I had never been to Wales before, and quite frankly it was entirely off of my radar. Thankfully our round-about tour brought us to the incredibly friendly country that is definitely worth exploration on its own.
From the ferry we noticed a white castle-like building that was begging us for a visit, so we headed in its direction once we debarked.
We passed the Old Harbour in Holyhead, quite picturesque – until you see the warning sign that tells of the wreck of the SS Castilion – a munitions carrier still holding unexploded cargo!
You may notice the Welsh translation – a language entirely over my head. Fascinatingly enough, you can still hear it being spoken in the streets and shops, by young and old alike.
Both my husband and I would find ourselves straining to hear the captivating linguistics of Welsh conversation, though we didn’t understand a word! To our untrained ears it sounded very much like English – but NOT!
Though the sounds were English-y, the words do not follow English rules as you can see by the sign below – I couldn’t even figure out pronunciation!
Really, how do you say ‘wrthrychau’? or ‘ymyl’?
We couldn’t get enough, we loved it! And our fascinated eavesdropping would serve us well in a few hours when the shops were closing and we were looking for goods. Our befuddled-ness would not go unnoticed in Caernarfon!
The road to the mysterious abandoned ‘white castle’ was NARROW, single lane-d, winding and partially walled. I can admit to being frightened of potential on coming traffic.
There would be no way to avoid a collision, if you encountered someone coming around one of the many blind corners.
We drove unbearably slowly on our tiny spare tire (changed while in Ireland), slightly paranoid to get stuck far off the beaten path – without cell phones.
We justified that it was early in the day, and adventuring abandoned sites is one of our favourite past-times.
It turns out the ‘white castle’ is actually called ‘Soldiers Point House’. I managed to find an old photo of Soldiers Point from anglesey.info.
In the older photo you get a good view of the location and can even see the church-like building in the background. At one time this was quite a splendid residence.
(Soldiers Point House) Was originally owned by the architect who designed the breakwater. It became a hotel for some years and was eventually abandoned. The adjacent building was used as a recording studio.
Apparently the home was also used a hotel run by a set of siblings, and during WW2 its ‘folly towers’ were used as pillboxes.
Unfortunately, not long after our visit, the building was gutted by fire while being lived in by homeless people. Thankfully, there are plans to convert the old Victorian home into Holyhead’s Maritime Museum.
We continued to walk behind the building to find what looked like an Abbey of sorts, though it certainly may not have been – it was so covered in vegetation it was impossible for us to tell what it was (aside from gorgeous!).
The landscape wild and overgrown, it was difficult to imagine what the location might have been like during its ‘heyday’ after initial construction in the late 1800’s.
Though I love exploring abandoned architecture, I am pleased to hear it will be refurbished to its previous glory, to be appreciated for years to come.
Many additional photos in the slideshow.
- Soldiers Point Hotel (geotopoi.wordpress.com)
- Soldiers Point House (uer.ca)
- SS Castilion (wikipedia)
- Welsh Language (wikipedia)