Gavin's Adventures on the Mystical Island of Britain -- Part 8

A list of the adventures.

Walking to Land's End along the ancient coast

Feeling restless, I decided to walk the cliff path from Sennen Cove to Land's End. I climbed the track out of the village, and walked along the top of the rocky cliff until I reached the life station on the point, as far as I had walked on my last excursion. This time I continued, past the rock in the sea which is known as the Irish Lady, and I was rewarded by finding the first tumulus I had ever seen.

It was a mound of earth, capped with a rough circle of large mossy stones, with a grassy hollow in the centre. It was the kind of place which can easily occur naturally, an arrangement of stones and earth which I have seen many times before in my own country, and yet, directly I set eyes on it, I knew that this was not a natural place. There is a different feel to the things made by man, however many years may have broken over them since, however the moss and lichen may have grown to obscure the marks of tools. Perhaps it is instinctive in us to recognize the places of earlier men. I walked respectfully around the mound, and wondered what great king or warrior lay buried beneath the earth.

The cliff at this place is called Mayon Cliff, and I had found on my survey map a Maen Castle, a hill-fort. Today I found the gates of the castle. Little more of it remains, but the massive gate-stones still stand proudly, marking the entrance to the stronghold.

My walk led me finally to the westmost point of all mainland Britain, just north of the amusement park at Land's End. This point rejoices in the extraordinary name of Dr. Syntax's Head! (I eventually found out more about Dr. Syntax.) The wind was high, though there was no rain, and I stood on the point with the sea raging around me on three sides. The rocks are a series of jagged steps at different levels, so that they resemble steps made by giants -- though my instincts told me that, unlike the hill-fort and the tumulus, this was a natural place.

Between Dr. Syntax's Head and Dr. Johnson's head, the point at Land's End, a tiny channel juts in, a little finger of white water poking in from the sea. It is crossed by a sturdy suspension bridge that sways very little in the strong wind. As I stood at the centre, looking down at the wild water beneath my feet, I remembered a sign I had seen earlier. Despite the smallness of this inlet, three ships have been driven ashore at this place, with much loss of life. On the final ship to run ashore, however, everyone survived -- because the ship fetched up on top of the previous one! Clearly this is a dangerous spot, though it was hard to believe it that evening.

By the time I reached Land's End, I was ready for a meal. I found but one place to eat, the Trenwith Arms. The attraction of eating at the westmost point of England must be very strong, and certainly the view was good, but the meal was extremely expensive and equally disappointing.

The next day I had plans to visit a famous rocking stone at Logan Rock...

Mail comments and contributions to Gavin.


- The previous adventure: The Merry Maidens and the Pipers.
- The next adventure: Logan Rock, a spectacular hill-fort.
- Return to Grannus' circle.
- Go back to the front gate.

This page maintained by ann@esmerel.com.