All Along the Watchtower

We just checked our blog calendar and saw we haven’t blogged at all this month. We wish we had a good excuse, but we’ve had nothing to say, so rather than bore you with inane ramblings, we figured we’d wait until something came along.

And boy did something come along.

Those who know us are probably sick to death of us telling people about the castle we will own one day. Pipe dreams, yes, but our belief is unwavering. Then we found this. A watchtower.

Cold Knap watchtower

Raven’s Nest

It sits on Watchtower Bay in Cold Knap and the Vale of Glamorgan are putting it up for auction, asking price, £1000. We want it. We even wrote on our memo board telling ourselves to buy it. 001They said it would suit a writer or artist. We’re writers. Dylan Thomas had his boat house in Laugharne, C L Raven could have a watchtower in Barry. Even better, it looks like a castle. And we have plans. Big plans – writers or artists retreat, art gallery, board game nights – imagine playing Game of Thrones, Shadows over Camelot and Cyclades in a watchtower on the beach with only gas lamps. Think of Halloween! We could create our own haunted watchtower! Us and our mate Rich got very excited. He even renamed it Raven’s Nest and we then renamed the bay Ravens Bay. We’ve even circled the place on our map and written ‘Ravens Bay’ by it. It’s official. The tower was ours except for the legal documents. Had the auction been that day, the three of us probably would’ve driven down and bought the tower there and then. We should never be left unattended.

The more we tried convincing our mum that a watchtower was the thing that was missing from our lives, the more we convinced ourselves. Our sister sort of saw the appeal, until we got carried away talking about our flag and the raven symbol we would project into the sky, like the Thundercats alarm. Then she thought we were crazy. If we had money, we’d be dangerous. There’s eccentric then there’s Ravencentric.

these rocks should stop our enemies

these rocks should stop our enemies

On Sunday, Neen bundled her dog Meg into the back of the Mini and we set off the find the watchtower. And it is stunning. It sits on a rocky beach overlooking the freezing brown sea that Barry is famous for. No relaxing blue sea from holiday brochures, it’s just brown. And Cold Knap is ALWAYS cold, even in the summer. The name is not ironic. But that adds to the Gothic beauty of the watchtower. We explored the outside of the tower, hoping to find a low window we could squiggle through.

Lynx climbing to the door

Lynx climbing to the door

Sadly the windows were too high and the shutters for the boat entrance were padlocked. It’s like they knew and were deliberately keeping us out. We climbed the rocks but couldn’t reach the front door so we retreated for plan B – trespass someone’s garden and get in that way. We’re buggers for trespassing.

That failed. But as we lurked, we overheard a man asking someone about the watchtower. Our watchtower. Furious that this interloper was trying to glean inside info, we hung around, listening in and trying not to look suspicious. Bit hard when all the fishermen have seen you trying to find ways inside the tower and heard you openly discussing it. Note to selves – silence the fishermen. Then our rival approached the tower. So we followed him. Instead of going with our first instinct to body barge the man into the sea to drown beneath the freezing brown waves, Neen struck up conversation. Yes we know that’s not how they do it on Game of Thrones but there were witnesses. We had to know what he knew. And he knew more than us. *fists curl*

009He was a cake maker by trade and wants to buy the watchtower to turn it into tea rooms. We could see that working but it’s not as good as our Halloween Watchtower we have planned. He was from Southsea. Think that’s in England somewhere. So he had come a very long way just to look at the watchtower. Wasted trip our friend, that baby is ours. Luckily he wants to keep the tower original. So do we, but that’s mostly because we can’t afford to do much else to it. Although CADW do give out heritage grants…The tower needs repointing. We’ve watched Grand Designs, we can do it. He said he believed they’d installed stairs inside and electricity. “Good,” we said. “They’ve saved us a lot of work after we buy it.” Then he told us they’d opened up the watchtower on Thursday and it looks like they’re planning to do it again this Thursday. We rubbed our chins. We said “how interesting. We might have to come back.” He said the same thing. We smiled at him and eyed the lapping waves.

Meg will be the Raven's Nest guard dog

Meg will be the Raven’s Nest guard dog

He left before we did then as we were leaving, we saw people driving around, looking at the watchtower. “Stop looking at our tower!” we shouted. “Bloody trespassers.” Then we eyed the nearby apartments. People living that close to our watchtower could form a coup. The apartments will have to be flattened. And the cottage behind the tower. And the lifeguard station on the other side of the beach. We will not tolerate coups.

If what our rival said is true, on Thursday, when they roll up the shutters, we will be there. And once we are inside and shouting “squatters rights!” that watchtower will be ours. Then our world take over bid can finally begin…

it will be ours

it will be ours


  1. Now I am convinced you are insane. Thank the stars you dont have money

    • we’re only insane because we have no money. If we were rich, we’d be eccentric 😀

  2. You MUST have it! Check under the cushions for loose change, smash your piggy banks, ANYTHING! 🙂

    • it’s calling to us! It’s the closest we’ll ever come to owning a castle.

  3. Southsea is in Hampshires – half an hour from me.

    Looks like a nice tower. The renovation, maintenance and graffiti removal would be a killer. If it was just a grand, you could make it back over summer for short term writers retreats.

    See the legal pack on the auction –

    • sadly it’s the upkeep we wouldn’t be able to afford. We figured renting it out to writers/artists would pay for the initial buying cost, but we dread to think how much it would cost to renovate.

  4. Croudfund it with Indiegogo…

    • that sounds like a good idea.

      • I hope you two get your “castle”! I just read some more of your blog and you two are fantastic! Keep going like you are, and I bet you will achieve all of your dreams and more. Congrats on the longlist.

        I sooooo wanted to buy that tower the moment I saw it, but being from the USA I would probably have been known as “That weird American guy who lives in the tower and has strange flashing lights and sounds coming from it…” DrBob

      • Thank you:) We’re didn’t get the watchtower. We’re gutted! It sold for £60,000! An architect from London bought it. Hopefully he’ll do something amazing with it, whilst keeping it in the style it is. Though we do like your idea with the lights & sounds. That would be really atmospheric on the lonley beach 😀

      • Crap. I thought it would go for more! I guess I should have paid more attention and actually bought it. Well I do hope the architect does something amazing with it.

      • LOL we were hoping it would be more in the £1000 range which is more our budget 😀

  5. America is sadly lacking of castles. If I wanted one, I’d likely have to build it myself.

    • We have noticed the lack of castles in America. Wales has 641, though most of them are ruins. We live within ten minutes of 3 of beautiful castles 😀 It would be so weird to live somewhere without a castle.

      • I think I’m going to visit there just to see the castles then. Sounds like great fun going around the ruins exploring.

        Funny that I fell in love with castles when I made a pen and ink drawing based on Bodiam castle back when I was in college. Turned out pretty good for a first attempt at drawing buildings. Had an artist friend color it with some wild oil pastel colors for me. Still have it somewhere. I’ll shoot a photo and post a link when I find it.

      • that sounds awesome. Yeah Wales is beautiful with all its ruins and castles. It doesn’t matter many times we visit them, we never get bored.

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