Posts Tagged With: Cornwall

Tintagel, Cornwall

Panoramic view of Tintagel Castle

Panoramic view of Tintagel Castle

Last week I took the geokids to Cornwall for a few days, so that Wolfie could spend some of the summer break with her boyfriend (yes I made him cache too). Anyway, Cadence and I found ourselves at a bit of a lose end on the Wednesday.  The weather was overcast but still warm and we really didn’t fancy a boring day at our basic campsite (it hadn’t got anything there for children to do).

As I had always dreamed of visiting the home of King Arthur of Camelot, with a romanticism of the medieval past imagined from all the stories, novels and television shows that have fuelled my enthusiasm for English history for as long as I can remember, we hopped into the car, loaded the GPSr to direct us and headed out.

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

The first thing we noticed about Tintagel was the age. There were ancient buildings amongst modern builds. One beautiful example was The Old Post Office described by The National Trust as “a 14th-century yeoman’s farmhouse -With a famously wavy slate roof and over 600 years of history”, and then there were the tourists. They were everywhere. (Now of course I knew that we were tourists that day too, but at least we had the decency to walk on pavements rather than in the road.)

Cadence loves a good sculpture

Cadence loves a good sculpture

Sorry I got distracted… back to ancient Cornwall. As I said there were beautiful buildings (I do love ancient architecture especially knowing a little about the crude tools that were used to build these perfect homesteads), and there was one little place where we were able to sit and admire Fore Street in all it’s hustle & bustle and bag ourselves a geocache at the same time. Tintagel – Extreme Stealth is a difficulty 3/terrain 1 traditional geocache in the heart of Fore Street, Tintagel. The cache owner, SMacB, describes it as “Nano, extreme stealth required. Possibly one of the busiest areas of the village” and repeatedly mentions stealth is required. Now here was a challenge we were not going to pass up. With a scratch of my leg the cache was in my hand and the passers by had no idea I was acting suspiciously, log duly signed and with another scratch or two the cache was returned to it’s home and the tourist’s were none the wiser.

Halfway up the cliff trail to Tintagel

Halfway up the cliff trail to Tintagel

Job done it was time to find Tintagel Castle to see if it lived up to my high expectations. The easiest way to do this was to follow everyone else as they all were going to and coming from the same direction. In no time at all, Cadence and I were trekking down a very steep and very long footpath & unmade road towards what is possibly one of the most famous attractions in the UK – Tintagel Castle. Home of legends, myths and magic.

On the crest of the cliff's

On the crest of the cliff’s

Despite the looming grey clouds which have a tendancy to make everything look miserable, I was still in awe of the medieval structure, although now all in ruins it still looks impressive and you can just imagine how imposing and intimidating it must have been at the height of King Arthur’s reign. Atop the opposite cliff looking over at the towering heights I felt very much at peace and at home. We spent a long time with mouths agape, speechless, at the top of Tintagel, imaging the knights enjoying their banquets and Merlin hiding out in his cave at the mouth of the sea.

Merlin's Cave

Merlin’s Cave

A time well spent dreaming and back to the task in hand – finding the geocache. Tintagel Castle was placed by Lunchbox back in Sept 2001 and has accrued a staggering 151 favourite points. Well knowing it had that many favourites and 1,170 found logs, Cadence and I thought it may be an easy find. We followed the arrow in the direction of the cache, read the description when we were close to ground zero and the hint (because we couldn’t see any obvious hiding place) and began our search.

Looking in the wrong place

Looking in the wrong place

Because of the strong breeze I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for Cadence to join in this hunt, so left her in charge of the camera. After some belly crawling, finger tip searching and more belly crawling I gave up and we sat together enjoying the view while I read up on the found logs. That was when I discovered we were in fact too high up the cliff. We hunted around for the path described in the logs and on closer inspection my fear of heights got the better of me and we logged a “did not find”.

Despite our slight failure we were not despondant, we had enjoyed our time in Tintagel, dreamed glorious dreams of Camelot and were now ready to move on to the next village that held more hopes and dreams – Boscastle.

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dodman Point, Cornwall

View along the path

View along the path

Dodman Point – GCY2ZB

On the hunt for interesting geocaches around Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula we came across many regular nano’s and micro’s, however amongst those was this one, Dodman Point. The land is managed by The National Trust, which has been helpful with my research on the area and provided us with a suitable parking place in Penare.

Granite Cross

Granite Cross

Dodman Point is the highest headland on the south coast of Cornwall. (I measured the altitude as 353ft above sea level.) It has awesome views and a great deal of history attached to it. So much so that the headland is popular with archaeologists.

At the cross, 353ft above sea level

At the cross, 353ft above sea level

 

The National Trust page about Dodman Point states that the headland is home to a massive Iron Age earthwork, known as a promontory fort or cliff castle, however on our walk we didn’t see any evidence of this. More history is evident though. After a good half mile walk off in the distance we spotted a huge cross, made of granite and standing high above our heads. It is said that the cross was erected in 1896 by Rev. G Martin as a navigational aid for seafairers. But it failed to save two warships the following year and more recently, the pleasure boat “Darlwin” sank with all passengers on board in 1996.

