Orford Castle and the Oregon Trail

I didn’t mention yesterday, but I’m currently down visiting my parents for a weekend. It’s always nice to come back to their house because although it’s not really my “home” any more (I’m just too attached to my own things, not least the far more sensible way that I arrange my fridge) it’s still comfortable to be here.We decided to spend the day out at Orford, which is a small town on the Suffolk coast. It’s not been the most stunning weather of late, but the forecast wasn’t shocking so we decided that we’d brave it. It was incredibly worth the effort. Orford is a lovely town, very quaint and with an adorable quay where we stopped for a crab sandwich and a look at the boats. From there we went on a little stroll before heading back to Orford Castle.

Orford Castle Keep (borrowed from English Heritage)

All that is left of the castle now is the keep, but it used to be a Motte and Bailey – which you will remember if you have recently been to a year 6 history lesson is a solidly built stone keep on top of a hill with an outer wall at the bottom of the hill, for defensive purposes.

The castle looks small from the outside, and to be honest we weren’t sure it was worth the price. But we went for it anyway, and I am so glad we did. Even though it’s quite bare on the inside it absolutely comes alive when you start listening to the audio guide (which is free!). You’re lead around the castle by a woman with a great radio voice and the Chaplain of the castle who is good for a few laughs. In 40 minutes I felt like I’d learnt the whole history of the castle without getting bored once. Not to mention there is a fantastic view from the top.
Oh, and I mentioned the Oregon Trail in the title.
The reason I’ve got the Oregon Trail on the brain is because one of the perks of staying with my parents is that I get to re-explore our collection of books, which happens to include one of my childhood favourites, a diary of a 13 year old girl on the Oregon Trail. I love anything historical and the Oregon Trail has always fascinated me because I can’t imagine having the bravery to pack my life into a wagon and move into what was basically uncharted territory (at least for the farming folk who decided to do the packing up and the moving). I’m not sure manifest destiny is something I can really approve of because I have too many “views”, but the stories still amaze me.
If you don’t know anything about it, get finding out, because it’s really fascinating.

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