Read Part 1 first!
Be forewarned, this post is heavy on pictures! It may load slowly!
The road down to the English Heritage site for Tintagle Castle was quite steep and I was glad to know that a Land Rover was available to bring me back up the hill once I was done! I bought my ticket, viewed the shop and short movie about King Arthur's tenuous links to Tintagel and was off!
To actually stand on this historic ground! Not that history hasn't happened on every piece of ground that we walk on, but that this was a place I'd read SO much about and dreamed about seeing for so many years! To actually be standing here, taking it all in was simply amazing!
The Haven is the waterway coming in between the island and the mainland. During low tide, it's merely a small (though beautiful!) bay, but at high tide, the water flows through Merlin's cave and effectively makes the Island a true island. The tide was coming in and the surf on the rocks was growing as I watched!
I spent a lot of time just watching the water!
There were dark rock walls everywhere and the green against it stunning. The brilliant white daisies shown like stars!
Overhanging the cliffs were clumps of Thrift, one of my favorite flowers.
The waterfall was incredibly beautiful as it splashed it's way down into the bay below.
I walked down the stone stairs to the beach. Near the bottom, the sea has torn the lower steps loose and tossed them carelessly at an angle. Each passerby helped the next one to get down.
The views from the bottom were lovely too!
I walked into Merlin's Cave. It's easy to see why this has become such a place of myth and legend! I realized the tide was coming up quickly, so didn't spend much time here, but what time I did have was magical!
On the way out, I found this lovely small stone with it's crisp bands ~ and moments later was christened by the rising tide! So I climbed carefully back up the stairs and headed for the path to the Island.
There were more stairs up to the island. Steep stairs of dark grey, almost black slate. I was grateful for the handrails!
Along the way were views of the other side of the water separating the island from the mainland.
And finally, up at the top of the stairs, a gateway to the ruins. This gateway was built in the 1900s and is not original to the site ~ but now has been added to the history of the place! This view is looking back through the gate to the stairs I'd just come up.
Here is a panorama of the view from inside the gate. What a grand view of the sea this must have on a clear day!
And here I am, standing amidst the ruins!
Everywhere there were portals of one sort or another. Gateways and windows, and small opening for defense measures.
And this amazing view gives you an idea of just how far up these ruins are! It really is an incredible place.
On the slopes, the wildflowers were in abundance ~ a profusion of color!
As the mist rolled in thickly, it took on an entirely new quality. I remembered back to the movie Excalibur, when Merlin conjures the spell of making, which brings the "breath of the dragon." At this time and in this spot seemed so very real!
How blessed I was to be able to be here on this day in this atmosphere of mystery! To think that I nearly called off my visit here due to the weather ~ I'm so grateful that I didn't!
No matter where I looked, it was all stunning.
Eventually I left the Island and made my way carefully and slowly up the steepest set of stairs that I have ever climbed in my entire life to the top of the mainland castle ruins. I can tell you that writing this 24 hours later, my legs are still feeling the ache from that climb! These stairs brought to mind the hidden stairway that Frodo and Sam took when climbing into Mordor and made me wonder if Tolkien had his inspiration for them here!
While walking around the mainland castle, I put my hand out to steady myself at one point and discovered these land snails!
When the time came to depart, I left via the footpath rather than attempting to navigate the steep stairway down. Back at the English Heritage site there was a lovely small cafe where I had a saffron bun and tea before making the next part of my journey to Wells.
As I think back on my time at Tintagel Castle, it's hard to put into words just how moving I found it. I spent about 5 hours there but could have spent days. There was far more to see on the island than I had time for and though I had hoped to do a watercolor here, I simply didn't have the time. But the views I wanted to paint were numerous and I'd have loved to just have time to sit and take it all in, to simply BE there, in the rain and the mist and the wind.