A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Hooptedoodle #228 - A Few Days Away

View of the bridge over the Dee at Chester - yes, the actual bridge by which
Charles I left the city after the Bad Day at Rowton Heath - legend has it that
they put up sheets of hide to conceal his departure - you'd think the townspeople
would have suspected something though, eh? 
We spent a few days this week in Chester and in Denbighshire - very pleasant. As part of our fitness preparation for the Alps we walked up Moel Famau, in the Clwydian Range, and of course it rained - but why would you want to walk in the Welsh hills in atypical conditions?

Once again I had a vague idea about stretching the Welsh bit of the trip to include the battlefield of Montgomery, but it was really too far for the time we had available, so I shall content myself with a tabletop game based on Montgomery in the near future (note for self). Considering the wealth of good eating and drinking places in Chester, I was a bit unlucky to get a touch of mild food poisoning on the first night, so my diet was largely bottled water and Immodium tablets for the next few days, but I survived.

We hit crazy traffic queues on the way home, on the M6, on Friday, but otherwise we had no logistical problems at all - very easy travelling. Here are a few pictures - just to give a flavour of our trip!

Bunter Sandstone - the reason why Chester is a red city, and the reason why the walls
need constant refurbishment - the stuff weathers quite rapidly. The Victorians did a
lot of improvement to the walls, which is the sort of thing the Victorians did, and
they often destroyed the real history while they were about it, but in this case
there would probably be no walls left at all if they hadn't.

The King's Tower - formerly the Phoenix Tower - from which Charles I
may or may not have been able to watch the Rowton Heath disaster unfolding

And suddenly I find someone has put me in my miniature Tey Pottery ECW
siege town - Chester's Rows - as you see, the place has had a coat of paint and a
few new businesses have opened up...

Just a brief moment of hope for us old guys, and then you realise the place has closed
down. The worst bit is the notice you can't read, which states "SORRY FOR ANY
INCONVENIENCE". Not with a bang, my friends, but a whimper.

Please take note

We called at Conwy to visit the castle, which is a phenomenal place

The lovely, peaceful town of Ruthin

Back to my siege town - here's the original of another of my Tey buildings -
this is Ruthin's Old Courthouse - now a bank

Monument to a local hero - the racing driver Tom Pryce, who was killed
in a freak accident at Kyalami in 1977

This, of course, is one of the chief reasons we were in Wales - pleasing view
of the Clwydian hills, taken from our B&B, on a farm near Pwllglas, about
4 miles from Ruthin. These are not very spectacular, really, but it's a lovely area.

Foy the Younger on top of the Jubilee Tower, at the summit of Moel Famau.
The Victorians at work again - they felt it was necessary to build a tower
on the top to make the hill up to the full 2000 feet, so that it would class as a
mountain. This, again, is the sort of thing that the Victorians did, and they
saw fit to dedicate it to Queen Victoria, as a monument to their own
victory over Nature. Bless them. Last time I climbed up here was in 1963
(I am astounded to calculate), and the tower was a heap of rubble
- it's been restored since then, though it's a bit battered.

This may not be very high, but it's a rugged old puff up to the top! 

It was raining, of course, on the hills, but we were comforted to see that it was
mostly dry and sunny in the valley below.


  1. Great to see your travel photos! Planning an Alps adventure? Do tell more.

    1. Thanks Jonathan - no, not really an adventure - we are going on holiday to Austria again after a 3 year break. It won't be anything very impressive - we like quiet mountain resorts in off-season for skiers! The Austrians are very matter of fact when it comes to describing hiking trails and so on; in 2012, for example, we went up the Rosannaschlucht trail, near St Anton in Arlberg, which was described as "an excellent family walk - moderate climbs and wonderful views" - hmmm. It was a wonderful walk, but there were some hefty climbs (in very thin air), at one point we had to creep between the roots of a fallen tree and at another we were about 1200 feet above a river gorge, with only markers to stop my varifocals pitching me into the void. Nothing actually dangerous of course, but it would have to be a fit family to enjoy this! Thus we always try to tune up a bit before we go! We may get a walk in the Pentlands in a week or so, to further the cause.

    2. Staking out a summer bivouac at a ski resort in the Alps is a perfect opportunity to take up mountain biking if hiking seems too perilous. Be careful, my friend.

  2. Nice to see your siege town for real - will you be adding a scale model of Conway castle?

    1. That would be something - not sure where I could store it - it might have to be a feature in the garden rockery.

      My siege town is becoming another unscheduled collection - it is likely to be the subject of another niche-market post in a day or so, after I sort it out and work out what I've got...