Thursday, May 25, 2017

CORNWALL 2017: Tintagel Castle

Of all the places we saw and things we did this trip to Cornwall, visiting the Tintagel Castle on the north coast was the most memorable.

First off, here's Cornwall at the southern end of England.
The distance from the St. Austell area to Tintagel is 39 km., so not that far away.

After parking on a gorgeous, sunny day, we walked through the village of Tintagel.
With a population of only 2K +/- people, it is still one of the most-visited places in Britain.

And to whet our appetite for the connected legend of King Arthur,
we stopped and had our fun along the way to the rocky headland on the Atlantic coast.
This is King Arthur's Hall, originally the headquarters of the Order of the Fellowship 
of the Knights of the Round Table, used now as a Masonic hall.
Don't you love this stuff!

But THIS is the spot on the coast that was occupied from the late Roman period, 
becoming a thriving Dark Age settlement and port.  In the 12th century, 
Geoffrey of Monmouth named it as the legendary site of Arthur's conception and birth.
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle here during the 1230s.
The bridge at the bottom, #5, is what takes you over into another world.

Leaving Pauline and Chris in the village to fend for themselves, Astrid and I went off on our own.
We were flanked high on the left by the Tintagel Church and on the right by the Camelot Castle hotel.
The road took us down and down and down to the Atlantic Ocean.
I must go down to the sea again...

Once passing the information center, we came to The Haven, where we began our tour.
OMG.  What is it about the sea.  The big water!

Here at the cove, The Haven, is Merlin's Cave, on the left..
It's huge!  See how tiny the people are?
And all this part of the site is free.

We could have stayed there forever but we were not there to see Merlin's Cave.
We were there to walk the island amongst the ruins of history!
So from the shore we had to start climbing up and up and up to the bridge that would take us over.

At that point, the bridge, we had to pay our entrance fee for the island,
after which we climbed up yet again.  This is not a place for the weak of heart or limb.

At the top, the doorway took us into the other world...
of ruins and vistas and imagination.

Look how Mother Earth grows where she can, seemingly oblivious to history and legend.

How do you explain the vastness of the place!
You can close your eyes and picture the island courtyard and Great Hall.

It felt like we were forever climbing, this time to the northern ruins.
We knew the statue of Gallos was at the most northern tip of the island...

and there we saw him, all 8 feet of him.
I thought it was Merlin but have read that it is Gallos, the Cornish word for "power."
I'm now confused, but we fell in love with him, whoever he is.

Apparently not everyone is impressed but he was one of our biggest highlights and thrills.

From Gallos we walked to the southern cliffs of the island, looking back to Tintagel church,

while walking back down to the courtyard and Great Hall.

Bronze artifacts with their write-ups educated us along the way.

When we got to the doorway through which we would climb back down to cross the bridge again,
we left behind a world of fantasy and legend I'll never forget.  

And now all I want to do is watch all those King Arthur movies again!
My favorite is The Mists of Avalon but First Knight comes close behind.
Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, many characters sustain the King Arthur legend!
I wonder, of course, if you have your own favorite movie/story?


  1. Bonjour Ginnie et merci pour cette belle série sur la Cornouaille. J'ai été voir le château de Tintagel, on dit que c'était le château du roi Arthur. Il n'en reste pas grand chose mais le lieu a quelque chose de touchant.

    1. Well, I don't know if it ever was King Arthur's castle, Marie, but it sure was fun pretending it was there! Merci.

  2. OMG, how could you bear to leave? The wild wonder of it all is breathtaking. WOW!

    1. I know, Ruth. I know. You can see why we were in a trance!

  3. This was indeed the highlight of the trip. We all know the story of King Arthur, Camelot, Merlin, name them. Now to be at the 'supposed' spot, that was exciting. The statue is my favourite, so well done and so impressive. It gave me goosebumps.... yes I have seen too many movies. I loved the island and the grotto. What a pace to be. Incredible pictures again. Short of eyes. Thank you again for making this memory. IHVJ.

    1. We would have spent more time there if Chris and Pauline hadn't been waiting for us. I would have wanted to sit somewhere and just take the whole thing in! We were so lucky to have good weather that day, after so much rain!

  4. I like First Knight but I love your photos more! Gorgeous! One can just imagine...

    1. Our imaginations can totally take off in a place like that, Marie, right? And to think we had never heard of it before Pauline told us about it!

  5. The most upsetting blog of all. We were there, but arrived so late due to traffic along the coast that we never had time to visit Tintagel - our choice was there or a real castle with a secret passage for escape. We all chose the latter, but we saw Tintagel from the shore and wondered.Still wondering, but you have filled the wonder. Thank you.

    Looking forward to your visit, but we are having a season of constant rain.

    1. Well, now you know what you missed, Ted. But I totally understand how you can't see everything!!! I'm sure you're all very grateful for the memories you have.

  6. you guys sure do get around, i take it neither of you are weak of heart or limb.

    the turned it into a masonic lodge? i remember once i was out at night, looking for a certain church and i pulled into a masonic lodge by accident, and a mason guy came up to me with his sash on and asked me if he could help me... i stared at him wide eyed and said 'do you guys really worship satan???' and he laughed and said 'no'... i didn't laugh and said 'no really' and the guy just walked away haha

    sorry, this comment has very little to do with king arthur and merlin... i liked 'first knight' as well :)

    1. Well, talking about the Masons is another thing altogether, so we won't go there. I'm just glad I have a new knee that allowed me to do all that up-and-down climbing. It really was a workout!

  7. This had to be THE highlight of the trip! How incredible!!! Those flowers on top of those rocks...those views...all that GREEN! I'm overwhelmed!

  8. Ginnie, this place is so beautiful. I've always thought of Cornwall as charming village, but nature too? Wow.

    1. Oh, yes, Maria...nature, too! It's everywhere!