Showing posts with label cornwall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cornwall. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vacation 2010 Day 14: Pendennis Castle


Falmouth was the first place I lived in Cornwall, and I ended up spending more than ten years there and in the surrounding area. It had been about twenty years since I had lived there, so I was very interested to see if much had changed. The first place I headed to was Pendennis Castle.


Built in the 1540's, Pendennis Castle and its sister St Mawes Castle were built to protect the narrow entrance to Falmouth Harbour and Carrick Roads, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Built under orders of Henry VIII in expectation of an attack by the French and Spanish, which never materialized, the castle played a part in the English Civil War and was one of the last Royalist hold-outs.


From the castle one can look down on the Falmouth Hotel, a railway hotel built after the train line came to Falmouth from Truro. I worked at the hotel as a night porter when I was a student. Spent most of my time in the hotel swimming pool and writing my thesis. My kind of job.


Looking back over Falmouth, little seemed to have changed.


The castle itself is not so big, but with several narrow staircases and narrow windows the combination of stone, light and shadow remained evocative. Disappointing was that one floor had been set up with cannons and mannequins and with fake smoke, flashing red lights, and a pre-recorded soundtrack the disneyfication of history and culture seems to be growing.

All around the headland and castle are benches to sit on and enjoy the expansive views up and down the coast and inland as far as the China Clay pits up around St. Austell. I miss benches here in Japan. One of the first things I noticed when moving here was the lack of places to sit in public. My first thought was that sitting was not good for the economy. Waste of time. Should be either working or shopping. Not sure my thought has changed after all these years.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vacation 2010 Day 12: Penzance to Helston


After St Ives I headed back to Penzance on the south coast to find the weather brightened so I walked 5k along the beach to St Michaels Mount.


There may very well be beaches in Japan that are wide and flat with the sea receding a long ways during the tides, but I havent been to them.


Not as famous as the bigger Mont St Michel across the channel, The Mount, as it is known locally, has a lot of history and was once inland but became an island when Lyonesse sank.

It is the home of some Lord or other but is administered by the National Trust nowadays.

Back when I was a student in Cornwall one of my friends mother was the cook in "the big house".

I know Thatcher stayed here...............


I walked back to Marazion on the mainland along the granite causeway before jumping a bus to Helston where I would be staying for the night with friends.


Got off in Porthleven for a wander..... I briefly stayed here when I first moved to Cornwall.


A picturesque fishing village, the coast path from here down to the Lizard is one of my favorite parts.


In Helston, a medieval market town and home of the Furry Dance, one of the oldest living traditions in Britain.

The Blue Anchor, a pub over 600 years old, still make their own beer. The different varieties are sold by specific gravity and my favorite was called Old Bastard. Twice a year the pub sells a double-strength version and as students we would come and fill up containers to take away.

There is still a skittle alley in back.