Bamburgh Castle   (Northumberland)

Bamburgh Castle


Ancient castle (much reconstructed) on the North Sea coast; seat of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bernicia; impressive skyline; still lived in (apartments); this area of the country gives one the shivers if you are into Vikings and lost causes and all that great stuff--it all happened around here--wonderful treachery on an epic basis (the castle on LINDISFARNE Island is nearby, a nice little bit of reconstruction by Lutyens); there is a great book by Gordon Honeycombe, an ex-BBC newscaster, called Dragon under the Hill that covers this subject--inexplicably out of print for years, might not have ever been printed in the US.

Grobius Shortling presents
Castles and Ancient Monuments of Great Britain

What is this obsession with castles? It may be that they subconsciously denote security for some personalities -- solid walls to keep the demons and other enemies out, if not necessarily the bad weather. History shows, of course, that castles were anything but secure in the long run; you're better off camping in the woods. Architecturally, and logically, they are fascinating examples of human art, and the good builders did not ignore aesthetic qualities. Only the great gothic cathedrals showed more skill and ingenuity. The histories and the bad ends most castles came to are also poignant examples of hubris and futility. However, there was a lot of political and social oppression at the base, so it is just as well we can now only enjoy these buildings as picturesque tourist attractions for the most part.

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Bamburgh Castle (with sand castle) Lindisfarne
Maybe I'm idiotic, but I get a charge out of building sand castles in front of real castles. Mouseover Pic to see what I mean.