My second day in Cornwall proved to be even wetter than the first; so much for my dream of strolling along a sunny beach with a Cornish ice cream in hand. I donned my rain jacket and grabbed an umbrella, reminding myself that I was experiencing authentic British weather. Despite the rain, the coast of Cornwall was spectacular.
Our first stop for the day was the Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This dramatic site was carved from the cliffside by a determined woman, Rowena Cade, and her gardener.
From the hilltop I could also see Porthcurno Beach which was used in filming for the British TV series, Poldark.
Our next stop was Land’s End, the most westerly tip of England, but the headland was lost in the fog. Later we would stop to see the relics of a Cornish tin mine but these too were shrouded in mist.
In the tiny fishing village of Marazion, I sampled a delicious Cornish pasty from Philps Famous Pasties. The traditional filling for the half-moon shaped pastry is beef, potato, onion and swede (similar to turnip). Pasties were a convenient meal for tin miners who often couldn’t surface at lunchtime. The thick, crimped crust could be held in dirty hands and then discarded to avoid poisoning from arsenic in the ore.
|The Village of Marazion|
|My First Cornish Pasty from Philps Famous Pasties|
After finishing my pasty, I got my chance to walk the beach and breathe the salty sea air.
|The Beach at Marazion|
We then crossed a causeway at low tide to St. Michael’s Mount, the sister isle of Normandy’s Mont St. Michel.
|St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall|
|Causeway Access Times|
It was a steep, rocky climb to the top of the island but the views from the medieval castle were worth the effort. (I’ll tell you more about St. Michael’s Mount in a future post.)
|Stairway on St. Michael's Mount|
|The Medieval Castle|
|View Towards Marazion|
At high tide we returned to the mainland in a small boat.
|Boat to the Mainland|
|Causeway at High Tide|
The last stop on our itinerary was the seaside town of St. Ives, a popular art colony for more than a hundred years. The sidewalks were crowded with holidaymakers so we slipped into a quiet café for a Cornish cream tea (a pot of tea served with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam). It’s a good thing I’d burned a few extra calories climbing to the top of the mount!
|St. Ives, Cornwall|
|A Cornish Cream Tea|
Back at Merchants Manor in Falmouth for dinner, I ordered the West Country Surf and Turf: a Philip Warren Ribeye with Cockles and Samphire. I’d never heard of samphire before (and had only a vague idea about cockles) but the meal was excellent. Cockles are tiny sea clams and samphire is a crisp, salty sea vegetable found in coastal shallows.
|Merchants Manor, Falmouth|
|Heritage Tomatoes with Pine Nut, Peach and Basil|
|West Country Surf and Turf:|
Philip Warren Ribeye with Cockles and Samphire
|English Strawberries with Lavender, Clotted Cream and Meringue|
The next day was a free day to explore Falmouth, Cornwall’s largest port. I hoped I could trust the weather forecast which called for clearing skies. And with luck I might find a new bird for my collection.
Next: Falmouth and St. Mawes