I am finding it difficult to keep up my blog on this trip, due to changing hotels each night, long driving days, weak Wi-Fi in some places, and just plain being worn out. So, I am going to rely more on pictures and less on words and hope you understand. If I wait too long to post, I forget where I have been!
DAY 2 – Lynton (Devon) to Penzance (Cornwall).
Not a bad weather day, until the end. Down the Devon “riviera” coast and cross Cornwall to Penzance, the major resort town at the tip of the peninsula. Good driving roads, but too many high hedges blocking the views. In this part of the country, when the locals cleared their fields of rocks, they piled them in two parallel rows, usually along the road. Then they infilled the two rows with soil and planted hedges. These hundreds-of-years-old hedges are now 15-20 feet high and make it feel like you are in a tunnel.
For much of the trip I was in the Devon AONB (Area of Natural Beauty), kind of like an unofficial national park. Stunning rolling hills with rock walls separating fields. There are no flat places in England. The beach towns are usually at the end of a side road that involves a precipitous down hill drive, followed by an equally challenging uphill drive. They have miles and miles of gorgeous beaches. If they had the weather, this would rival SoCal.
My “main attraction” for the day was Tintigal Castle, reputed birthplace of the reputed King Arthur. Depending on the version of the story you believe, he a.) was the result of an illicit affair between the King of England and a local queen, b.) an immaculate conception, or c.) never really existed. True enough, most of the King Arthur “histories” were written in the 1200’s, 600 years after he supposedly lived.
The castle is now largely a ruin, and a most intimidating walk, as the pix should show. I made a few hundred rough, uneven stone stairs and called it a day.
Supposedly that is “Merlin’s Cave” on the far left
The easy part of the walk
The not so easy part of the walk
Penzance is a Victorian era beach town. As I was approaching town, the sky got very grey in all directions. I was praying the rain would hold off, but when I got to town, it turned out to be FOG! My great old hotel, right across the road from the sea wall, was so fog bound I could hardly find it. I had a great room with a view to the sea but couldn’t even see the sidewalk. The view the next morning was much better. Sacked out on an ancient leather chair in the bar and watched rugby with the locals.
Today’s driving route: https://tinyurl.com/ycxfz8tp
The little harbor at “Mousehole” named for the tiny entrance to the harbor, look closely.
DAY 3 – Tour of Cornwall Coast and on to Princetown, Dartmoor Moor National Park
This morning I made a circle tour of the very end of the Cornwall peninsula, stopping at two important sites. The Minmack Theater is an open-air venue cut into the cliffside overlooking the ocean. I spectacular venue, but of course nothing going on on a Monday morning!
This part of Cornwall is sub-tropical, thanks to the northward flow of the warm Gulf Stream waters
The other attraction was Land’s End. As the name suggests, this is the most westerly point in England and site of numerous shipwrecks over the years. Very touristy, but some great pix. Not many people there on that day and time.
Then my drive took me over the Bodmin Moor (more moor!), the very scenic Tamar Valley and on into the Dartmoor National Park (with even more moor). The little town I stayed in had an interesting historical and geological museum. People have lived in this area for 12,000 years. It is fascinating to see how their land use, settlement locations and populations changed with several major climate shifts. All this BS about global warming needs to be viewed in perspective of known history, just the last ten or twelve millennia. The climate changes in cycles. We know this. Why are we getting so freaked out now? Do we really think that our minute lifetimes constitute “normal”? How presumptive and conceited. It is all part of a cycle of nature. Get over it, you are not the center of the universe. Wisdom of the Moors.
Today’s Route: https://tinyurl.com/yb2ecr9w
Day 3 – Princetown to Lyme Regis, the Jurassic Coast
Weather continues to hold with little drizzle and no serious rain. Did find some mudholes on yesterday’s back roads which necessitated a good clean last night. This morning I covered the rest of the Dartmoor Park and ventured off my route to a little village of Chagford. Not sure why, but I stopped for coffee and got all the inside info from the locals. They pointed me to Sconhill Stone Circle, not on any map and not on Garmin or my iPhone. About eight miles of he narrowest roads I have been on here, and that is saying something. At times the hedges were brushing both sides of the car at the same time! Thankfully not much traffic, but what there was involved some serious backing up. Reversing several hundred yards in a five-foot-wide lane is no fun.
At the end of the road, after a mile hike, I found…. nothing but more Moor. And a very picturesque ancient stone bridge. Good exercise anyway.
A great golf course I found along the way, flag is marked with blue line.
Above and below the village of Chagley
Thatched roofing is still an artform here
A very cool old sign in the church at Chagley
Then it was on to the East Devon AONB and eventually to the Jurassic Coast. Apparently, the sedimentary ridges along this shoreline reveal hundreds of millions of years of archeology and are loaded with fossils. Touristy dinosaur parks abound but didn’t snag me. Long day, long drive, another steep walk into town for dinner, and lights out.
See the pix for more details.
Today’s route: https://tinyurl.com/yd8vpga4
Tomorrow it’s on to the Dorset AONB, the Cranborne AONB and then the New Forest (also an AONB) and Beaulieu (pronounced Buly) and the Top Gear Museum!