England 2006

July 18, 2006 – Day 5b

Storming the Castle

Here are all of today’s photos

Day 5b: Storming the Castle

This way to WarwickWith the morning’s tour of Stratford-upon-Avon and lunch behind us, we head up to Warwick Castle for the afternoon’s events.

Warwick Castle traces its history, like the Tower of London, back to William the Conqueror, who built the original earthen mound and fortress in 1068. That mound is still present as the rear wall of Warwick Castle (more pictures to come).

Warwick Castle is claimed to be England’s “best preserved medieval castle”, and it shows!

After we park, we make our way up to the castle… Kathy and Andrew pose for a nice picture. Melanie is a goofball.

Warwick CastleKathy and I were here five years ago, so this is another “for the children ™” event.

Our first view of Warwick Castle is impressive, with its towers and ramparts silhouetted against the brilliant blue sky:

Warwick CastleThe castle is surrounded by the typical “moat” ditch, but according to written historical records, this was not a pretty water-filled moat… instead, it was used as the trash dump, with waste products ranging from food, used water, human waste, and dead animals were tossed into this gap…

It served a useful purpose during times when the castle was under siege, as the attackers could not get a good foothold in the festering slime at the bottom of the pit.

Once inside, the lighting was much better, and I got some really nice shots of the castle walls and towers:

Warwick CastleWarwick Castle

Warwick CastleWarwick Castle

Warwick CastleThis was exactly what you’d expect a “castle” to look like in every respect… oh, and remember the “back wall built by William the Conqueror” I mentioned earlier?

Here ya go:

Teenage stock treatmentOne thing I *did* like was how they treated mis-behaving teenagers…

I gotta get me one of these!

We sat in the shade and watched a *fantastic* live bird show… they had owls, vultures, and several kinds of eagles… I got a couple of nice shots here, too:

Warwick bird show - owlWarwick bird show - eagle

Warwick Ghosts Alive!Next up was the new attraction, “Warwick Ghosts Alive!!!” This was a “haunted house” show that actually “brought to life” a real event that happened in the “Ghost Tower” — Sir Fulke Greville’s murder and the subsequent “hauntings” that have been recorded over the years. It wasn’t here last time, so this was new to Kathy and me this time!

Warwick TowersThis was *REALLY* funny, as Mel wanted to do this and Kathy was nervous… they both made a point of almost hiding behind Andrew and I as we got close to the entrance, but as it came time to usher us into the tour, I deftly got those two to the front of the line, so they were convenient targets for the entire time!!! They screamed at every “boo” the “ghosts” threw at us… good times!!!

The “Ghost Tower” itself really was pretty creepy looking:

My children, though, are not creepy looking:

Andrew inside WarwickMelanie and Warwick

Now it’s time to storm the castle walls and ramparts, as we ascend the 400-some-odd stairs to the upper tower and rampart walls to get the most magnificent views of the castle and the surrounding countryside. These pictures really do not do the views justice:

Warwick Castle rampart viewsWarwick Castle rampart views

Warwick Castle rampart viewsWarwick Castle shadow

Warwick Castle rampart viewsWarwick Castle rampart views

Better view of Warwick

The Balettie Bunch atop Warwick CastleHere’s a shot of the four of us at the top of the tallest tower with Warwick Cathedral in the distance:

Torture harnessFrom the highest point to the lowest point… we hit the DUNGEON!!!! Prisoners were hung from this metal body harness… ew.

Dungeon pitBut worse… others were stuffed through this tiny hole (now covered by a grating) into a pit below and left to die! Wow. Hardcore.

(okay… next up will be the trebuchet show!!!)