The rain of yesterday vanished overnight, thank heavens, since this is my last day in West Cornwall (aka the Cornish Riviera, according to the train conductor!) and I wanted to be outdoors.
I set off with my daypack after breakfast at the B&B and walked the four miles to the small town of Marazion, most of it along the beach, since it was low tide. In fact, children, dogs and their minders were able to venture quite far out for their shoreline frolics, and it was a treat to see them romping in the sunshine. It was also a joy to take off my shoes and walk in the sand.
I headed to St. Michael’s Mount, a castle built on a rocky offshore island that is only accessible on foot when the tide is out.
It has belonged to the St. Aubyn family for hundreds of years, but they now allow the National Heritage Trust to operate tours there with the proviso that the family can remain. Once upon a time, an entire village of workers lived in island housing and served the castle, but there are only about 30 there now. Only certain rooms are open to the public, of course, but it was still a lovely outing. (Of course, my phone chose today to act up, so the photos I include here are taken from the Visit Cornwall site and credited to others.)
I walked across the cobbled causeway and took a tour of the village at the base of the island, then headed to the café for some lunch before the climb to the castle. (I learned this strategy yesterday when I arrived at the tin mine hungry, but found the café line too long and skipped it. By the time I’d toured the mine and returned to the café, they were out of everything but cakes.)
I ended up sitting and visiting with a couple from California and their three children. They both had English roots; he had grown up in nearby Devon and had visited Cornwall as a child. It was a delightful way to enjoy my real Cornish pasty.
After enjoying the castle, I made my way back to the village and discovered that the tide was in, so it was a boat ride back to Marazion. From there, I caught a bus to Penzance. Just as I hopped off, I saw the bus to Mousehole waiting and climbed aboard for a trip to a locale three or four miles on the other side of Penzance. Mousehole gets its name from its small, circular cove where kids swim and pleasure boats anchor. It’s a charming village with stone buildings climbing the hillside and cute shops that cater to tourists and locals alike. I sat and had my last real Cornish cream tea with local clotted cream and jam as I looked out on the water. Yummy victuals, delicious view.
Fortified, I walked the coastal path back through the fishing hamlet of Newlyn, home to the area’s commercial fishing fleet. It’s always fun to see the activity at a real, working harbour, and as I rounded the corner, refrigerator trucks were waiting to load a fresh catch for distribution elsewhere.
Cornwall has been wonderful. Things I especially enjoyed: the hedgerows bursting with colour; the beaches; the rocky shores reminiscent of British Columbia; the traces of Cornish language (e.g., Penwith Peninsula); and the smuggling history. So much that I didn’t see, but that’s always the case, alas.
Tomorrow, it’s back to the big city and some deadlines that await me.