Tint-ah-jull and Misty Cornwall

26 09 2013

BLAM! Beautiful

BLAM! Beautiful

Even now I’m not sure how to pronounce it. I was walking around going “Tint-a-gul” (sort of rhymes with tentacle), but I’m pretty sure someone in England pronouned it like in the post’s title. But it was a very busy trip, so I can’t be expected to remember all these nuances! The important part is to know it’s spelled “Tintagel” so you can look it up on the GPS and go there, because it is AMAZING.

Here’s a good source of info: Trip Advisor. Note that the King Arthur stuff is super dubious at best…but can’t beat its natural vistas.

So we woke up at 4-something in the morning and made the harrowing death-could-be-around-the-bend drive up to Tintagel, this rather cramped (no offense, everything in England feels that way compared to Florida where we just sprawl out and eat up the land), old town. Said GPS told us to go drive down a path that I’m pretty sure is actually impossible to drive down, so we instead parked in a nearby lot and walked (bring change – the lots charge.) You hike down this long path and before long, the water appears on the horizon, with the castle ruins dotting the cliff tops. Despite the cold, I fell instantly in love.

So grand!

So grand!

The reason for waking up early was to attempt to catch Merlin’s Cave at low tide – this is a cave literally below the Tintagel ruins that is flooded at all other tide times.

Merlin's Cave opening

Merlin’s Cave opening

Sadly we missed the lowest point and couldn’t walk completely through, maybe only halfway. I guess we could have gone if we hadn’t minded getting wet, but the water made this crazy vicious sound. Here’re the cave’s insides:

water at the far end

water at the far end

Oh well. I was still excited. See below – that’s me being excited.

Here's me at the cave mouth. Yup, it's pretty big.

Here’s me at the cave mouth. Yup, it’s pretty big.

Anyway, before we walked down to the beach to see the cave, I noticed a potential waterfall:

See it?

See it?

Once on the beach, you get a nice view of it:


There are also these snails everywhere. Seriously. I had to watch my footing constantly because I got so paranoid about crushing one.

Tintagel snail

Tintagel snail

Anyway, we had to wait around for 10:00 a.m. then because the castle doesn’t officially open until then. You can walk around a bit, but the actual ruins are gated off. Besides, we were starving so we decided to skulk around the cafe like vultures (it also opened at 10). This is what they serve at 10 a.m.: cakes. I’m sure they would have made sandwiches too, but cakes are what I saw, and there was no time to waste. Mission accomplished. Finally, it was time to hike up this vertigo-inducing stair case and visit the ruins.

On the way up:

helpful sign

helpful sign

Then the ruins themselves:



I took a ton of ruin pics but won’t post them here…it’s something that looks so much cooler in person that seeing them on a blog is kind of deflating. But I did try my best to capture the vistas:


Anyhow, our next stop was Bodmin Moor. Bodmin Moor is a huge place, but a bit twisty to get to. I wanted to see the Hurlers, and ancient set of 3 stone circles (think Stonehenge, except shorter and you can get right up to them), so we made for Minions. Minions is the tiniest town ever right on the foot of the moor (literally – a parking lot is right by the Hurlers.) But this is great, because we lost a lot of time while getting lost on the way to Liskeard (the GPS could search for Liskeard, not Minions – close enough!) and had to hurry. It was super cold and misty with my ever present sheep:

Sheepie #1

Sheepie #1

Classic stereotypical British moment - sheep in road. I was illogically thrilled.

Classic stereotypical British moment – sheep in road. I was illogically thrilled.

Minions overall looked like this,

misty, misty moor

misty, misty moor

which I thought was pretty cool.

wild horses :)

wild horses 🙂

approaching one of the Hurler's circles

approaching one of the Hurler’s circles

a closer look at the Hurlers

a closer look at the Hurlers

How awesome is this? This is like a complete 180 from Florida.

How awesome is this? This is like a complete 180 from Florida.

We saw the Cheesewring (natural formation of stones) from afar and walked a bit up to it, but ultimately didn’t have time to reach it. Plus, in addition to horses and sheep there are bulls everywhere. You know – cows and bulls. There’s something unnerving about being that close to bulls without a fence separating you, even if they did seem peaceful. It could be a trick.

See the Cheesewring in the distance...

See the Cheesewring in the distance…

So then we had to hurry even more (after eating a baked potato…with beans (!)…called a “jacket potato”) to get over to Marazion, which is in Penzance (the far end of Cornwall). There lies St. Michael’s Mount, which is sort of fairytale-esque. Let me show you:

voila! St. Michael's Mount

voila! St. Michael’s Mount

Does that not look exciting enough? Okay, I agree. This is a source of more exciting, in depth info: National Trust. They have tide times too, which are important.

Things did not go smoothly here. For one, we were too late to get into the house. For another, it was gray, incredibly misty (mist feels fitting on the moor, not as much here), and cold. Not the ideal lighting for photos. We got there before low tide was at its lowest….low tide surfaces the causeway, a stone walkway that takes you from Marazion to the Mount itself. At high tide, it’s covered by water! (Dying of coolness.) We grabbed some food to buy time, planning to at least walk it, but it was officially raining when we got out. We did a partial walk when we first arrived, so we did get the mini-experience:

the half-uncovered causeway to the island

the half-uncovered causeway to the island

people who don't mind being freezing cold

people who don’t mind being freezing cold

Pretty greens and grays

Pretty greens and grays

I should mention that, at least during the castle’s operating hours, a ferry can take you across if the tide is high. We were ultimately just too late in the day. Can’t complain as we saw an amazing amount. The next day we’d be traveling to Portsmouth, which was an adventure in itself…




2 responses

26 09 2013


21 04 2016
Pie Society | Art Stuff by K

[…] Apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin. Good stuff. But in England they have savory pies too. In my trip to England in 2013, I fell in love with Cornwall and, in particular, the Cornish pasty, a savory pie shaped […]

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