Terrific day today, sun shining, no wind, little cloud, what more could you ask for.
Out and about starting with a drive past of St MIcheal's Mount, an Island based Castle and Norman church in the Penzance Harbour. The oldest buildings on the island date back to the 12th century but there is evidence of settlemants as far back as 4000 - 2500BC.
Travelling round past the harbour we looked for the famous Pirates of Penzance but none to be seen that were obvious at least. We did find a place that could possibly have been a hideout but that could just be an assumption.
From Penzance we headed down to Lamorna to look at the cove, dramatic rocky headland but some very narrow roads to get there. Great fun when you meet someone coming toward you.
From Lamorna the next two stops were a surprise as we came across them on the road near St Buryan. The first, a stone circle, The Merry Maidens. This circle is believed to be complete and contains 19 granite megaliths. Apparently, one of the legends behind it is similar to the one at Bodmin Moor but this time it was Maidens dancing on the Holy Day. Just a 100 metres down the road was the Tregiffian Burial Chamber, a late Neolithic of early Bronze age tomb. The road had actually been built over the back part of the Barrow.
On to Porthcurno to check out the beach and the cove. Really picturesque sight and the water was so green and clear. The beach looked like an Australian scene with the sand and the lifeguards with the red and yellow flags. Porthcurno has an open air theatre, The Minack Theatre, which is carved into the cliff and gully with a granite outcrop jutting into the sea,
Ever on the move, we headed for Land's End at the end of the Cornwall Peninsula. It has its own little shopping and fun precinct, hotel and coffee shops, Being a clear day, it was great to look out at the Atlantic ocean. Had to have lunch so it was a Cornish Pasty and Cornish Ice Cream. Great.
The GPS still has a habit of taking short cuts that it thinks will be faster than the "major" roads. I say "major" but here that means that it is just two vehicles wide and lined with a corridor of bushes. The GPS often sends us up very narrow roads, and today it excelled itself. Most times there are reasonably close points to allow meeting vehicles time to stop and allow another vehicle through. Today, no such luck, on roads lined with blackberry bush virtually scraping the sides of the car, we often had to reverse up to 150 metres to locate the last passing point. I finally gave up following its instruction when it tried to send me up a rocky dirt cattle track. Not to be outdone, in the middle of Penzance it tried again and turned me into a "street" that was actually a boat ramp straight into the low tide mud. No thanks.
Next stop was a restored Tin Mine and Beam engine at Levant. The engine had run continuously from 1840 until the mine closed in 1930. At the site there were quite a few other engine sheds showing just how big of a part the tin mining industry must have been to the Cornwall economy years ago. I was surprised to hear that the reason so many were on this site was that they were actually mining under the sea, 1.6 klm out and up to 550 metres below the sea bed.
A little further up the road was a Dolmen, a megalithic tomb. While it looks impressive now, apparently it used to stand on four stones, high enough to ride a horse under it. In 1815 it collapsed during a severe storm. It was rebuilt 9 years later but one stone was too badly damaged to be used so it now has three stands and is lower than before.
Last stop on our circuit was Chysauster Ancient Village. This village has Roman origins and the style of house is unlike anything else in Britain but is similar to houses found in the Isles of Sicily. Dating to between 100BC and 200AD the village was overgrown with vegetation. There are about 10 houses in the village and many have been uncovered a number of times over the centuries. The houses, around 30 metres in diameter, are built with rooms around a central courtyard and most of the houses are in two distinct rows giving the impression of a street. A stone structure in one of the houses is thought to be a tin forge giving rise to the thought that mining may have been one of the purposes of the village.
Back to "The Old Vicarage", built around 1730, our B&B last night and tonight, and a look around the Church of St Hilary next door. This church was constructed around the 13th century, partially destroyed by fire in 1853 and rebuilt. The church is still in use.
Tomorrow we are going to St Ives and I'll let you know if we meet a man with seven wives.