Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cornwall Day 5: 365 Doodles Day 278

Thursday - My last full day in Cornwall and I decided to visit the North coast of Penwith. It's old, ancient Cornwall; a land of scrubby moorland and gorse, great slabs of granite and Neolithic tombs and burial chambers. The coast itself is all rugged coastline and tin mines. I love it. I started off by driving to Morvah and visiting Lanyon Quoit (which inspired today's doodle) and then taking the mile long walk to visit the famed holed stone, the Men An Tol.

'You can only wonder at just what these mysterious stone structures were built for ...' 

Glorious blue skies again but 'brave and windy' as they say down here. And it got a lot worse once I reached the coast itself. The sea around Madron, Botallack and Pendeen was incredibly rough but I walked down to Pendeen Light to get these photos.

I drove all along the coast road, stopping off for a cream tea at my favourite tea rooms at Rosemergy Farmhouse (Jane Holmes bakes the best scones ever) and visiting tiny Zennor. The rain had started to come in so I didn't bother getting out of the car and drove on instead to Hayle to visit mother again and then on to Longrock near Penzance to pop in on my favourite reclaim yard, the Shiver me Timbers!

It's the most extraordinary treasure trove of oddity and antique you'll ever see. And, sadly, it's under threat.

When I was younger, the place was run by an older chap that everyone just knew as 'Trader'. His son now runs the place and when I asked if I could take some photos, he had some quite reasonable reservations. 'It's the Health and safety people', he told me. 'They hate this place. But no one's ever been hurt, there are signs clearly displayed everywhere saying that people enter at their own risk and I don't employ anyone so there's no 'duty of care' for me to worry about. Doesn't stop them trying though. It's ridiculous. People love this place as it is.' And the Fun Police are not the only threat; the owner of the land on which Shiver me Timbers! stands is making noises about shutting the place down and building holiday lets on the site. What a sadder place Longrock will be then. Leaving it behind, I drove on to Penzance to do a little shopping and then grabbed a Jelbert's Cornish ice cream and sat up by Newlyn harbour to enjoy it, the view and the sunshine.

As I was in Newlyn, I drove on through Mousehole and then up over the hill through Paul and Lamorna and onto the Merrie Maidens or Dans Maen, the most complete stone circle in Cornwall. It felt right to both start and end the day with some prehistory.

Saying that, I did take a quick across the dam at Drift Reservoir to round off the day and my whistlestop trip home to Cornwall.

I got back to the cottage, said hello to the horses in the field opposite (and the Old English Sheepdogs who jump up at the wall to the farm next door and bark at me every time I drive past them) and had a good night's sleep to prepare for the long drive home.

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