Monday, May 01, 2006

Jolly Hols!

Back from Cornwall and a jolly good time was had by all - M, me and dog. We're both a lot fitter and look fairly tanned though from the wind rather than the sun. Had a good mix of walking, relaxing, reading, knitting, more walking, sampling the local pasties etc.

Stayed down on the Pendeen headland which because of the number of shipwrecks had a lighthouse built on it in 1900. Until then, there was just a watchtower and a row of coastguard cottages further up the cliff top. Before the lighthouse was built not quite sure what happened when a ship was in difficulties and whether they lit a beacon or shone a light which wasn't always visible. Anyway the row of old coastguard cottages was bought from Trinity House (who run the coastguard system) by the manager of Geevor mine and gradually seem to have been sold off over the years. This is the row of old coastguard cottages and where we stayed - the lighthouse is just down the road from the cottages. It was interesting that there are loads of original features in the cottages such as fireplaces with the Trinity House anchor emblem, floor to ceiling pine dressers which were built into the living room, boot scrapers built into the outside wall. We meant to get photos and annoyed that we forgot. This is taken from the South West coastal footpath.

One of the joys of the holiday was that we were able to do really good long walks from the house and didn't have to drive or use the car. On the Sat we walked from the cottage down to Cape Cornwall taking in the old Levant workings which are large scale for this country with a wealth of features such as buddles, settlement pits, wooden sluices etc. We've been so near these workings in the past but never actually got to explore them.

Just up and over the brow of the hill is the Levant engine house which is one of the very few remaining steam powered pumping engines left in the country. As its owned by the National Trust they still operate it over Bank Holiday and summer weekends - we have yet to see it in action!
These are the engine houses at Botallack, they're perched right on the edge of the cliffs and with a bit of care and effort can get down to them. Unfortunately Tess (our border collie) has no sense of spatial awareness whatsoever so on this visit decided to give them a miss.

Then along over Roscommon and down into the Kenidjack valley where we explored yet more industrial remains before making our selves comfy on the cliffs and just basking in the sun and watching the waves.

Don't know that I've seen M look so happy and perfectly relaxed for a while but he's had loads of remains to explore and just enjoyed hot apple juice and some yummy cakes from the local bakery.

On the Mon did a 30km circular walk whereby we went up through the village of Pendeen, along much of what used to be part of the Tinners Way. Apparently this is a route based on ancient pathways which was originally used for transporting tin and copper from some of the mines down ships waiting at St Ives

Took in some of the Scheduled Ancient Monuments such as Men-an-tol (shown below), the Nine Maidens stone circle and Men Scryfa Inscribed Stone.

Cut down past Carn Galver which is a rocky outcrop that isn't particularly mountainous but impressive in it's setting and probably where much of the stone for these monuments, boundaries etc came from. Much of this walk was pleasantly familiar but there's been lots of scrub clearance around the monuments which means they're a lot more visible but in some ways don't know that something hasn't been lost. Perhaps it's that they stand out in the landscape rather than were fully intergrated into it previously. Lots of the landscape on this walk does have a very ancient feel about it and especially in the field patterns down near the coast. It's always fun reading the map for this area as well when you have wonderful place names such as Woon Gumpas Common and Eureka Farm - it conjures up all kinds of images. Eventually past Rosemergy cut down to the coastal path and back to the cottage.

On Wed drove down to Cape Cornwall and walked from there down to Lands End and back again - a 20km walk. When the sun was out it was hot and thankfully there was a good stiff breeze or it would have been quite hard going. Thankfully managed to miss the theme park at Lands End though did have to call into the gift shop on the headland and treat ourselves to Roskilly icecream. M had mint choc chip and I had wild cherry which was the best I've had for a long time. Reminded me of Italian ice cream which is hardly surprising since apparently they use the best Italian equipment and cream from their own Jersey cows. Walking back through Sennen fortunately found a hotel which was just about still serving up food and managed to get crab sandwiches. There's nothing to beat sandwiches made with locally caught crab and eaten outdoors at the seaside!!


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