Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Cape Cornwall

Half an hour ago I was sitting in the garden in brilliant sunshine with a cup of tea about to head off to the park to meet Mumbling Bob for a little gardening in the wildlife area.  Then I heard the faint rumble of thunder and within minutes the sky had darkened and the heavens opened.  It's now so dark in here that I'm contemplating turning the light on so I can see to type.

The met office DID get it right this time, they said it was going to rain heavily although their timing is a little out, it wasn't supposed to be for another 2 hours!  Anyway, hopefully that means it will end sooner than they say because they promised me it would be an afternoon of sunshine and showers and I have things to DO!

So it seemed like a good time to give you my next Cornwall instalment while I wait.

When I last left you we had spent a very pleasant couple of hours in St Just and then jumped on our bikes for the short hop (mostly down hill) to Cape Cornwall.

Cape Cornwall is a small headland four miles north of Lands End belonging to the National Trust.  For a long time it was thought that the Cape was the most westerly point in England although it has since been proved that Lands End is.

A little known fact is the definition as to what a "cape" really is - it is a headland where two oceans or channels meet. in this case the English Channel and St Georges Channel and It's the only cape in England.

I would always tell people to visit Lands End for the experience (not forgetting to stop off at the First and Last pub on the way down) because there is no doubt that it's a beautiful place.

Well, I SAY beautiful - if you can close your eyes to the Peter de Saveray  monstrosity theme park/visitors centre that you have to pass through (which incidentely serves the most disgusting coffee FROM A MACHINE!!!) and ignore the fact that they charge you to have you photo taken by the Lands End sign post which irks me no end then yes, it really is a beautiful place.

But if you want a true taste of Cornwall on the very edge of England then visit Cape Cornwall instead.

De Saveray fortunately didn't get his hands on this place and the only concession to visitors is a small carpark with excellent recently renovated loos and a lovely lady selling very good coffee, homemade cakes and an assortment of freshly made sandwiches from a little van in the carpark.

As you approach the Cape you have the the lovely Cape golf course on your left which is full of plump brown bunnies running around.  I'm not sure if they are the bane of the green keepers life or if they actually help by keeping the grass nibbled short but it was lovely to see them:

Obviously there were loads more just before I took this snap!

And on the right stands the very imposing Porthledden House built by Captain Francis Oates in 1909.

In the early 20th century, the cape was owned by Captain Francis Oates, who began his working life at age 12 in Balleswidden mine and worked his way up to be Managing Director of De Beers in South Africa.

The history behind the house and the man is fascinating and you can read more about it here if you like.

Then there is the Cape itself:

'Here I have pinched an excerpt from the website above as it tells the story of the Cape so much better than I could'

"Just off shore, the Brison Rocks wrecked a number of ships, and were also said to have been used as a spartan prison at one time. The rocks are also an important breeding ground for sea birds.
Leaving the car park one can walk down a steep hill either to Priest Cove or to the cape. The beach at Priest Cove is rocky, with a small rock pool, and is dominated by the bulk of Cape Cornwall which forms its western headland. A few fishing boats still work lobster pots, catch mackerel out of the cove.
The whole area is littered with the picturesque ruins of the mining industry. And the Cape is recognisable by the old chimney on its summit, a relic from the tin-mining days when mine shafts extend out under the sea for hundreds of metres. There are two paths to the top, a relatively easy one and a steeper one. From the top are fabulous views; Kenidjack, an offshore lighthouse( Longships )and St Helen's Oratory. The chimney stack (Listed Grade II) of Cape Cornwall Mine, which crowns the summit of the cape, is one of a number of mining structures that serve as prominent sea-marks along this rugged stretch of coastline; the white building was the mine’s count house. It from 1850 and was built to serve the boilers of the Cape Cornwall mine which extracted tin and copper from beneath the sea bed between 1836 – 1879, when it then merged with the St Just United mine, just south of the Cape."

But these are my own photos as I'm sure you can tell by the odd angles and the fact that I'm in at least one of them!

We took the easier path up the Cape, less because it was easy and more because it didn't run right alongside the edge where I was sure to plummet to my death on the rocks below!

But I DID manage stop myself throwing up for long enough to let SD take a few photos and yes, I WAS terrified as you can see by my face:

Inches away from certain death!

Trying hard to look nonchalant (and to not throw up)

I'm rubbish with birds but this one was big and circled above us (probably waiting for me to fall so it could peck my eyes out!)
Then the sun came out:

 And the breeze picked up:

When I literally couldn't stomach any more we climbed down to visit the Priest Cove:

Not the prettiest that Cornwall has to offer and also not great for swimming because of the currents but there is a small man made pool:

Which has a certain charm

 And we had a nice chat with a lovely couple who were also on holiday and I had a disturbing moment when I realised that I was perving on a guy young enough to be by oldest sons younger brother (but he WAS gorgeous!!!) so SD thought we should leave before someone called the police.

It was such a great day and we loaded up the bikes before heading to Sennen to watch the sun set and eat cheesy chips on the seafront.

The following day SD had promised to take me somewhere I'd never been before ...



Treey Stynes said...

Fancy perving on someone young enough to be your son. A good post though and very interesting.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Looks like a great - if slightly scary (for the young lad) - day. I really should get ABAB down to Cornwall, haven't been for about 5 years. And, thanks to you, I will NEVER set my watch by the weather forecast ever again. No. :-)

joeh said...

I would not pay for a picture by a sign...google it and photoshop it.

If it was in the US I'd say an Osprey. Either way some hawk or sea eagle.

Sarah said...

I know Treey - I'm not proud of myself ;-)

I'm pretty sure he had no idea Mike (and I shall keep telling myself that!) - definitely go to Cornwall and definitely ignore the met office - sunshine and showers my arse!!! Thunder, lightening and pouring down ALL day here!!!

I wouldn't pay for it either Joe and didn't! Definitely some kind of hawk I'd say (based on no idea at all) it was hunting mice in the heather.

Holly Hollyson said...

I am shocked by myself that I have never been here or even heard of it? Especially considering how close it is to where we lived! We didn't make the most of Cornwall when we lived there.

Sarah said...

It's always the way Holly - I live in the most beautiful county and spend far more time in Devon and Cornwall or Dorset - there's loads of stuff on my doorstep that I haven't seen.