Monday, December 4, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 14, In which we travel to West Wales (AKA Cornwall)

Cornwall was known as West Wales in medieval times because the Saxons recognized they were up against another plucky group of strange little people with pixies. It is a Celtic country, if only a county of England now. And it is a strange, mysterious place.
We started off at Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Here I am excited beyond belief at Merlin's Cave at the Sea below the Castle!

"You're a Wizard, Merlin!"
This place was just astounding, the ruins of the castle are high above the cliffs dropping off to the Sea.

My wife at Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle ruins.
We climbed a lot of stairs. Worth every step!
Looking back over some of the ruins to Tintagel Village.
This spooky piece of art now stands guard.
Whew! That was great!

We then visited a well-maintained, former estate at Lanhydrock. The grand houses did not impress me as much, but I have to admit that I love a beautiful garden.

A part of the gardens at Lanhydrock, Cornwall.
We then went on a late-evening, whirlwind tour of several sites around Lands End. We hiked a bit on the cliffs.

The cliffs near Lands End, Cornwall.
A shipwreck! (from the 1950s)
At Lands End pointing towards home.
"There's a feeling I get when I look to the West."
So I was wearing my usual cap with souvenir pins or "badges" on it. In the gift shop at Tintagel, one of the locals noted my St. Piran's cross pin, the white cross on black which is for Cornwall. He said, "Keep wearing that. It really sets off the English." Cornish pride!

Then it got really spooky. As the late summer evening wore on, we visited a couple of megalithic monuments. First was Mên-an-Tol, or the Madron stones. These are rather unique and if you have any Freudian reactions, please keep them in the Bronze Age.

Mên-an-Tol, or the Madron stones
While out walking to ancient stones, we saw one of Cornwall's many tin mine structures.
Lonely Cornish Tin Mine.
We visited Lanyon Quoit. Quite an impressive dolmen or ancient framework for a tomb. It fell down in the 19th Century and was reset with assistance from the Royal Navy even if not quite in its original form.

My wife helping to hold up the stone on Lanyon Quoit, actually quite sturdy as we climbed on it.
Some of our group performing on the stones.
It got dark and even spookier. We visited the ruin of an ancient Christian church and sacred spring, Madron Holy Well. It felt like something straight out of a search for the Grail.

Would you go down this path?
I lagged behind the group to take this photo of the prayer tree at the sacred spring.
The group was not happy when I used my flash to snap this pic inside the ancient church ruin.
But I had to do it for Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Peredur (Perceval).
We were then brought back to bright reality at a late-night Tesco stop in Penzance. I took this photo which I thought was hilariously funny but it was either too late at night or I was the only Gilbert and Sullivan fan

You see, the Operetta is called "The Pirates or Penzance; or, the Slave of Duty"
because Frederick was bound in service of his indentures to the Pirate King. Oh, never mind.

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