Although I had fallen asleep quite quickly I had a slightly disturbed night, the wind didn’t stop and the windows weren’t double glazed – oh how we take things for granted – so I had woken up a couple of times. My sleeping pattern isn’t great at the best of times, I still miss ‘us’ and him, still very tough sometimes. Once you wake up the brain seems to go into overdrive. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night.
I had left the curtains open so I could gaze at the night sky while I lay there going to sleep and so I could see out of the window when I opened my eyes in the morning.
Oh My!! Wow! What a view! Just one more thing to make the whole journey worth it. I could not have wished for a better view. I did indeed have a sea and castle view.
I jumped straight out of bed and grabbed my phone to take a picture and video. The video because the sea was boiling, it was incredible and a photo on it’s own would not do it justice (although I like the ‘live’ photos on the iPhone).The waves were crashing against the rocks, the swells were huge, the raw power and relentless beating was amazing to watch, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I made a cup of tea and just sat watching it, thinking. I tried to make out the castle ruins but the rain against the window obscured the view a little and my eyesight is not great.
After a while I peeled my eyes away just long enough to get showered – I was hungry and breakfast was calling.
This was another little milestone coming up. Going down to breakfast on my own, knowing that others would be in couples.
So, with head held high I made my way downstairs, gawping at everything on my way and asked for a table. I was asked again if it was for two – no, just the one.
It was served in a very grand dining room with views over the castle and out to sea, it was on the same side of the hotel as my room. There were more huge paintings on the walls in gilt frames. Chandeliers from the ceiling and the cooked breakfast was served in silver trays with the domed lids. The waitresses were in the old fashioned black dress and white frilly aprons. I asked for my coffee and helped myself to breakfast. I did feel like everyone was watching me, wondering if I was going to be joined by anyone. I did my very best to look confident and completely at ease with it all – I hope I pulled it off.
While I was eating I read some literature on the area and made plans for the two days that I would be there. The main thing being Merlins Cave, but I had also read about St Nectans Glen with magical waterfalls and a witch craft museum – right up my street! None of it was too far away so I planned to go to the Castle first and try for Merlins Cave.
I went back to my room after breakfast and packed my backpack and put my walking boots on.
I wasn’t prepared for what was waiting when I came out of the hotel. I have never, ever, experienced wind like it. I tried to walk in a straight line but the wind just took my legs, I was actually scared that I was going to get blown over! I had visions of being blown over the cliff! I tried to video it, there were even waves on the puddles. I didn’t dare go around the corner of the hotel, it would have just hit me full force.
I made it to Vinnie ( the Mini) and drove into Tintagel, it wasn’t far but I wanted to have transport with me so I could move on to the next place.
I imagine on a sunny summers day it would be absolutely packed (and awful with lots of people) but today, not so much. I parked up and wandered up and down the high street, window shopping and going in the occasional shop. There were some lovely things on offer but I managed to restrain myself, I only bought a couple of bits.
I made my way towards the path that lead to the Castle. It is owned by the National Heritage so is well looked after. The pathway began quite steep going down, then eased off a little and a bubbling stream emerged alongside the path – so pretty. The scenery was rugged, there was a path off to the left which took you up to the church ruin and the coastal path and the path that continued down took you to the Castle and the beach. I carried on down. The stream ran parallel with the path, sometimes disappearing then eventually at the bottom opening up to a proper river and eventually falling off the edge as a waterfall onto the beach.
I went in the visitor centre to pay only to find out that the castle was closed, the weather was too bad, the paths too dangerous. So I walked to the end of the path to look over the beach and to watch the sea.
Wowzers! It was even more impressive close up. I took some more photos and videos. I had asked in the centre about Merlins Cave, it wasn’t quite low tide, another hour or so, they said I could go in if I wanted but after watching the sea being unpredictable and sometimes coming close to the mouth of the cave I decided against it. I was gutted. Absolutely gutted. I walked down the steps to the beach anyway, just to get a little closer. At the bottom of the steps was a little sand and some boulders to pick my way through. I walked onto the beach and had a look around, the end of the little stream could now be seen properly as a waterfall gushing over the edge onto the beach, that was a little something extra I wasn’t expecting, it was fantastic.
