To Land’s End
This will be the last of my Cornwall travel experiences: Land’s End. At the very south-west tip of Cornwall is Land’s End. When you stand at the clifftop of Land’s End and face west, the next main body of land is the east coast of the United States.
It was astoundingly beautiful, with cliffs full of history, danger and excitement. We stayed at the Land’s End Hotel (http://www.landsendhotel.co.uk/) which perches at the edge of the cliff.
The dining room windows and our room window faced the ocean and the setting sun.
From the hotel you could see a small group of rocks and a lighthouse.
I watched both the moon and the sun set every day we were there.
On good days you can see the outline of the Isles of Scilly, which we regretfully didn’t have a chance to visit. Although we still were buffeted about by the remaining winds of the hurricane the weather was beautiful.
In Cornwall they say that if there are clouds on the horizon it is going to rain, and if there aren’t then its raining already. We had some predictable showers, most notably in the morning, but nothing to complain about. And the sea… oh, the sea! We spent our last morning there walking the cliff paths between rock and heath, which even in September were quilts of purple and yellow flowers.
The rock breaks into large chunks rather than crumbling away, which creates massive natural sculptures on which you can imagine giants of legend sitting, chin on fist, mesmerized by the waves.
The relentlessly pounding surf formed caves which made the waters home to smugglers.
The giant rock cliffs formed enormous tombstones for the countless sailors of countless ships, all foundered on the hidden stones by wild tides, since man first took to the sea.
The cliff pathway followed the edge without restraints or hand-holds of any kind, and it led all the way to the historic southernmost town of Mousehole (pronounced MOWzzle).
Although the wind kept the number of birds low, there still were the pelagic inhabitants using the cliffs for protection and warming themselves in the sun.
A RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) center sat in the hotel complex on the cliff from where my daughter sighted a peregrine falcon.
The area around Land’s End is mostly empty, with a few farms and another historic hotel The First and Last (depends on which way you are going!) which boasts of a smuggler’s tunnel to the sea and the horrible end of the woman who turned them in to the Crown.
There are people who travel from Land’s End up to the farthest point on mainland Britain, John O’Groats, and call themselves End-to-Enders. Many do it for charity; some walk or bike. When we visited Scotland several years ago we took the ferry from John O’Groats to the Orkney Islands, so we’ve been at each end, just not in direct line. This Cornwall coastline is the most dramatic I’ve ever seen.
I left part of my heart in Cornwall; something in the heartiness of the people and creatures that live there, braced against the wind and weather, calls to me.
I could have spent days like the giants, staring out at the roiling waves, watching the next storm blow in.
As long as I could be inside nice and cozy when it hit! I want to thank my daughter for the use of many of these photographs, and for being such a good traveling companion and navigator.