What a day! We had been expecting heavy rain today, according to the weather forecast, but it turned out to be at least intermittently sunny all day, the late afternoon was particularly bright. We set off for the southwest tip at a brisk 9℃. It never got warmer than 12℃ all day, accompanied by a persistent strong wind. You know you are in England when the weather takes up so much of your attention.
One of our main destinations was St Michael’s Mount, a castle built on a rock outcrop just offshore. It is connected to the mainland by a cobbled causeway. On arrival we were nearly blown away by the fierce wind as we walked across the wide flat sands of the bay. Shortly after joining the causeway it started to rain, but as is by now familiar, it stopped after only a few minutes.
The path up to the castle was a little challenging – large rough stones. OH&S would not have approved. I’d be surprised if a few people a day didn’t come to grief here. The views from ramparts were well worth it. Watching the cloud shadows scud across the sands was rather novel. The castle is still a family home, despite it being managed by the National Trust. In the bluw sitting room there were various photos of royal visitors, including the Queen and Phil, and Price Charles and Camilla, so there! As you may by now have guessed, I am a big fan of stained glass, and the chapel did not disappoint. The windows contained medallions collected all over Europe, some dating as back as the 15th century. My favourites though are all Victorian.
The castle of course has its own church.
When it was time to return to the mainland, we discovered to our considerable surprise that we were now marooned, as the tide had come in and completely submerged the causeway. Fortunately a fleet of small boats were on hand to ferry visitors back over the water. It’s surprising however, how quickly the tide had come in – we had only been there about two hours.
We then set off further along the coast toward Land’s End, viewing the delightfully named Mousehole (pronounced muzzle) enroute.
Now of course it’s silly to make a big fuss about “Land’s End” (good marketing way back then), but we felt that we had to go there anyway. As it turned out the landscape was far more interesting and dramatic than we had expected. We spent a long time walking along the cliffs and watching the waves crash into offshore rock outcrops. All this accompanied by low temperature, high winds and strong sunshine. My photochromatic lenses turned so dark I had to take them off to see properly! Also, Joan’s face has turned a much deeper shade of red than it does under the Aussie sun.
From Land’s End we took the scenic coastal road to St Ives, our last stop. The landscape is quite different from what we have encountered so far. It featured a large patchwork of small bright green fields edged of course by stone walls. We were able to enjoy this vista from the heights of the road as it snaked across the hills above. What an absolute delight! Halfway to St Ives we stopped for Cornish Cream Tea at a wayside cottage. The clotted cream was yummy.
St Ives is a picturesque seaside town with houses built on hillsides leading down to a working harbour. In the late afternoon light it was an impressive sight.