There was barely anyone there – heaven. The weather was awful, I was getting soaked, my coat not being waterproof but I had waterproof trousers on.
I eventually made my way back up the hill, hoping the weather would be better the next day to try again, this was really hard work, it was quite steep and the battle against the wind didn’t help.
I got back to Vinnie, absolutely soaked but it was invigorating. I set the sat nav to St Nectans Glen and off I went.
It was only a couple of miles down the road. The car park was concealed and not what I was expecting. I got out of the car and just looked round wondering where on earth they were hiding the waterfall! I’m not sure what the car park would be like in the summer months, manic I’m guessing. I eventually spotted a sign and followed it.
I had no clue what to expect, the write ups on it didn’t give too much away, I kept walking…..and walking, next to fields, down hills, into the woods, eventually finding the river that was babbling along over the stones and winding this way and that. It. Was. Just. Beautiful. Even in the rain, which just made it even better for me. I was in my element. Trees and water, what more could you want. I’m a tree hugger – literally. It was soul food for me. Little did I know it was only going to get better.
I came across a couple of ladies taking photos, I offered to take one of them both, they were quite chuffed. I continued on, it slowly started to get steeper until steps were introduced – natural ones, using rocks and even tree roots ( which I didn’t like to tread on because it felt like `i was treading on their toes!)
Getting to the top I realised I was getting hungry, it was lunchtime and I had already worked the breakfast off. I stopped in the cafe at the top and had a bowl of chilli before making my way to the shop to pay my entrance fee. It has all been done very nicely up there. Again, I can only imagine what it would be like in the summer months and school holidays, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.
The lady in the shop, which had a log burner on so it was incredibly cosy, asked me what I had on my feet, I said walking boots and asked if that was ok. She told me the water was quite deep at the moment, I wasn’t quite sure why she was telling me this but I thought I would go along with it. She said I could borrow some wellies and leave my boots by the fire. There was a little shed outside that had an assortment of wellies, in different sizes. I picked my pair and went back inside, changing into them. Once this had been done she opened the gate for me and explained the route.
There was a walkway through the trees with vantage points to see a couple of small waterfalls on the way to the Goddess of a waterfall (her words). People had tied ribbons on some of the branches along the way, it was all very magical.
At the end of the walkway there was a turnstile gate, I went through and saw the river, rocks and logs and a small waterfall. Now I could see why I needed the wellies! You could walk through the water, in fact you had to in order to see the Goddess of a waterfall – and she had been right – it was.
I walked right up to it. Felt the spray on my face. I just stood there and took it all in. Magic.
All around people had left little piles of sones in ascending shape and size, ribbons tied to branches, pennies pushed into giant logs, trinkets left on the rocks, plaques. It was amazing. So magical and very spiritual.
Its a sacred place, people make pilgrimages to it and I could completely understand why. I spent ages there, wandering up and down, looking at the things that had been left.
I decided there and then to leave a pendant that I had been given by Roger. It was a pentacle and meant a lot to me but it felt like the right thing to do. I took it off and found some flat stones of varying sizes and placed them on a ledge near the waterfall, I placed the pentacle on the top. I left it there and walked away (eventually). To me it was a symbol of how special our relationship had been, to leave it in a very special place.
I walked away.
I changed back into my boots and said thank you and made my way back to the car (it was about a mile each way). I sobbed pretty much all the way back to my car, stopping only to take a photo for another couple who looked so happy.
By this time the weather had really started to close in so I made my way back to the hotel, chilled in my room for a while and then made my way down to the bar area. It was another room filled with incredible art work. I chose my table, my back against the wall so I could people watch, ordered my pot of tea and began writing. I felt more comfortable and more at ease now. A little more confident. I ordered fish and chips for my tea which was delicious, then went and sat in the lounge area and wrote some more until I started to feel tired. I had done over 10,000 steps and they weren’t all easy ones.
The wind was still howling. I just hoped that it would be a better weather day the next day so I could try for Merlins Cave again at low tide. We shall see.