Friday, 8 June 2012

Western Cornish Discoveries

Another 'two blog post day' - as we are busy getting out and about when it is sunny, that only leaves the rainy times for blog writing.

Lanyon Quoit
A sort-of sunny day and we had booked a 4-hour minibus tour (extended to five by chatty fellow guests and Russ our guide). These small group tours are tailored a bit to what the participants want. Russ first took us to a couple of ancient sites from the stone, iron and bronze ages and entertained us with legends of their origins. Paul took advantage of a ‘Where’s Wally’ opportunity climbing through the fertility ring (all he did was bring on a heavy downpour when all else was sunshine – and we were a good 20 minutes from the nearest shelter). 
Morning tea was traditional Cornish clotted cream tea (this amazing clotted cream goes straight from lips to hips)!
It was so relaxing for Paul to be sitting high in a minibus with someone else negotiating the 5mm gap from wing mirror clash point to granite hedge scratch point that he even dozed off a once or twice.
An ancient fertility ritual! Well it made it rain!
We finished with a tour of tin mine workings/ruins at Botallack, a mine that travelled 5km out into the ocean at a depth of 1.8kms. My ancestors worked at this mine and after work they would trudge the 4 miles in the January fog, rain and storms along muddy tracks to St Just. (Paul says “No cement pills required for these guys!”) Cornwall had a one-speed economy (tin and copper) and when that dried up, the economy went down further than a Cornish miner. We learned a lot about the ingenuity of the Cornish, as well as their hardships (silicosis, arsenic poisoning, mine accidents) - life was as hard as the granite that makes up this area. No wonder they left for Australia (and other parts of the world) when the chance arose.
We finished the day travelling to Padstow (or Padstein as cynical locals call it), home to ‘would-be toffs’ from London propping up the Cornish economy on their gourmet ‘staycations’.

View from the 'arsenic' tunnels at Botallack mine

Ruins of the Botallack mine

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