Our last full day in Cornwall

Sunday 9th July 2023

Today we are heading to St Michael’s Mount, the island off Penzance with a castle on top.  At low tide one can walk over the causeway but at others, the only way is by boat but before catching the boat, tickets have to be bought on line.

St.Michaels Mount, to think we climbed to the top

Today our breakfast venue was Tesco as they opened at 1000hrs, Sainsbury opened at 1100hrs so they will be tomorrow’s venue.  We walked into the store only to be told they don’t have a cafe, What???   So we headed back to  Morrisons arriving a little after 10.00 am when they opened but by to our surprise they were already very busy.   We ordered but due to being so busy it took just over half an hour for it to arrive, so they will lose points for that!!!

Our taxi!

We headed off to the small village of Marazion where the boats leave for St Michael’s. We parked easily, then along with many others, searched for the jetty they leave from.   The signage was non-existent and there was no one to ask!!  Eventually we walked down an ally and found the jetty, it turned out there are two but the state of the tide dictates which one gets used; fine but tell people!!!!

On route towards harbour

The sun is out though rain is again forecast so we were armed with anoraks etc., and the sea across to the island looked calm, good job as they are only small boats, ours took 12 people but there were seven today running continuously, so minimal waiting.

50 uneven steps!

St Michael’s Mount is a National Trust property and as we are now back in England and spending holiday time here it seemed appropriate to re-join the Trust, so did so on line and the result of course, being members there was no entry fee.

Then came the steep pebbled path

The 5-minute boat ride was uneventful and we were deposited at the end of the harbour mole, so the walk began.   Firstly everywhere is cobblestones, but not normal, uniform ones, oh no, these were basically flattened stones of every conceivable size so one had to walk with care.    Next the climb, something I was dreading but it has to be done; can’t give in and with Christine’s encouragement and a number of stops along the way we arrived at the castle entrance, great.  Unfortunately upon entering the castle we were confronted with more steps!!!

Rough path to castle, health and safety haven’t been here!

St Michael’s Mount: The monastery that became a castle that became a home

The library

This castle is perched on top of a granite rock just off the coast; obviously a good defensive position, and the sort of place that would appeal to holy men back in 495AD when the first church was built up there, followed by a monastery few hundred years later, both dedicated to St Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of fishermen. This is England’s  answer to Mont Saint Michel, just off the Normandy coast of France.  Over the years there has been much “activity” over ownership but in 1659 it was sold to Colonel John St Aubyn, an MP at the time who had served in Cromwell’s Parliamentary army, since then his descendants, the Lords St Levan have remained.   Apart from the castle there are a number of cottages and a community still living there with children having to ferry over to the mainland to attend school. 

Dining area

In spite of the gloomy weather forecast, the sun was shining and the views from the battlements over Cornwall were lovely.   Wandering around the castle was interesting but as usual whilst visiting these places, there is never enough time to take a good look at everything, especially as we had the daunting prospect of retracing our steps back down the steep stony pathway; also being a Sunday it was rather busy.

Outside the church

Back down in the harbour with the causeway still under water, we had to buy 2-more boat tickets; they don’t sell return tickets🤔🤔

Harbour view from top

Having enjoyed a late Morrisons breakfast, we headed back “home” and as luck would have it, get back in time for the British Grand Prix, good planning or what!!!

The church on top floor

After an exciting GP with two British drivers on the podium and hearing England had clinched a win at Headingly in the ashes, we headed into town for dinner.   Tonight we went to the Admiral Benbow, the oldest pub in Penzance, serving rum ti pirates and smugglers since 1695.  It was a rather dark and pokey place but the food was nice and beer good, what else matters though Christine was pleased it was dark as the place looked as if it could do with a deep clean!!!

We headed back through the town, but everything was shut and the place was dead, then back through Penlee Park and had a listen to the group performing at the outside theatre, but not for long as we weren’t impressed!!!

Our last day today put this short break has wetted our appetites so will defiantly be back to visit Cornwall, but for longer next time.

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