Home & Away

By HeidiAndDolly

Carisbrooke Castle, Isle Of Wight

When I am camping, I love being able to go on an outing without having to drive somewhere. So I was happy when I found out that this wacky campsite (see yesterday’s blip) was almost at the foot of Carisbrooke Castle, which I had hoped to visit while on the island.

So, after a relaxing morning, I walked about 10 minutes and spent the afternoon at the castle. This Norman castle stands on what was originally a hillfort, offering protection from Vikings. It has been used for many things in its long history. During the Civil War, Charles I was imprisoned here before his execution, and his daughter Princess Elizabeth later died here. The castle has been a private home for much of its history, housing Lords, Captains and Governors, and the buildings much altered through the years, especially during medieval times and later under Queen Elizabeth I. The last Governor to live here was Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter. She had parts of the castle modernised from 1913 and used it as her summer residence until 1938. The castle is mostly a tourist attraction now (English Heritage) but is still used for some island ceremonies.

Things to see here are a ruined mansion, a chapel, the Norman Keep and wall walk, a museum, Princess Beatrice’s garden and a donkey wheel. There are four very well taken care of donkeys here, providing demonstrations of how the only water for the castle and village was drawn up from a very deep well. These donkeys actually have a contract! Stating that they can work no more than 6 minutes a day! They take turns doing the demonstration in which they turn the wheel just twice, which means they actually work only 2-4 minutes a day. Life was not so good for the donkeys in history when they really were relied on to provide water for a whole village.

It was a very pleasant afternoon’s outing on another sunny warm day on the island.

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