Yesterday we visited the South coast of Cornwall, today would be the rugged North coast.
We had three destinations in mind, an Earthcache on the South West Coast Path called Ladies Window, a visit round the Arthurian town and castle of Tintagel and if, time permitted, Padstow.
From Liskeard, our base for the week, the route to the North coast is not easy. There are two main alternatives for heading North, one was driving on ‘A’ roads which predominantly go East/West so there was a lot of zig-zagging from one to another, or take the very minor roads which head North. We opted for the latter and within 20 minutes fully realised the peril of this route. The high hedges of the narrow Cornish lanes, with infrequent passing places, was not a good place to be with a delivery van and a three other cars coming towards us! Some (slightly poor) reversing later and we were through. The car just about survived but as for the hedge…
We paused principally to regain our composure in a layby and discovered we were within 16 feet of one of the Cornish Compass caches. We found it, and took some comfort from the fact we may not have stopped at that layby had it not been for the Southbound traffic queue we had to negotiate.
Ladies Window is a natural arch high on the South West Coast path halfway between Tintagel and Boscastle. There is no obvious car parking nearby but we managed to park near some farm buildings in the tiny hamlet of Trevalga. This left us a good half a mile walk to the arch. The arch is well hidden from the South West Coast path, indeed we walked a few yards past it before we stepped off the path to see it! Being an Earthcache there is no physical container to find, all we had to do was provide the cache owner with facts and figures about the geology, and the shape and size of the arch. While we stood thinking about the questions several other walkers went by – most seemed unaware that the arch was there and we directed them to see the arch.
Our main sightseeing goal was Tintagel. Full of tourist shops trading on the myth that Arthur was born there. The town was heaving and we parked in the first car park we saw – sadly he furthest away from the Castle and surprisingly the most expensive!
Tintagel Castle is not for the weak or faint hearted.
It is hard work.
The town of Tintagel is about 280 feet above sea level, the castle (spread over the mainland and an island) are also about 280 feet above sea level. But it wasn’t a flat route between the Tintagel sites! Our route took us DOWN 200 feet, UP 100 feet, DOWN 100 feet to the causeway to the island, UP 100 feet to the Island summit, DOWN 100 feet to the causeway, a further 70 feet DOWN to the sea and then back UP 270 feet to the town!
The ups and downs are not easy as much of the route is carved out of the rockface. But we got there!
We checked every ruined room, we avoided the coachload of Spanish/Italian? schoolchildren (and a similar amount of French schoolchildren), we read every noticeboard, we went through the tunnel, and walked around walled garden.. and there at the far end of the Island was the person we were looking for… KING ARTHUR!
We finished on the beach, and looked in Merlin’s Cave (really a cave tunnel under the castle) and few other caves.
Before our final ascent to the village of Tintagel we had a cache to find. Set about a short distance from the castle and on the Coast Path we found it fairly quickly. Though Mr Hg137 was asked by a passing rambler whether we was alright when his arm was half in a rabbit hole!
Tintagel had not got quieter.
We walked away from the tourist centre to undertake a Church Micro Multi. We acquired the final coordinates (not easy from an almost illegible sign) and walked to a gate/stile nearby. Sadly we could not find the cache.
We walked through the tourist town. A small nano was hidden near a seat, in the most busy part of town. We gave ourselves 10 minutes of searching, sadly another DNF! Tintagel Castle had cast its mystical spell rendering our caching powers useless!
The day was getting late, we were exhausted from climbing up and down… the Ladies Window and Tintagel had beaten us, Padstow would have to wait for another day.