18 July 2012
Journey to Tintagel ~ Part 1
After 3 nights in Looe, it was time to leave. I'm finding that I wish I had more time in each place, maybe 4 or 5 days each. Somehow, there just isn't time to see and do everything I want to do! Now I have so many reasons to return, and hope that I get to do that someday! I made one last stop in the town of Looe to fill up the car and to purchase stamps to mail some postcards to my family. It's a lovely place and it was nice to see it one last time!
The hedgerows around this area of Cornwall are high and the lanes quiet narrow! It makes for interesting driving should you happen to meet a car coming the opposite direction! Thankfully, there are lots of spots with a widened passing area, which helps. If not, then one car has to back up until there is a wide spot! While the hedges appear at first glance to be all trees and shrubs, in reality, there are either dirt embankments or stone walls in the lower portions!
As usual, I put my destination in the Sat Nav. It really does a great job of navigating one through the difficult spots like the round-abouts. But every now and then, I get mixed up and take the wrong turning, and if I can't quickly make a U turn, it recalculates and gives me new instructions. One of those led me down this very rural lane! It was beautiful if a bit off the beaten track!
Before the road joined back up to my route, it went underneath this amazing stone railroad bridge!
Tintagel was really quite close ~ only about 30 miles from Looe across the Cornwall Peninsula. Granted, 30 miles here takes an hour to travel! I found the car park and then walked along the street, attempting to find my way to the castle. Though I was watching for signs to point the way, for some reason I didn't see one ~ and lots of other people were walking, so I followed, hoping they knew something I didn't! There's lots to look at in all of these small towns, from the charming chimney pots (and starlings!)...
to the beautifully stacked drystone walls!
I thought I was getting close to the castle when I spied the church across the the top of the hill.
But what I found instead was Camelot! This old hotel was built in the late 1800's to capitalize on the interest at that time in King Arthur. It's quite a lovely old building inside, though rather ostentatious on the exterior and very much out of place with everything around it.
Inside, they have re-created a version of the Round Table, with all the names of King Arthur's Knights listed at each spot. Fun to see, but I was looking for the old castle, the one that I've read about so much through all the older Arthurian literature. I should say here that there is little archeological evidence of a real King Arthur here, and from what I've read, it's likely that he if were a true historical person, he more than likely was in Wales or Scotland rather than Cornwall! But I also know, that more often than not, legends that arise often have some basis in fact... so it's fun to speculate what might have been!
After backtracking, the right path finally appeared! How exciting to see the lofty stone walls on the hillsides! I purchased my ticket and headed off to explore!
Tintagel ~ part 2 will be photo heavy! Be forewarned!