Tuesday 24 May 2016
Boscastle to Tintagel
The Headland Caravan and Camping Park
I had a lazy morning in Boscastle. The sun was shining and I enjoyed just hanging around by the river while it was quiet, before the tourists arrived.
The dog-leg entrance to Boscastle’s harbour, rendering it plenty of shelter, meant it was a bustling quay in the 1800s. It is still protected by the Meachard, a big rock near the entrance. For the last 100 years Boscastle has been more of a tourist destination.
In need of a bit of planning time (which required wifi) I went for breakfast at The Riverside Hotel. Although it is a posh hotel, breakfast was very cheap, really good and the staff were very nice to me, despite being given the run around by a big party of American guests.
I popped into the award-winning Boscastle Bakery to get myself a pasty for lunch and finally set off at about 10.30am.
I climbed up the cliff to Willapark, once the site of an Iron Age promontary hill fort, now with a white building on the summit. Originally built as a folly in the early 1800s, the building is now used as a coastguard lookout. I stopped by to chat to the volunteers on watch. The views were excellent.
Today’s walk was quite spectacular, and busy. Boscastle and Tintagel are both renowned tourist destinations (they were both very busy and full of foreigners) so, as the walk between them is only about 5 miles, it is a very popular part of the coast path.
I seemed to have quite a spring in my step today and I passed lots of people. I stopped lots too as there were so many amazing views and plenty of seabirds today. I even saw a few puffins flying off Short Island as I sat on the cliff top enjoying my pasty.
Rocky Valley is a striking gap in the cliff that was formed by water running along a fault line. It has 161 different types of mosses!
Climbing out of Rocky Valley I turned the corner and spied the most perfect beach. Yet again today the sea has been a fantastic turquoise colour and Bossiney Haven was the first beach I’d seen in a while that didn’t have any rocks under the water, just beautiful sand.
I passed a 2nd Willapark, another headland that looks like the one at Boscastle; they could have thought up a different name for it though.
All of a sudden I arrived at Tintagel Head, site of the famous Tintagel Castle ruins. The whole area around The Island was packed with tourists, mostly foreigners I think. I popped into the visito centre but I had no intention of paying English Heritage £8.70 to see the ruins just a little bit closer. I got some good views from the Camelot Hotel high on the cliff top.
I was slightly disappointed by Tintagel Castle. There was little substance to the myth surrounding it. It was supposedly where Uther Pendragon, King of Britain, committed adultery with Igraine, wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, to conceive King Arthur. This is the legend that captivated Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in the 13th Century and led him to build an actual castle on the headland.
Naturally, Tintagel Village makes the most out of the influx of tourists and there were plenty of cafes and pubs to choose from. I resisted a cream tea.
I pitched my tent and a big black cloud arrived overhead. It only seemed to be over Tintagel as up and down the coast looked sunny. I didn’t mind as I needed to cool down and didn’t feel like going for a swim off Tintagel beach, right by all the tourists visiting the castle.
I felt obliged to choose the King Arthur’s Arms for dinner and enjoyed a leisurely meal for one.