When I was in primary school I visited what I remember as, the most epic and brilliant place in the world, ever.
A castle with walls a thousand feet tall. Within these walls were houses made from poo and straw, chain mail that you could touch and hold, a gift shop which sold tiny models of cannons which I would imagine were used there years ago.
For effect there were pretend heads on spikes, gallows and stocks. A village within a castle, which held a million tales of the past.
Mount Fitchet castle!
Now a 32 year old boy, I still often plan to visit this magical place again, which is what nearly happened last week.
I had some collections to do for work in the van, I dragged my eldest boy Zach along for the company.
We finished our collections early and our last stop was in Cambridge. During our journey back home we passed a sign on the M11 saying ‘Mount Fitchet castle’ All the magical memories came back and I felt soh lucky to have been taken there as a kid.
Obviously the only fair thing to have done was to take Zach there too, so he also could stand in awe at the vast impenetrable walls and wonder how many arrows and swords had fallen at their foundations.
Well, between us we had 3 sat navs, 1 in the van and 1 on each of our phones and none of them could locate the castles, which made sense, as we were now back in time where satellite navigation systems had not yet been invented.
One of our devises did notify us with its usual “you have reached your destination” voice, but as we tried to turn around in the poor sod’s driveway we noticed the sign next to the front door saying ‘this is NOT Mount Fitchet castle, NO coaches’
We asked several local people for directions, none of which were able to help us and the sign posts just led us around in circles.
As we frustratingly drove around we did discuss how odd it was that we couldn’t see the castle in the distance. I would have thought it would be casting a giant eerie shadow over the small village that housed it. Maybe seen the turrets over the trees or a glimpse of stone wall through the bushes.
Eventually we gave up and pulled into a small car park to smash the sat nav up and as we did, we saw this big pile of pallet wood……’Mount fitchet castle’
At first the disbelief, Then the realisation that along with monstermunch, Mount Fitchet castle may have just seemed bigger when I was smaller.
I still wanted to go in though, and when Zach had finished laughing at the oversized mannequin soldier, uncomfortably stuffed into the tiny archer tower, I asked him if he still wanted to go in but he just kept laughing.
In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken him there whilst he was younger.
I have since been told, by a reliable source, my friend Tristan the electrician (Electristan) that is in fact a scale replica of the original castle which stood there all those years ago.
I guess people were much smaller back then. Probably before the invention of metal, when swords were made of straw.