Monday, February 22, 2021

Coastal Scenery Around Bude, Cornwall


During our last few days in Devon, England we decided to take a little rest from visiting properties and drive to the coastline not too far from our home away from home.

Soon we will be traveling to Salisbury and then on to Southampton for our journey home on the Queen Mary 2.   Before I share about these packed days ahead I want to record the spectacular coastline.

We drove to the seaside town of Bude that is in northeast Cornwall.  

Bude's coastline is along Bude Bay in the Celtic Sea that is part of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bude was a favorite seaside village with the Victorians.  This chilly afternoon we see many folks enjoying a round of golf on the course that runs through the center of town.

To the south of Bude is the spectacular Widemouth Bay!  Though there seemed to be a front approaching we enjoyed the lovely views from the safety of our vehicle.

Along the coastline there we found Cornish Ice Cream trucks parked at overlooks.  We certainly enjoyed indulging.

While we were gazing at the lovely ocean, the green water turned a pretty shade of Caribbean blue.  Widemouth Bay is steeped in smuggling history of years gone by.  Sloops from Wales used to use Widemouth as a port for dropping off coal and limestone.  They would take back home tin, slate, copper, granite, and Cornish pasties.

There is a walking path along the cliffs.  There was a warning about how unstable this area was, so we did not take a walk here.  

We decided to drive back to have dinner in Bude at the Falcon hotel we noticed.

The Falcon Hotel is the oldest coaching hotel in North Cornwall established in 1798.  Grayden had a wonderful fish pie and I ordered the turkey coronation sandwich.  

 In front of the Falcon is the Bude Canal.  

The canal was built in 1823 to transport the mineral rich sand to farmers as fertilizer.  It was 35 miles long and needed to climb 430 feet in the first six miles with the use of a series of locks known as incline planes.  

Just to the north of Bude is Sandymouth Bay.  It proved to be quite wild and chilly and not too hospitable to enjoy outside.

Sandymouth Bay is a popular spot for surfers and swimmers when the tides allow.  As you can see the tide is high this afternoon.  The National Trust takes care of this beach and I must say it is a stunning spot. 

The notes in my journal remind me this is our last evening in the Cornwall/Devon area.  We need to pack our luggage and move on to the next spot of our extraordinary celebration of our Golden Anniversary. 




Friday, February 12, 2021

Godrevy Lighthouse


I have always loved lighthouses.  We have visited about every lighthouse along the Eastern Seaboard and many on our trips to the Caribbean and those in California.  My late sister and I shared this love and along with her husband and mine we always were on another adventure to visit these beacons of light.  Staying in a lighthouse that had been converted to a bed and breakfast was a thrill for us.  Just two weeks before my sister left this earthly world, we climbed the Assateague Lighthouse together.  Though she was suffering with pancreatic cancer, she scaled the lighthouse with ease.  I will never see a lighthouse without thinking of my dear sister, Susan.  

When we left St Michael's Mount in Marazion, Cornwall, England we were quite close to Godrevy Lighthouse.  It was only natural that we traveled to have a look at this beacon.

The Godrevy Lighthouse sits on Godrevy island in St Ives Bay, Cornwall.  After finding a spot to park the car we walked along the beach path to get a better view.

The Godrevy Light stands at 86 feet tall off Godrevy Head.  It marks Stones Reef which is the site of many shipwrecks.  No lighthouse was built until the the SS Nile crashed here sadly claiming all 40 souls onboard in 1854.  There had been many pleas for a lighthouse to be placed here before then.   A local clergyman, Rev. J. W. Murray started a petition to Trinity House to have a lighthouse built at Godrevy.  Trinity House is the authority for lighthouses and other navigational aids for England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and Gibraltar.   

 The lighthouse sits in the center of the island.  Originally there were cottages for the lighthouse keepers.  The lighthouse was designed by James Walker and engineered by James Sutcliffe in 1857.  The construction took over a year and the lighthouse became operational in 1859.  The first light was an oil lamp powered by a first order Fresnel lens by Henri Lapaute of Paris.  A fog bell was also installed.  Lighthouse keepers stayed on the island for two month on and one month off rotation.  In 1933 a second order lens was installed.  By 1939 no light keepers occupied the island and their cottages were removed.  In 1995 the light was modernized with solar panels that you can see to the left of the lighthouse.

 Godrevy lighthouse is said to have inspired Virginia Wolf to write To the Lighthouse even though she locates her story in the Hebrides on the Isle of Skye.  She had spent her childhood summers at Talland House in St Ives that looked at the Godrevy light. 

Since it is low tide we saw many folks enjoying the beach among these large rocks.  I can imagine there are interesting treasures to be found at low tide.  You can really see why a lighthouse was needed.  

We enjoyed seeing the coastline of St Ives and were happy to see the lighthouse.  After our long day in Cornwall visiting St Michael's Mount and Godrevy Lighthouse it was time for us to make our way back to Devon.

The sun and clouds highlighted the patchwork fields as we traveled along the roads.

The pastoral scenes of England always delight me!  You wouldn't believe how many photos I snapped while Grayden was driving.

Driving to our home away from home the sun begins to shine.  Our hearts are full of happy memories from a glorious day! 


Saturday, February 6, 2021

St Michael's Mount in Cornwall England


During these cold winter days, I hope to finish my posts on our Golden Anniversary to England.  All of these posts reside in order under the Great Britain tab above.  Come along with us as we travel to Cornwall and visit a place that Bronze age settlers, monks, pilgrims, and soldiers have all trod. 

