Feeling Alive at St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
The ocean, the coast, cliff tops, mountains, frontiers which are unpredictable, controlled by the elements, hit by the raw power of nature, these are places where you really feel alive. Wind, rain or snow hitting your face, embrace it and love the moment!
Our time at St Michael’s Mount gave me that feeling, I would love to stay there for days and days and experience everything this tiny majestic island rising from the sea has to offer. When organising our trip to Cornwall this was a place we had to see. We arrived late afternoon and the light was already fading, we parked at a car park on the sea front in Marazion and got there in time to see everyone carrying their surfboards and windsurfing boards in…jealous!
That first view of the mount though…it really is something else! Rising from the sea topped by a castle, is this Camelot? You can well imagine this being the setting for so many myths and legends. Cut off from the mainland at high tide and only accessible via a causeway at low tide or by boat there are still about 40 people who live on the island…what a place to live!
In Cornish the name of the island is apparently Karrek Loos yn Koos…now my knowledge of Cornish is non existent but this supposedly means hoar rock in woodland. It is thought that this bay was once a woodland that has since flooded explaining it’s Cornish name. The St Aubyn family have lived at the castle and chapel since the 1600’s and still do today, the castle is now owned by the National Trust but is leased to the family for 999 years with them allowed to run the visitors side of things as a business. There is a timetable of when the castle and gardens are open to visitors which can be seen on their website here. The earliest buildings on the island date back to the 1200’s when it was the site of a monastery. Given it’s location it is easy to understand that it has played its part in conflict over the years. In 1473 during the war of the Roses John De Vere, Earl of Oxford seized the mount and held it for 23 weeks against an attacking force of 6000 troops loyal to Edward IV. Cannons based on the island drove a ship of Napoleon’s army to be caught on Marazion Beach and during world war two the island was fortified to help defend against possible invasion, it had even been cherry picked by Nazi General Von Ribbentrop to be his home once Britain had been conquered! You only have to have glanced at a picture to know that St Michael’s Mount was the setting for countless of amazing stories throughout time.
Crossing over to St Michael’s Mount was an awesome experience! We walked across the causeway whilst the tide was out, avoiding the really slippy sea weed covering the path, it really felt like an adventure, my partner Katalin constantly asking “What if the tide comes in?” Someone contacted me on Instagram and told me a story about how they had been cut off on the island and thought they were going to have to spend a night there before a fisherman kindly offered to take them back to the mainland! We visited during the off season when the gardens and castle are only open on a Tuesday or Friday so unfortunately we were not able to discover all of the islands secrets, but I still really enjoyed our time there, it is totally unique, I had never been anywhere like this.
My favourite part was wandering around the still working harbour there, it was really picturesque, we spent a lot of time up on the walls of the harbour taking photographs, there are some amazing views. It was this point where I really got that feeling looking over the wall out to the sea crashing against the rocky outcrops, it was one of those moments when time absolutely flies an hour had gone before we knew it…lost in the moment!
Looking up at the castle perched on the summit of the mount I was already making plans to come back and visit when everything was open for us to explore, wondering when would be best.
I was thinking back to part of the challenge I had set myself with these series of trips around the UK and Ireland though…the part where I want to show that travel around the UK doesn’t have to grind to a halt during winter months…and it got me thinking…ok..not everything was open…we couldn’t visit on a Tuesday or Friday on this occasion…but would it have felt so dramatic in July or August? Would I have had that feeling of being lost in the moment amongst the crowds? Maybe not, so yes we will visit again and plan better, but I am so pleased to have made this visit as we did and experienced it the way we had…it was special!
We set off back across the causeway heading for the mainland and to search for somewhere to eat! Pretty much at the end of the pathway there is the The Godolphin Arms hotel and restaurant. We sat upstairs where there are incredible views, if you are lucky enough to get a window seat, looking across the bay to the mount, there are also rooms available with this incredible view! We had Sunday lunch, roast beef and Yorkshire Puddings, washed down with a pint of St Austell Tribute and I began thinking of all the reasons why I love travelling throughout the country I call home!
During our stay in Cornwall we ad our first experience glamping staying in a shepherds hut on a farm with a roaring log fire, luxurious adventure…find out more about this great experience here.
As always thanks for reading look out for my posts on our visit to The Eden Project, did you know it is ran as a charity? As well as taking on the Hangloose activities there…flying on a skywire over the Eden Project! We are also really looking forward to our upcoming visit to Ireland staying at The Croke Park Dublin!