Minay’s Trip Diary – Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Well, I felt much more human after a good night’s sleep – apparently right through quite a rainstorm. We went down to a nice breakfast with, as they say, a lovely pot of tea. With that I was ready to face Arthur lore, day 2. The clouds, with a little rain, had hung around to give us a damp and gray start to the day, but pretty soon they cleared up and we arrived in Camelford. I found it such a contrast to the Cotswold villages we had seen two days ago. Here the buildings come in two “flavors” – clean, spare lines, smooth walls painted in seaside colors or, for total contrast, old stone with whimsical details. Here’s a picture of a stone building with some expressive faces tucked in. I think my favorite bit of the day here was a lovely chat I had with the woman in the Tourist Information center.

Plastered Heads Decorate a Camelford House

Plastered Whimsical Faces Decorate a Camelford House

After a short walk through Camelford we went on to the Arthurian Centre which had a few interesting exhibits, but really wasn’t all that much, I’m sorry to say. At least the sun had come out so we had nice, but windy, weather for our walk through the grounds. Right away we came upon some sheep who looked like they had been in a paintball fight. Actually, they were marked to show who belonged to who – sheep and human alike.

Paintballed Sheep at the Arthurian Centre

Paintballed Sheep at the Arthurian Centre

There wasn’t much to see on the grounds either, but since it was sunny now it made for a nice ramble. There’s always something interesting to catch my eye – new buds coming out on the trees, vines wrapping around tree trunks or, as you see here, some pretty wild flowers to enjoy.

At Least the Flowers Were Pretty, Arthurian Centre

At Least the Flowers Were Pretty, Arthurian Centre

Finally, Michael had seen enough and we got back in the car and drove on to Tintagel which is supposed to be the ruins of Arthur’s castle. I don’t know about that, but the ruins were very interesting, the scenery stunning and excellent exercise for legs and tush what with all the climbing. When we arrived at the visitors center, after a long descent down a very, very steep hill (remember, we are from Houston and we don’t have hills – at all) I was enthralled with my first close up look, and smell, of gorse. Gorse is a shrubby plant with bright yellow flowers and an enchanting honey scent. I’ve read about it in countless novels set in England, and it more than lived up to my expectations. I know Flio’s photo album has a picture of it, but I just have to put in another.

Gorse at Tintagel

Gorse at Tintagel

After the steep climb down I was somewhat dismayed to find we had another steep climb to manage – this time up. And up we went. And up. But it was so worth it for the breathtaking view. Here’s a picture of our gorgeous day and the gorgeous Cornish coast.

Cornish Coast at Tintagel

Cornish Coast at Tintagel

I can’t say I learned all that much here, but I did so enjoy myself. There were ruined walls to see, hillsides covered with flowers, tumbled walls with flowers climbing over them, and view after view of the coastline. I’m going to just let you see some of the things I experienced

Tintagel Castle, Built to Last Ages, or at Least They Tried

Tintagel Castle, Built to Last Ages, or at Least They Tried

Tintagel Castle, Flowers Covering the Crumbling Walls

Tintagel Castle, Flowers Covering the Crumbling Walls

Ever practical, the English had tucked small buildings into the hillsides with firefighting equipment available if needed. These even suited the setting. Like I say, practical, yet charming.

Firebeaters, Ready for Use at Tintagel Castle

Firebeaters, Ready for Use at Tintagel Castle

One thing I kept thinking about as my legs strained to make the climb up and down the stairs from one section of ruins to another – at least we have stairs and handrails. Imagine taking this hike with only stony paths to follow – and goods to carry up and down while you were wearing long skirts and, shall we say, less than sturdy well-fitting shoes!

What a Climb, But at Least We Have Stairs, Tintagel Castle

What a Climb, But at Least We Have Stairs, Tintagel Castle

I’ll leave you with one more view from Tintagel before we head back down to the visitor’s center before making the climb up that long steep road.

View Through the Walls, Tintagel Castle

View Through the Walls, Tintagel Castle

My legs were aching, but it was still worth the climb to see this.

As Michael said in his post, when actually faced with another steep climb up the hill to where Flio was parked, we weaseled and paid to ride up the hill in a Land Rover. Let’s put a nicer face on it – Michael and I were doing our bit to support the local economy. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Back in Flio we managed to get “home” to Ilfracombe without incident. We may even be getting the hang of navigation here. Maybe.

After a brief rest it was time to face another hillside – this time down to the harbor to find a place for dinner. Michael has told you about this. I’ll only add that the food was great, the room warm, and the company charming. Tired, but charming.

One more hill to climb before we could tuck in for the night. On the way we crossed paths with another soul out for dinner and an evening stroll.

Snail Out For a Stroll, Ilfracombe

Snail Out For a Stroll, Ilfracombe

Back in our room we tucked ourselves in and read a bit before getting a well-deserved night’s sleep.

What catches your eye the most – grand vistas or small details? Tell me about it, I’d love to hear.

Minay

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