In the firm hope of the second coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and for the encouragment of those who strive to serve HIM this cross is erected A.D 1896

In the firm hope of the second coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and for the encouragment of those who strive to serve HIM this cross is erected A.D 1896

All around the Bulwark there remains evidence of the Iron Age strip-field system, some areas have been made into larger fields, but those that remain are now being controlled to preserve them for longer, as the area is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Following the path in the direction of the geocache (I almost forgot I was out geocaching), we came across more history. This time it was an 18th century signal station (or watch house).

“In past centuries, prominent hills and headlands around Britain were equipped with fire beacons to warn of sea-borne raids and invasion. These beacons were the source of the series of fire and smoke that was seen by the Armada along the Cornish coast on 20 July 1588.” (The National Trust)

 

The Watch House

The Watch House

The Royal Navy set up a series of these stations around the coast in response to the war with France in 1795. The stations would communicate through a series of marks on a flagpole and outriggers, they were communciated to and from the ships at sea and between each other. The stations would have been manned 24 hours a day, and at night the signals would have been made by fire and blue light.

At Dodman Point, this watch house is a fine example. The watch tower is still in good condition and has a remaining anchoring shackle for the flagpole. The building itself is only one room and now houses a bench for walkers to rest upon in bad weather. The garden wall also appeared to remain in tact. The Dodman watch house was used by the coast guard during the 19th century, and the flagpole remained until 1957 when it was lost in a storm.

Lookout Tower

Lookout Tower

What a great thing to find while out geocaching. This is one of the many reasons I love the GPS based activity. Especially when people such as Loose Lips Sink Ships place geocaches at sites of historical interest. Oh and I forgot to mention that the geocache is not the only thing we found high up on this headland. We also found our first Waymarker. My next task is to find out more about waymarking and to find out how to log the one we found here.

Waymarker

Waymarker

 

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St Just in Roseland, Cornwall

St Just in Roseland church

St Just in Roseland church

One of the ornate stained glass windows

One of the ornate stained glass windows

 

I’ve just got back from a few days away in Cornwall with my geokids. Reason for going – the eldest was missing her boyfriend! Reason for taking her to Cornwall to see her boyfriend – So I could geocache in a new place! And I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful places we encountered.

Here is just one of them, St Just in Roseland Church. Roseland has nothing to do with roses, it apparently comes from the Cornish word ros or roos, meaning promontory. Which is exactly what the Roseland Peninsula is. It is a little jutted out piece of land surrounded by sea, rivers and streams and spans approximately 10 miles by 10 miles (don’t quote me on that!).

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

I was bought here by a geocache (“of course!” I can hear you all cry), why else would I be here! However, we got terribly sidetracked from the hunt for Roseland #3 – “Captain Jack’s nuptials” when we spotted the intriguiing and beguiling cemetary beside the road. The huge, tall palm trees and exotic looking flowers were all it took for us to enter the grounds and discover a new world within.

Look at the size of this single leaf

Look at the size of this single leaf

As we looked around it was clear to see that St Just Church was part of the Celtic church and well established long before the arrival of St Augustine in England. It is said that there has been a church here as early as A.D 550, but the present church was consecrated in August 1261. About half the church is from that era, with the tower, south chancel and pillars dating from the 15th Century.

One of the many walkway plaques

One of the many walkway plaques

All along the main walkway down to the church itself and the bay, were stone (granite, I think) plaques with a variety of biblical scriptures on them. All beautiful and relevant to the surroundings, which added to the calming atmosphere within the boundaries. I was in awe of the tombstones, all laid out with precision in a kind of stepping layer cut into the hillside. Some were plain and some were intricately decorated. The earliest that we found was dated 1755, but I am sure that if you were to head deeper into the tree growth there would be some earlier than that.

An ornate headstone

An ornate headstone

Following the footpath round the outside of the church and alongside the bay, we came across a sign, pointing us towards a “holy well”. We had to investigate: the path towards it was serene and beautiful. The tide was out, so I imagine it looks more peaceful when the bay is filled. I bought a guide book from the porch of the church in the hopes it would have some information about the well. Having read it, there is nothing! I have heard a rumour that there was a man with a “gammy” leg who went to the well and bathed in it. After the bathing the problems with his leg were miraculously healed.

The Holy Well

The Holy Well

After seeing the well we decided that we should now find the geocache. We had been in the church gardens for about an hour. We took one of the many paths through the jungle of palm tress and tropical looking plants and came across a more modern part of the cemetary. With a stone bordered stream that led to a heart shaped pool. My only thought at this point was that I would like my final resting place to be somewhere like St Just in Roseland church.

Heart shaped pool

Heart shaped pool

Categories: Geo Stories, Life goes on, UK History | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: