All my life, I’ve been a Knight in Mind and Amour and now, after visiting Tintagel, legendary birthplace of Arthur, he of Camelot, valiant leader of Knights and the entire Kingdom of England, I know why I always had dreamed of visiting this place.
Expecting to see only small remains of old castle walls hanging grimly to a cliff edge on the north coast of Cornwall, shortly into the walk I rounded a corner to gaze on two clumps that looked like I was right.
Snapped off a few photos and continued the saunter down a pathway on a wonderful day in May, a light breeze, a high sky and almost with the castle to my own meandering.
On reaching the hill bottom my half-dreaming world opened suddenly to the magic that is Tintagel.
A secluded cove surrounded on three sides by towering cliffs above deep, dark, intriguing caves, the sea a dazzling aqua, slapping gently onto rocks below, a fishing vessel crossing at sea, and up and around me to my left as I turned to see where else there might be, a castle that even today would be impossible to breach, if that was the purpose of the visit. Breathtaking. Camelot. Still magnificent.
For those hardy seafaring traders who rowed and sailed their small vessels from the Mediterranean Sea to these shores in search of tin, it must have been the highest and mightiest fortress ever seen. There was no chance of pillaging here, cash up front would have been the order of the day, and for tin they’d gladly pay handsomely. It seems a mutually happy place to be, it must have been a colourful and exotic sight on market day.
We climbed the steep stone stairway wound round the island’s sheer granite walls until reaching an ancient gateway where we could pause for breath and take in the amazing eastern views of the Cornish coast, seeing for miles, probably all the way to Lundy Island in the far distance. This was a clear and sunny day with only a slight breeze, no summer haze, uncrowded, idyllic.
Wandering amongst the ruins of cottages, garrets, storehouses, walled gardens, now roofless but the foundations still clearly evident, strong, built to last forever against all odds, including weather, it is still a place to inspire the imagination, to pause, take in the natural world and to think how exciting it must be to be up here on a day when the Atlantic throws in one of her best storms. The castle would still be here tomorrow but your hair may not!
We would definitely have lived here, especially the Knights amongst us. It is interesting to see the inhabitants have only moved from the internal to the external regions of the castle. The new now perched up on the nearby high ground, looking down on the castle that continues to provide and secure their living.
It’s well worth the visit, many times.
So, on to Boscastle ..