Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 14: Nottingham

We left Caswell Bay at 11am after a mishap with the kitchen sink and headed for Nottingham. Cazy ignored the satnav's suggested route and double-backed across the Severn. On the way, I saw a banner strung up on a home in Swansea that said, “Her deeds will shame the devils in hell.” As Maggie Thatcher has recently passed, it could only be her that inspired such public vitriol.

We arrived in Nottingham at 3:20pm and checked in. I was anxious because the last admission to Nottingham Castle is at 4pm.

We legged it along Nottingham Canal and took a few wrong turns but followed Castle Boulevard and Castle Road. We bolted up the hill leading to the castle entrance. Cazy was always several steps ahead of me which was lucky because at 3:59pm they were shutting the gates. We hurried in, thusly shut inside.

You - shall - not - pass!

I was immediately dismayed to not find the fabled castle or indeed any significant buildings that dated before the 17th century. A children’s playground is on the level grassed hill that contained a 12th/13th century inner bailey. We circulated the much later residence which had been gutted by fire but restored - this land on Castle Rock was once owned by a very unpopular fellow who opposed a bill to give more voting rights to the common folk. So they burned his domain.

I'd burn his house because of that creepy statue.

It’s easy to see why William the Conquerer built a wooden castle on Castle Rock in 1067 - what a view! You can gaze down on all of Nottingham. We took many photos of the view before turning our attention to the “young” garden. We found the original 13th century bridge that would have crossed a moat to the middle bailey.

Ye olde bridge.

It was devastating not to see the castle that inspired legends. At least we got to see the base of one of the original towers. A friendly security guard took our photo and he then released us onto the street. I immediately spied a red telephone box nearby.

We walked at a much slower pace down the hill, finding an old 14th century building across the lane (it had been moved from its original position) before inspecting a Robin Hood statue. We studied the various tunnels and holes in the side of Castle Rock (sandstone, which is very easy to chip into - I thought this a tactical error on William I’s part, frankly, because anyone could dig in underneath!). We passed Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a pub which is much older than the newer “castle”.

Robin Hood takes aim at Nottingham Castle.
Currently in the hotel, surviving without wifi - I feel as though a limb has been lopped off.


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