26th Sep 2012 - Cornwall England
Poldark Mine and Pendennis Castle
Miserable and rainy today and Martin's day for planning what we did although we had a fair idea what else we wanted to do.
Cooked an English brekkie - bacon, farm fresh eggs from the owner of the cottage and toast with a pot of coffee.
Headed off mid morning to Poldark Mine - about a 15-20 minute drive south of our cottage along a lovely road towards Helston. Hardly anyone there which was lovely. The main purpose for coming here was to do the "most atmospheric mine tour in Britain and the only complete underground tin mine open to the public". The only other major mine in Europe that does complete tours like this is the salt mines in Poland. The main purpose was to actually do the mine tour. Whilst waiting for the next tour we spent time out of the rain inside the various buildings. Lots of outside stuff to do such as goldpanning and searcing for gem stones. Also inside stuff for kids like pottery, ceramics, candle dipping and sand art and not too expensive either. We saw athe last Cornish Beam pumping Engine to work commercially and the only one still pumping water from a mine. Interesting exhibit on the story of cornish miners who left and travelled the world and a few interesting films.
However the main highlight was the tour. Got a bit nervous with all the safety equipment as well as a good level of fitness for going down 150-160 feet. The guide was excellent and there was about 20 of us and took an hour. we went down and down and down and then climbed up and up and up - lots of steps but acquitted myself well. Lots of really narrow passage ways as well as had to crouch over a lot - I can see now why they insist on a hard hat. One lady piked out half way down - bit annoying as he had said minutes before there was an easy alternative route but to speak now and he would show the way - so she decides in one of the narrowest passages and a message had to be passed from the back to the front and then he had to try and squeeze past everyone to get to her. It was very atmospheric and quite scary as I do not like small dark cramped underground spaces. I have thoughts of getting stuck forever... I did enjoy it though. Out in the big bright world it was still drizzling. Decided to go to Pendennis Castle in Falmouth - English Heritage property so free to get into - situated on a peninsula at one end of Falmouth which appeared to be a gorgeous town in its own right. The Castle was lovely in nice open space. Showers came and went but sun in between. Had a quick sandwich and cup of tea and signed up for the tour of the gun sites etc - it did have a more proper sounding name which I cant remember but well worth it. Had two guides both of whom had been to different parts of New Zealand and as Martin and I were the only ones on it had a good gas bag about all things wonderful downunder. The woman guide was quite definite about emigrating in the near furture with partner and children. Saying that living in Cornwall wouldnt be that awlful but evidently difficult to get work.
Watched the airforce or army helicopter practice manouveres and trugged up the steps to to the top of the castle tower with spectacular views at the top. Great place for an afternoon or morning out particularly with kids. Brought some fruit wine at the gift shop which we imbibed that evening. Wonderful day out.
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