 2016. St Andrew’s Square hosts the Scottish Market, an ice rink and a show venue The Spiegeltent. Located in East Princes Street Gardens are various funfair attractions – including a Ferris wheel, helter skelter and ice rink – together with a traditional European Christmas market.

Further Reading

Edinburgh’s Christmas

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Anglesey Woodland Festival

Eagle Owl

Eagle Owl

Date

26 September 2015

The tenth annual Anglesey Woodland Festival was held in Dairy Wood in the grounds of Plas Newydd on 26 and 27 September 2015. The free event is organised by the Ynys Mon Outdoor Learning Wales Network Group and the National Trust.

Location

Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey
SH 52085 69639; 53.20317°N, 4.21601°W

Information

Plas Newydd;
More posts in the Plas Newydd series

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Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle

Date

19 July 2015

Location

Abergele, Conwy
SH 92909 77524; 53.28382°N, 3.60778°W

Information

The original 12th-century Norman castle at Gwrych was rebuilt by the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffydd later in the century, and was destroyed in the 17th century by the Roundheads during the English Civil War. The current Gothic-Revival folly was built from 1819 to 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh on the site of an Elizabethan house belonging to his mother’s forebears the Lloyds of Gwyrch.

Lloyd’s son Robert Bamford-Hesketh (1826-1894) left the property to his daughter and sole heir Winifred Bamford-Hesketh (1859-1924), who in 1878 had become the Countess of Dundonald upon her arranged marriage to Douglas Mackinnon Baillie Hamilton Cochrane (1852-1935), 12th Earl of Dundonald. When they married, Cochrane was a Captain in the British Army and was later to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General. He served in the First Boer War (1880-1881), the Second Boer War (1899-1902), in which he was Commander of the Mounted Brigade, and the First World War (1914-1918). The couple had two sons and three daughters. Cochrane, however, spent most of his time in his native Scotland while Winifred lived at Gwrych Castle until her death in 1924, when she left the property to King George V. The bequest was, however, refused and the property passed to the Welsh Church. Cochrane later bought the castle back for £70,000, an acquisition that was financed by subsequently selling off its contents.

During the Second World War Gwrych was requisitioned by the Government and served as a hostel run by Jewish youth movement Bnei Akiva to house 200 refugee children saved by the ‘British Schindler’ Sir Nicholas Winton (1909-2015) as part of operation Kindertransport.

The 13th Earl of Dundonald sold the property in 1946 for £12,000 to Robert Rennie and two years later it was bought by Leslie Salts who opened the castle to the public for 20 years as ‘The Showplace of Wales’. In the 1950s world middleweight champion Randolph Turpin trained in the castle for his re-match against Sugar Ray Robinson. In the subsequent period up until its final closure in 1985 it had a number of different owners and in the 1970s it served as a venue for medieval banquets, markets and jousting.

Nick Tavaglione, an American businessman, bought the castle in 1989 with plans to convert it into a hotel and opera house. These were never realised though and the abandoned castle subsequently fell into disrepair with damage from travellers and vandals. In 1998 its roof and floors collapsed and it was later ravaged by fire, leaving only the shell of the structure standing. In 2007 it was bought by Clayton Hotels who intended to convert it into a 5-star hotel. However, having spent £500,000 on the site, the company later went into administration and the castle was sold in April 2010 to family-run business Edwards Property Management (EPM-UK), which had been founded in 2005 as a holiday-lettings management company.

EPM-UK together with its sister company Castell Developments were granted detailed planning permission in 2013 for plans for a £25 million scheme to convert the castle into a 77-bedroom luxury country house hotel and spa. The enterprise is currently seeking financial backers for the project.

Architectural historian and author Mark Baker, who had published his first book on the history of Gwrych Castle at age 13, founded A Society for the Friends of Gwrych in 1997, which was renamed the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust and registered as a charity in 2001. The Trust was set up to raise awareness of the castle and to work towards securing a solution for its restoration and it facilitated the 2007 sale of the property. With the cooperation of the current owners and financial support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Trust has embarked upon a three-year project to renovate the castle outbuildings and convert the Melon House and conservatory into a visitor centre. Clearance work for this started in March 2014 and the first building to be restored, the Gardeners’ Tower, was available for viewing by the public in an open weekend in July 2015. It took 10 volunteers six months to restore the tower, the first floor of which had been used as a writing room by Winifred Bamford-Hesketh, with its basement serving as the gardeners’ mess.

Gwyrch Castle is a Grade I listed building.

Further Reading

Gwrych Castle (2010);
Gwrych Castle (Wikipedia);
Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust;
Reopening Abergele’s Gwrych Castle ‘a dream come true’ (BBC News, 18 July 2015)

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