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I love the town of Conwy and  have been intending to visit since I arrived here, partly to have a walk around the castle and is walls, but mainly to check up on how the Herring Gulls are behaving down in the harbour. Conwy has a large population of Herring Gulls and they can be seen and heard throughout the town at all times of the day and often much of the night too!

I arrived quite late on a variably grey, showery and sunny day, a good day for taking photographs as I think clouds add an interesting dimension and reflect the true character of Welsh summer weather. I walked around the castle and along a short section of the wall, then to the bridge and from there down to the harbour. I took just a few photographs of the castle and am adding a very brief account of it; there are plenty of really good sites on the internet for anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating place. (This is a very detailed one  http://www.castlewales.com)

Conwy is regarded as one Europe’s finest surviving medieval towns, a status that is attributed to the preservation of both its castle and the intact town walls. It is also beautifully situated on the Conwy estuary.

The history of the castle is very well documented, but words on a page and the best photographs cannot properly do justice to its grandeur and presence. The guidebook published by CADW, the Welsh Historic Trust, simply states: “Conwy is by any standards one of the great fortresses of medieval Europe.”

6/8/11- Two of the eight castle towers, as seen from the harbour

Conwy along with Harlech is probably the most impressive of all the Welsh castles. Both were designed by Edward I’s master castle builder James of St. George, and while Harlech has a more storied past, Conwy’s eight massive towers and high curtain wall are more impressive than those at Harlech.

6/8/11-Conway castle walls-view through a firing position opening

The walls of Conwy are judged the finest in Britain. They are completely intact and still give the impression of enclosing and protecting the town. It is possible to walk around the town along the wall. The circuit of the wall is 3/4 of a mile in length, with 21 towers at regular intervals of about 46m. The wall is 1.68m thick and 9m high, with towers rising to 15m. 

6/8/11-Conwy estuary at high tide, viewed from the bridge
6/8/11-The harbour viewed from the bridge
6/8/11-Conwy castle, bridge and harbour under grey rainclouds
6/8/11-Sculpture ‘Mytilus edulis’ by Graeme Mitcheson; carved in Kilkenny limestone

Conwy is famous for its Mussels and there is a ‘factory’ here in the harbour, not a very attractive one I might add, where the shellfish are processed. I love the sculpture, it looks beautiful and is very tactile.

6/8/11- A Herring Gull keeps lookout over the harbour

There were very few Herring Gulls around and about in the harbour area this afternoon and those there were on the whole very quiet and well-behaved. There were a few brief outbursts amongst them, all of them involving adult birds chasing away young ones.

An adult Herring Gull calming down after a chase
6/8/11- A young Herring Gull watching me over it shoulder

There were quite a number of Black-headed Gulls here, initially all swimming about on the water close to the harbour wall, but then one by one becoming restless and taking off and flying around the moored boats before returning.

6/8/11-Black-headed Gull with traces of dark head plumage remaining

They are attractive little gulls and look almost dainty compared to the big Herring Gulls. Most of them here have taken on or are in the process of losing the dark heads of their summer/breeding plumage and have just the dark spots either side of the head. Their red legs are clearly visible as they paddled around in the water of the harbour.

6/8/11-An individual with traces of dark head still visible
6/8/11-Black-headed Gull with completely white head and dark spots of non-breeding plumage

I could not resist one last photograph of the Smallest House in Great Britain, another of Conwy’s claims to fame. It’s usually almost impossible to see as when it is open it has people around it, as well as a lady dressed in traditional Welsh costume standing outside.

6/8/11- Another Conwy claim to fame; the Smallest House in Great Britain