27th Sep 2012 - Cornwall England
St Michael's Mount and exploring the coastline
About a 25 minute drive to St Michael's Mount - very exciting. Weather was so so again but you gotta get out and do it.
The island looked inviting and fortunately we times it so that the tide was still rising so we could walk across to the island and take the boat back. National Trust property so free for us to get in. Lovely walk along the beach to the cobbled walkway that take you across to the island - about a 20 minute walk in all. Evidently this is one of Cornwall's iconic landmarks. The walkway gets submerged in the rising tide.
There has been a monastery here since the 5th century and after the Norman Conquest the island was given to the Benedictine monks of Mont St Michael in Normandy who built a new chapel in 1135. It was later a fortified stronghold. It now belongs to the St Aubyn family who still live there and a tiny village of people who live and work there. They have owned it since the 1700's. Also a mythical giant who lived on the island and used to wade ashore and steal cattle until one night he was lured into a pit and slain.
Firstly we went though the subtropical garden - only open on certain days of the week (hence us going Thursday or Friday). It rose from the sea edge up steep granite cliffs. Gorgeous gardens and lots of exotic plants from around the world. Then on up to the actual castle itself - a bit of a climb up with lots of steps and uneven cobbles and stones. Would hate it if raining or icy. Great views all around and the actual house itself was reasonably interesting. unfortunately we were behind a school group and about a third of the way around managed to squeeze past them so could look at things in relative peace. Then back down and had a small lunch at the cafe before catching the boat £2 I think back across to the mainland. A very slick procedure - each small boat taking 14-18 people and about 5 minutes from boarding to unloading. Back to the car - haha Martin had left the side lights on so no battery - luckily it evidently happens all the time and the parking attendant had a battery charger . Lovely place to visit and I would say to allow 3-4 hours if not longer.
Then we drove to Penzance. I remember the Poldark novels and have wanted to visit here forever. Sadly it wasn't quite what i thought - narrow one way streets and lots and lots of traffic - pleased Martin was driving. I said to him not to stop as i just didn't feel it but did take one lovely photo from the side of the hill.
Then we drove up the coast to Chapel Porth - recommended by National Trust and Lonely Planet - tucked away in a river valley - said to be tiny and it was. As it was National Trust free parking for us. The reason to visit here - walking up along the cliffs in either direction as they are quite dramatic. Had a quick cup of tea from the little cafe there and then headed up the north side (right hand side looking out to the sea). This was a good decision as although up and up and up the track was good and then we came across the abandoned Wheal Coates Mine - interesting site and also the last bits of the heather and yellow gorse flowers which made it all look so good. Spent about two hours here walking and exploring.
Again a lovely day - back to the cottage and a little bit of sun left although cold so sat outside the cottage and read - lasted all of ten minutes but I did it. Martin cooked dinner - lamb steaks - delicious.
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