Moel Famau: 25th September 2014.
We started the day with a hill-walk. Not a terribly serious one; I know that moel is Welsh for a gentle, rounded hill. It’s hardly a giant, either, at just 554 metres … or 1818 feet, for those of us who prefer our mountains to be measured in God’s good feet and inches. And, most of the work was done already, for Robert was able to get the coach up to the top of the Bwlch Pen Barras pass, almost halfway up.
Nevertheless, it is the highest hill in the Clwydian Range, giving widespread views … on a clear day, you can see as far away the Isle of Man and the Cumbrian hills.
We were met by Countryside Officer David Shiel, who was to walk with us, and tell us about the hill, and the Jubilee Tower at its summit.
The foundation stone for this was laid in 1810, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of King George III, although work didn’t start on it until nearly three years later. When completed, the building was a grand obelisk, inspired by recent discoveries in Egypt. Alas, architect Thomas Harrison failed to take into account the weather on the top of even the slightest hills; after being repaired several times, the tower collapsed completely in 1862.
Now, all that remains is the lower storey … which, nevertheless, is often visited, especially for ‘celebratory gatherings’, such as solstices and New Year’s Eve.
We didn’t go all the way up to the tower anyway; we were a bit tight for time, and we had another call to make.