Penzance - Mousehole - St Michael's Mount


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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Cornwall » Penzance
May 25th 2015
Published: May 30th 2015
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This morning we drove around Mount's Bay through Penzance to the small fishing village of Mousehole. It was pretty cool again today so we needed to put our coats on before wandering around the village. I put my coat on and Bernie pointed out something grotty on the front of my coat. Hmmn, looks like bird poo which I think I must have picked up when I leant against the sea wall in Marazion last night? Fortunately we had some antiseptic wipes to clean my coat with.

We walked around to Mousehole's harbour where we stood looking at the boats bobbing on the water ... and the intrepid English holidayers sitting on the beach in their wooly jumpers and swimming in wet suits. Before we could head down the steps to the beach, Stephen flew overhead and unloaded on me. Eeuw! The antiseptic wipes were back in the car so Bernie had to clean up the shoulder and back of my coat as best he could with only a tissue. On the positive side, at least my freshly washed hair didn't get poohed on!!

After this diversion we took the steps down to the beach and snapped some photos of the boats in the harbour before walking around the harbour wall to the entrance where we could see the huge timbers that are used to close off the harbour mouth during the winter because the seas are so wild. Brrr, it's quite chilly enough today without visiting during a winter storm.

We drove back to Marazion and after parking the car back at the B&B, we headed down to the beach to catch one of the boats across to St Michael's Mount. The tide was about half way out so the boats were being loaded from Chapel Rock. Although there were heaps of visitors on a holiday Monday, we didn't have to wait long for our turn. We actually managed to queue jump a bit because they were after a couple to fill the last two spots on a boat that was ready to go.

The boat crossing was really pretty quick from Castle Rock. When you take the boat across when the tide is higher you get a bit longer ride in the boat. They load the boats from three locations, each one progressively further out into the bay and hence, closer to the mount. We disembarked and took a few photos looking back across the bay to Marazion before heading to the ticket office.

The Mount was sold in 1659 to Colonel John St Aubyn. His descendant, Lord St Levan, continues to be the "tenant" of the Mount but has ceased to be resident there, his nephew, James St Aubyn, taking up residency and management of the Mount in 2004. Visitors to the island are managed by the National Trust so our Australian National Trust membership gained us free entry to the castle and gardens.

We ventured first up the steep, cobbled walk to the castle. Because it is still lived in the castle is really well preserved and quite spectacular. After exploring the castle it was well after lunchtime, almost 3.00pm in fact, so we made our way down to the Island Café where we joined the queue of people who were also waiting to order lunch ... or perhaps some of them were ready to have their 'Cream Tea' at three in the afternoon? Anyhow, after standing in the queue for a while, I left Bernie in the queue while I went to scout out a table.

Damn it, Bernie watched the guy before him order jacket potatoes with toppings for his party only to reach the head of the queue and be told that no more orders for food were being taken. WTF! If you are going to stop serving lunch at a specified time write it on the chalk board outside - don't let people queue for 25 minutes and then tell them that lunch is off!! I told Bernie he should have played the Birthday Card - c'mon, it's my birthday surely you can make me a sandwich?!

The causeway was almost uncovered by this stage. In fact, the water was so low that some hardy souls were taking their shoes and socks off and paddling through the shallow water that was still lapping around their ankles. We decided to explore the garden during the half hour before the causeway emerged fully from the sea and then head back to the B&B to eat the scones, jam and clotted cream that our host had left in our room for us yesterday afternoon. At least having missed lunch we wouldn't have to feel guilty about indulging in cream tea!

The Mount's gardens are amazing with lots of unexpected plants. Although the Cornish coast is subjected to gales and salty winds it also benefits from being in the path of the Gulf Stream. Frosts are rare on the Mount and the rock walls act as a heat sink - absorbing heat by day and releasing it at night - so that plants from more temperate climates can thrive on this rocky outcrop off the south coast of England.

At last, we could make the walk back to the mainland without getting our feet wet. Just as well too because the weather looked like it was taking a turn for the worse. It had been very windy and overcast all day, but was rapidly deteriorating. We wondered if waiting the extra half hour to keep our feet dry was going to result in us actually getting much wetter if we were caught in a downpour?!

We had to pick our way over the causeway because it is currently in need of repairs due to damage caused by a winter storm. Unfortunately, the stones from the middle section of the causeway were all ripped out by the pounding seas and tossed all about the bay so that section has been temporarily concreted. The stones have been recovered from the surrounding seabed and should be re-laid over the coming summer. As luck would have it, the threatening looking clouds went around us and we enjoyed our cream tea in our room with sun streaming through the windows. Lovely.

After our gourmet dinner last night, tonight we decided to feast on take-out cod and chips on the beach. After the very threatening looking weather during the late afternoon it had turned into a beautiful evening. We headed off with our cameras and took multiple photographs of St Michael's Mount bathed in the glorious late afternoon sunshine. It was the sort of light that makes you realise why it is called the Golden Hour. With dozens more photos of the Mount we ordered our fish and chips and then sat in the sun on the sea wall to eat them. Fish and chips always taste so much better by the seaside!!

We headed back to our room with plans to pop out again with our tripods when the castle floodlighting came on. The lighting came on at about ten last night - when we weren't organised enough to have our tripods with us - so we expected to get a second chance tonight at about the same time. We sat in our room with the drapes open watching and waiting for the castle to light up. Oh dear, it seems that the castle is not lit up every night ... it might just be on weekends!! Hopefully a couple of the photographs from last night will be OK despite being taken using convenient props rather than tripods?



Steps for the day 16,939 (11.54 km)


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31st May 2015

love the light on the mount
Hi again. Love your images of the mount bathed in light, looks great. It is an amazing place (apart from the cafe) and we loved the aspect of taking a boat there. Would have to dig out my old diaries but I am fairly certain that we walked over the causeway and returned by boat. It is a long time ago, 1992, so the memory is a bit hazy. Wondering if you are heading to Lands End? If so, there is a wonderful open air theatre not far away at Porthcurno called The Minack Theatre. Not long before we went over there I saw an article in a National Geographic about the lady who built it and had to visit to see for myself. It is in a spectacular coastal location and if you are lucky enough there may even be a show on. We were lucky and saw 'The Comedy of Errors' Shakespeare's play. It was quite an experience. The audience brought their picnics along. luckily it was a balmy night. I can still imagine myself sitting on the stone seat, watching the show as the sun set over the water, it was magical. Wherever you go for the final part of your holiday, I hope you both continue to enjoy all of your experiences with no more of those travel frustrations that are all part of the journey. At least they give you some good stories!
31st May 2015

Didn't quite make it as far as Land's End
We have been to Land's End before so didn't venture quite that far on this trip. You have told me about the outdoor theatre and it does sound like it would be beautiful ... English weather permitting!! It sounds like you were very lucky to be there on a balmy English evening. Goodness knows they are rare!! Because of my current obsession with Captain Cook this trip has been about getting to a few places that are connected with James and his voyages of discovery. We have been up to Yorkshire to visit Whitby, Marton-in-Cleveland and Great Ayton. Hopefully later today I will update the blog to include North Yorkshire. Love, Tracey.

Tot: 3.497s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 29; qc: 127; dbt: 0.0895s; 3; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.7mb