Saturday did not dawn bright and sunny. In fact I’m not entirely sure it dawned at all. There was no sun, no sea and no sky, it all just merged into one blanket of damp mist. My plan for today had been to conquer Tintagel Castle and to finally meet the sculpture of King Arthur that teased me from my window. I was unable to do that on my last visit because storm Brian had meant the castle was closed. This morning the rain was fine and driven sideways by the wind. Wind and mist doesn’t make sense, maybe it wasn’t mist, maybe the clouds had come down to say hello to the earth. I got ready and had breakfast all the time thinking what to do. Today really was my only chance for the Castle as I had a plan in place for the Sunday. I chilled in the hotel for a couple of hours after breakfast, sitting in one of the deep sofas next to the fire, reading and a bit of writing, waiting for the rain to ease. I don’t mind being in the rain, I just didn’t fancy rushing off into it, I didn’t have to, my time was my own, I have no one else to think about. After a while I did venture out. I asked at the reception if the Castle was open, they said it would be. But as much as I wanted to go to it I still was undecided, right up until the point I drove almost past the car park and then suddenly decided to stop and go. I put my waterproofs on, although the rain had stopped I’d seen how suddenly it can start again and wanted to be prepared. I made my way down the path towards the English Heritage visitor centre at the bottom.
I remembered it all, the stream that runs alongside the path had been a gently babbling one previously, this time is was quite the torrent and where it had disappeared underground it was now most definitely present on the surface, water always finds a way. I loved it. I got to the bottom and paid my entry and got a guide book then made my way up the slate steps to the next little ticket booth, stopping briefly to look at the sea in the cove and the beach, showed my ticket and turned to venture up some more steps. These ones weren’t too bad, it was the next lot that filled me with dread!
Cut into the side of the cliff with a hand rail on the left. I’ve found being on my own doing these sorts of things I have to dig a bit to be able to tell myself I am quite capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to. This was one of those moments, when you’d normally turn to the person next to you and say Holy Crap!! No way!! Then they’d say, course you can and encourage you. I did all this myself, you find a lot out about yourself – one thing I’ve found is that I talk to myself!! A lot!!🤪 I still don’t get the right answer!😆 Onwards and upwards! A very steep upwards! The steps were slate and stone and they weren’t even, it was wet and blowing a gale!
There was a sheer drop on the other side of the handrail, down to the sea, you can only hope the person building the hand rail loved his job and took pride in it!! I made it to the top and went through a pointed archway with an open wooden door.
There were some ruins to the right, what had once been the Great Hall. I could just about make out my hotel on the opposite cliff in the cloud. I followed the path, stopping to take in the wonderful views of the cove below and out to sea. The path eventually lead to more steps, these were a bit scarier, no hand rail and slippy. I got to the top and looked around. It was incredibly windy, it was a shame about the weather but that was to be my experience of it, if I can love it this much in this kind of weather I can’t imagine what I’d be like on a sunny, clear day.
Following the path I came to a railing that was around the top of a tunnel, it was a mysterious tunnel that had been cut with metal tools, I walked through it but it didn’t lead anywhere. Coming out of there I could see King Arthur, standing proud. There were some other people around him so I took my time getting to him. He was certainly a presence. Very Magical and I was quite drawn to him.
There was something about him, I guess that means the sculptor did his job well. I finally got him to myself and took photos and a bit of video. An experience I won’t forget.
I sat down on a rock for a while, I could have stayed there, what an amazing place it must have been when it was a complete castle. I made my way back down, all the way down to the visitor centre, taking photos as I went, I take a lot but I do look back at them and they never fail to make me smile. I stopped in the English Heritage shop and treated myself to a gorgeous ring, I couldn’t resist it.
I walked back up the hill with the stream running down it and got back to Vinnie. I fancied a drive along the coast, although I wouldn’t be able to see much I still fancied it, I love driving and the little narrow roads are a real challenge, proper driving. I turned my sat nav off and just kept turning. At one point we turned off the ‘main’ road onto a smaller one only to be immediately met with a hairpin bend to the left on a very steep incline!! I thought we were going to fall backwards!! My toes curled around the pedals inside my boots!! We didn’t make it, we had to roll back and try again in first gear and go wider, we managed it then, good old Vinnie!😍 We went down and up through Port Isaac, down and through Port Quin and then ended up at Polzeath beach, parking on the beach just as some youngsters were doing ‘donuts’ on the sand, I wasn’t quick enough to get a video of it, must be quite a rush to do that – maybe one day Vinnie! I got out here for a walk on the beach. The tide was out quite a way and there were quite a few people there. I walked as close to the sea as I could as there was a river running down the beach, spreading wider as it neared the sea, which meant it was too wet to walk through, you needed wellies.
I satisfied myself looking at the colourful rocks, they were purple and green, and watching 3 guys in wetsuits with bodyboards strolling confidently towards the waters edge. How incredible that must have felt, I had an idea of the feeling they would get, the rush and the sheer joy from the water.
I carried on walking around, it was starting to get dark and I was hungry, I’d skipped lunch. Driving back to Tintagel in the fog was exhilarating, we do so much driving down the same roads and routes to work and in our everyday lives it felt good to drive somewhere completely different and to have to take note of your surroundings and conditions. Dinner was in the hotel again and I had a beer! A Belgian one of course but in a Guinness pint glass-not quite how the Belgians do it.
So although the weather wasn’t perfect it kind of hadn’t mattered, I think the day before at Golitha had been perfect and I would rather have had it on that day anyway. Each day is different, it’s what you make it. I enjoyed every minute of it, how could I not – Magic, Myth and Mist.