Three years, a pandemic and a slew of canceled/rescheduled arrangements, we made it back. The flight over was uneventful and surprisingly smooth – Customs formailities non-existent and Immigration (almost) a pleasure – walk almost non-stop through the usual rat’s maze queue, place the passport in the scanner face down – look straight ahead at the self adjusting camera and bingo! Her Majesty’s services swing the door open and you’re in.
No drive from Heathrow accross to the West Country would be the same without the obligatory stop at Stonehenge – no matter how brief or close you walk around the ancient pile of stones, placed like a giant’s mumbly-peg set, one cannot help but be amazed.
As an aside, no one really has the “straight skinny” on the when’s and why’s of Stonehenge – here’s a couple of the latest theories:
“Researchers say the site was created based on a solar year of 365.25 days to help people keep track of days, weeks and months. The mystery of Stonehenge may finally have been unravelled by researchers who say it’s a giant solar calendar that may link the UK to ancient Egypt.” 2 Mar 2022
“Research in the last decade has confirmed that the igneous bluestones were brought to Stonehenge from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, over 200km to the west. The sandstones have been tracked to eastern Wales although the exact outcrops have yet to be found ” .29 Jul 2020
“In 1924, Farmer Nathaneaul Porridgewock, found some big rocks and decided to build a circular barn with the help of his wife and the older 13 of his 16 sons. A subsequent windstorm later in the year caused all the wood and turf used for the roof to blow off and the foundation stones only remained. Porridgewock’s 2nd cousin, Percy, fleeing an ill-judged target for a scam he was running in London near Parliment, arrived at the farm and saw a money making opportunity. He got Farmer P’s sons to cut down all the trees between the foundation stones and the country road and started selling a chance to “observe ancient rocks up close” for only 10P. The rest is history” 28 May, 2022
Choose your own conclusion as nearly everyone else has.
We’re using Wincanton, or more specifically, Horsington Marsh as our base and made a short trip down to Cornwall, spending 2 nights there. We’ve only been to Port Issac previously, but stretched out and stayed in Penzance in a really cool tiny houselet –
HIKING IN CORNWALL
So, we could record a whole bunch of details, trace every step we took, blah, blah, blah. Here’s the nut of it – there is more hiking on the bottom of SW England, in Cornwall, than anyone could detail in other than a series of books. Most hikes are well publicized already, but there is plenty of interesting “detours” that well equipped and slightly mad hikers/ ramblers/scramblers could take. For example:
The Southwest Coastal Path.
We did two pieces, the first in Marazion fronting right on the beach. Looming several hundred yards offshore is the Mount of St. Michael. Which you can hike out to at low tide. An extended stay on the island can be arranged merely by hanging around too long while the tide comes back in and then a long wait for the next low tide (or pay to have one of the local marine entrepreneurs, (read that as the Pirates of Penzance still live!), to take you back off by boat.
The second hike, a little more than 6 miles, started at Prussia Cover and went south towards, but didn’t reach, the Lizard – the southernmost point in England. The path is sometimes on gravel cliff top one lane roads, sometimes across gravel and scree beach and often on cow paths that are perfect tunnels – if you’re 5’4″ or less in stature. Also, given the British tradition of Health and Safety, warning signs are considerately posted here and there…
And finally, on top of the Bodwin Moors…
Going Bodmin, in local nomenclature, means the mental state of someone who has spent too much time out on the Moors. Daphne du Maurier gained some of her fame by writing of those afflicted by madness of the moors. At first look, it seems barren, the predominant plants are thorny and the wind howls incessantly. The wild beauty of it undeniable. When you drive on the 1.25 lane roads to the upper reaches of the Moors, (at your peril), you drive across a cattle grate and suddenly you are in livestock wonderland. Cows, Moors ponies, sheep of every description, foxes, badgers and song birds by the hundreds greet you at every point of the compass. After lunch outside the Minions Tea Room (Highest Tea Room in aaaalllll Cornwall), we set off for our final hike in Cornwall – to the top of the Cheesewringer!
Hiking up to the Cheesewringer, which is topped with a natural roack formation that resembles a mammoth stack of granite pancakes, is not the casual stroll it might appear to be, but worth the effort. After working off the calorie load from the Minions Tea Room in the first half hour of the climb, the work part of the hike started and it is, for safety, hands and feet in a couple of spots. The view, all the way to sea, is worth every moment of the climb
And lastly, just to keep things in perspective……………………………..
Next time: Wild flora and the doors of Britain