“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Nelson Mandela
Well, I don’t think he was referring to geographical features but in the Clwydian Range you can take this quite literally.
The range of hill lies on the border between Denbighshire and Flintshire in Wales and has been classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1985. The highest hill is Moel Famau (555m) with the Jubilee Tower on its summit. And even though the tower marked a joyous occasion it’s kind of a sad story really.
The Jubilee Tower was built to commemorate the golden jubilee of King George III in 1810. Designed by Thomas Harrison of Chester it was supposed to look like an Egyptian obelisk with three tiers. Supposed to – due to a lack of funds it was never completed and a major storm brought down the incomplete tower in 1862. The remaining upper part of the tower was demolished for safety reasons, leaving just the base. Rubble and smaller stonework was reused by local farmers for dry stone walls.
So instead of finding a magnificent structure, you are rewarded with spectacular views across the Wirral and Merseyside to the east and across to the coast, Snowdonia and the Dee Valley to the west and south.
You can also see the chain of Iron Age Hillforts that follow the range on the other hill tops. About 2500 years ago these peaks were occupied and defended and had huge earth ramparts constructed around them.
You might think, that being on the highest hill already it would be quite easy to visit these. Not quite. It goes down. And up. A lot.
All the while during my hike I didn’t quite know where to look because the views were so beautiful all the time. And once I had left Moel Famau it was so quiet. No man-made noise, just me and nature.