Just back from the Crime Writers’ Association conference in the fine town of Abergavenny. Eating, drinking and admiring the Castle ruins were interspersed by several impressively gruesome lectures, and on Saturday afternoon one of our number kindly led a convoy of cars out of town to visit Garway Church.
I have to confess there was some anxiety as the distance grew longer, the lanes narrower and the countryside more remote. The sight of our leader leaning out of his vehicle to ask directions did not inspire confidence, but at least it dispelled our growing fear that we had been following the wrong car around the Welsh hills and unintentionally terrifying a total stranger.
Within the privacy of our own car it was uncharitably suggested that since there are an awful lot of crime writers, luring a few of them into the hills and losing them might be a cunning plan to eliminate some of the competition.
Only later did we discover that somebody had turned the signpost round – but when we got to Garway, it was worth the effort.
The stone building that is now St Michael’s Church was originally put up by the Templars, but luckily enough of it was knocked down later to make it ineligible for a role in The Da Vinci Code. Thus it remains peaceful, remote and stunningly atmospheric. Here’s a shot of the graveyard, sprinkled with daffodils.
Most of this tower is part of the original twelfth century building. The curving foundations in the foreground mark the site of the Templars’ circular nave. The tower does not lean sideways, but it seems the photographer did.
The photos on the Garway website are much better than mine (and uncluttered with crime writers pondering how to fit Templars into their plots) so I’ll sign off here with a shot that might capture some of the atmosphere if not the architecture…