We’re on the road again! It seems a little odd after so long — the fact that I can drive our home around seems to me a little like a Tim Burton concept or something. Driving along, I can peer over my shoulder and see the kitchen and living room following along. What the?
We’re headed up to Bath to visit some old friends of Katherine who are over from Australia for a few months of travel; we’ll see a couple of the sights with them while they’re here, and then get back to work!
Nettle remembered how to go splendidly, and we set off down the little country lane we’re so used to riding our bikes down while Noia the GPS navigator was getting her act together. The novelty was back (not that it ever truly disappears!) and it was great fun to be driving this enormous vehicle around. We drove up amongst gently rolling green hills with a patchwork of fields in many shades of green, and followed Noia’s directions towards our first destination: Tintagel (which we learned was “tin-TAA-gel”, not “TIN-tah-ghel”, and most certainly not “tin-taggle”), which was recommended to us by our good friends Tara and Tyler.
On our way there, we narrowly avoided getting stuck down an ever-narrowing road, but were luckily turned back by a friendly local, with assistance turning around from another local, who let us into her field to turn.
We made it there, parked in a sloping grassy field marked out as a car park, and wandered down a little pathway heading across some fields and signposted towards the cliffs and the castle, and requesting care as there were badger homes nearby that wanted protecting. There was a mother with her somewhat obnoxious-seeming ten-ish year old boy who was complaining loudly about something-or-other, and we shook our heads judgementally about “UK children”. Get off my lawn, you kids.
Tintagel is, as the informational signage at the site proudly proclaims, the legendary site of King Arthur’s birth. Legendary is the key word here of course — it’s only because a monk named Geoffrey of Monmouth decided to make Tintagel the birthplace of Arthur while reinventing the story that it’s considered as such! The power of the story…
A short documentary playing at the entrance explained the several different forms the King Arthur legend has taken throughout the years, and how it had been “reinvented” periodically to suit the era.
We walked through the churchyard of an old church and towards the cliffs, getting our first proper glimpse of the coastline, and gasped — it was beautiful, and completely reminiscent of the Causeway Coast in Ireland! Bright green fields descending to a smoothly-rounded coast edge, crinkled in parts, and a rocky edge meeting the startlingly blue sea. The vision was completed by dramatically swirling white clouds across the blue sky. The path led along the cliffs, sided by tall grasses dotted with colourful flowers in yellow and purple.
We drew alongside the outcrop of land that Tintagel castle once stood on, rising precipitously from the blue water with jagged, rocky cliffs, and squatting roundly like a bar of soap. A bridge connected it to the mainland, with a zig-zagging path that led up and around the low ruins. After approaching the start of the bridge and noticing the hefty admission price, we balked and did an about-face, choosing to wander the surrounding coastline instead of going for a close-up look at the ruins. It was all very beautiful and what we now think of as “Ireland-esque”.
Bellies rumbling, we took the hedge-lined path teeming with butterflies towards the village, for a couple of pasties and tea/scones in (of course) King Arthur’s Bistro, beside King Arthur’s Bookshop and King Arthur’s Car Park. That guy has it all.
Hunger nicely satiated, we ambled up the street past some very charming rickety old stone cottages and the old post office, roof bulging and dipping whimsically along its length. Back to Nettle, grinning at the enthusiastic collie sprinting around the field, tongue lolling, we set off again towards Exmoor National Park.
After a brief stop-in at a supermarket to stock up on supplies (no flour-and-water pancakes for us, no!) we turned onto the lovely little country road that led to our destination through more patchwork fields, bordered by hedges full of those great purple flowers — the view out the window looked like a painting, perfectly aesthetically arranged. I jumped out and hung off Nettle’s roof to snap a few pictures, then we arrived at the CL that would be home for the next day while we did a little exploring of the national park.
This is a beautiful country!