some thumbnails of my illustrations

some thumbnails of my illustrations
Please click on the links below to view my portfolio ........ Images copyright of Carrie Osborne

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The ruined majesty of Cerreg Cennen...

On the way home from our week in North Pembrokeshire we just had to visit Cerreg Cennen teetering high and still defiant on its windblown crag!

This has to be the most dramatic castle in Wales, growing up out of the bedrock of a sheer cliff face 300 feet obove the River Cennen in the valley below at the edge of the Black Mountains . I took so many pictures of this place it was hard to whittle them down, but I'd be uploading them all night otherwise! It's just magnificent!

We used to visit a lot of castles both the Welsh and the Edward I strongholds before the children arrived and have always loved them and their vivid, sometimes livid histories. Visiting castles with the children is quite a different experience in some ways. Its thrilling to be able to show them these exciting sites, but I am less absorbed in the castle and more heart in mouth at the sheer bone shattering drops and teetering stairways into ragged open-topped towers as I cling tight to little hands and yell 'Don't run towards the edge!' slightly neurotically...

Extremely vertical!

The real mindblowing glory of this castle is when you first cross the inner ward and look out of the cliff-side windows... the view is stunning, huge and unexpected as the land drops away and away in green swathes... Photos just can't do it justice...

Look closely, you can see the Ravens flying far below us

The children had so much to explore, even climbing inside a small vaulted oven like a cave which set me thinking of dark old fairy tales with crafty, ravenous hags... Its believed the site was an Iron Age Hillfort before the Welsh Princes built the first castle here in 1197 ish, though it was eventually taken by King Edward I. Here's one little cave Elora found in the cliff...

Best of all this castle even has a secret tunnel! You can hire torches to explore the secret tunnel that runs from a steep passageway on through a natural cave, very dark, very slippery and even with game, brave little children we've never yet managed to get to the end... maybe next time though...
Down below, the access to the castle is a working farm with ancient old barns and a lovely renovated cafe with tables made out of old milk churns and slabs of oak. There's a collection on always display in one of the old stable blocks of various old Victorian farm implements... I have no idea what many of these are for but it is fascinating.
They're all hoarded in a rusted jumble of dusty sunbeams with swallows flying in and out nesting in the beams, click on the picture to see some of it in more detail...

While we were in the gloom of the barn, there came a low rumbling noise that gathered and grew. At first I thought a tractor must be going past but it grew and grew and continued on and on again, I wondered what on earth it was... Emerging back out into the bright sunlight it turned out to be part of a chapter of Bikers out on a road trip, quite a sight... (and sound!)
They told me there were 500 of them altogether but around 100 of them had come to the castle that day, so much chrome and leather! I always enjoy chatting to Bikers, they're always really friendly chaps in my experience and one obligingly posed for me!

All in all a good way to round off our week away, and a week full of lovely memories to ease the way back into work and school. I have one more Welsh post in mind to share soon, I hope you all enjoyed this one and I'd highly recommend seeing Cerreg Cenen for yourselves if you can!


  1. I love castles. Thanks for some glorious pictures of this one.

  2. It looks a glorious place Carrie, something to add to my list of places to visit, although looking at all those steps I might have to wait until Ian's off his crutches! Love the bikers too, like you I've always found them to be great fun and easy to chat to, even on mass!

  3. Sigh, I love castles...unfortunately OZ is a little in short supply! Fantastic photos Carrie, and I'd be exactly the same as to take my girls and would then spend the whole time worried sick they'd slide off the side of a cliff...ah, motherhood, specially designed to give us grey hairs!!!

  4. Everything about that place - inside and out - is stunning! The views are unreal. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos of your visit. Like Kate, I shall have to put it on my list of places to see. One day...

  5. What a breathtaking place, another castle fan here! Beautiful picture Carrie, i'm getting on that to do list! :-)

  6. Wonderful place... I`m in love! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is just so wonderful, a treat for me in Saskatchewan, Canada. I've dreamed of wild, craggy castles but have never seen one in real life. How amazing to live where you do, with access to all this beautiful culture!

    I'm grateful you shared this, and I looked in.


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