 The clouds followed us as we travelled down to the town of Marazion, Cornwall.  Marazion is one of the oldest towns in the UK.  Its charter was incorporated in 1257 in a grant by Henry III and was reaffirmed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1595.  Pilgrims came to the area to visit the Benedictine Monastery on St Michael's Mount on the shores of Mount's Bay.  George Fox, one of the founders of the Religious Society of Friends stayed in Marazion in 1656.  John Wesley preached here in 1789.  St Michael's Mount has been a Christian holy place since the fifth century and sits on the iconic rocky island that houses a medieval church and castle and guards the entrance to Land's End district of Cornwall.  The imposing island is home to the St Aubyn family and an additional population of 30 islanders.

Notice to get to the island we need to take a boat during high tide as the causeway is covered in water!  We planned our visit carefully as the tides vary greatly here.  In the above photo you can see a faint white curved line leading to the island.  This will be an important reference later.  So stay tuned.

If this site reminds you of another famous Mont-St-Michel, in France, like I did, they both are intimately connected to each other.  Visions of the archangel were seen during the fifth century at both sites.  The two shrines are situated on the English Channel, one in England and the other in France.

In order to go to the island we need to hop onboard a boat and take a ride to see if we can climb (yes, we have to climb) up to see the church and castle!

Watch your step on the rocks as they are quite slippery!

As we disembark, we land on the island.  The beauty of the architecture is quite impressive and so charming. 

"The history of St Michael's Mount stretches back into the mists of time, but it is still home to me and my family, as well as some thirty other people who live and work on the island.  Whether you came because of its beauty, its spirituality, its varied past or to find out more about its vibrant present, I very much hope that you have enjoyed your experience here."

Lord St Levan

As you can see many folks enjoy visiting St Michael's Mount.


You know how much we love the National Trust!  St Michael's Mount is taken care of by them and the St Aubyn family working together.  It's quite worrisome that the pandemic has had a negative affect on the National Trust properties.  Hopefully when we return to normalcy all of us can support their efforts to preserve these ancient properties. 

Unless you are royalty, we must climb the steep, rocky, hill to visit the castle and church.  We are so glad that we walk daily and are still able to do these strenuous climbs!

The Pilgrim's steps lead us up, up, up!  Take your time and be sure to rest along the way.  The climb is quite vertical!   The Pilgrim's steps here are part of a vast network of trails in Europe.  Starting in Lelant near St Ives, St Michael's Way is a 12.5 mile stretch ending at St Michael's Mount.  We are not doing the long walk from Lelant, but will climb to the top!

This area is full of tales and legends about a giant, Cormoran and his wife Cormelian.  A local lad, dubbed Jack the Giant Killer, is said to have defeated the giant here after the giant was terrifying the locals.

His heart of stone is said to be buried here.

So we really don't have to worry about a giant.  All we have to do is take one step in front of the other and continue on our journey.

We're getting closer.

Just a little bit further, but I must say this is quite a scramble at the top!

As you can see we are quite high up on the Mount.  For perspective notice the motor boat on the right.

The entrance is directly in front of us now.  You can see there is no where to back up and take a photo at this point!

The St Aubyn coat of Arms is above the mantle.  Colonel St Aubyn was the Governor of the island in 1647.

His handsome travelling chest sits by the entrance.

The library used to be the original kitchen for the priory.  In the late 18th century the castle was renovated to be more comfortable for its inhabitants. 

The Chevy Chase was the refectory for the priory.  It acted as the main dining room for the family until the 1950's.  They still eat here on occasion.  


There are lovely stained glass windows all about the castle. 

Stepping outside, we are on the South Terrace.  If you don't like heights, stay close to the building.  Don't ask me how I know this!

Going to the North Terrace we are on the highest point of the natural rock where we see the medieval church dedicated to St Michael.

We need to walk around that narrow walk to access the church entrance.  Yikes!  We didn't come all this way to back down now.  Just stay close and don't look down!

We made it to the entrance and now if you wish you can enter the medieval church.  It is still an active church that is used for services.

The church was built by Bernard le Bec, Abbot of Mont-St-Michel in Normandy in 1135.  It has undergone many restorations since that time, but remains a lovely place of spirituality.  It truly is the heart of St Michael's Mount.  

Sitting quietly in this place of worship touched our hearts, as we thought of all the souls of all those who have worshiped at St Michaels through the ages.

As we leave the ancient church we are directed to visit the rest of the castle.

Entering the Blue Drawing Rooms we learn they were designed and furnished in the 1750s by the 4th Sir John St Aubyn.  This is where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert came for tea on the Mount.  Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited here in 2013 and signed the visitor's book.

Moving into the Map Room we see a model of the Mount made from champagne corks.  It was made by Henry Lee who served as butler to the family in the 1930s.  He worked for the family for 49 years.

It is now time for us to make our way outside and leave the Mount.  Surely walking down should be easier, but I'm afraid that is not true, so please be careful.  

The views are lovely as we stop along the way.  We notice the tide is really getting quite low.

The same boat that we rode over to the Mount is now sitting in the sand!

As you can see we can now walk over the revealed causeway instead of taking a boat ride!  Before walking back let's have lunch in the Sail Loft on the island.  I'm having the leek and potato soup and Grayden is having the ham and cheese sandwich.  See what you would like as you have earned a nice lunch after all of that hiking up and down St Michael's Mount!

Thanks for coming along with us.  After lunch we will walk on the causeway and have a Cornish ice cream cone.