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No, not Machu Picchu. It’s Cornwall, England.

Tintagel Castle


We decided to take advantage of one of the fine sunny days we’ve had lately and have an afternoon off.

The last time I visited Tintagel it was winter too. But that was an entirely different sort of day. On this occasion the sea and sky were a glorious blue and there was barely enough breeze to ruffle the feathers of a seagull.


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Were it not for the low position of the sun in the sky you might not guess it was February at all.


Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery and is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Some scholars believe that Tintagel was Camelot itself. It is built high on the rugged Cornish coast and across a peninsula joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land. In the summer of 1983, a series of bush fires swept across Tintagel island, uncovering ruins of buildings which showed the site to have been occupied from Roman times in the third century to the eventual fall of the castle to the Anglo-Saxon invasion.

Historically it would appear that Tintagel was an important trading post. Excavations in the 1930s unearthed a wealth of pottery of Mediterranean origin which contained wine, oil, or were simply used for show. The presence of so much of this pottery, known now as ‘Tintagel Pottery’, the largest concentration of such pottery in Britain, indicates the prosperity of Tintagel in the 5th and 6th centuries, the time of Arthur.

Around 1230, a castle was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and son of King Henry III. The ruins of this Tintagel castle are what one sees on the island today.

Edited from legendofkingarthur.co.uk (here) and visitcornwall.com (here). 


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A window with a view?


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The setting really is spectacular. This is the peninsula, now accessed via a bridge (lower right of centre in the image above)


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Closer up. You can see the main ruins at the top of the steps.


Access to the site is not easy. Even to get to this viewing point needs a fair bit of stamina. We walked for a little way along the cliff top coast path..


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.. over climbing steps set into a wall


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The remains of the Great Hall, a tall single story building. This is where formal entertainment and administration of justice took place. The foundations of a much later cottage can be seen within its ruined walls.* 

*From an information board on site


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There are remains of dwellings right across the 18 acre island. This may have been part of a chapel.


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The ultimate des res?

Maybe a bit shady being on the northern slope..


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I think I’d probably wear it though, for the view.


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The tunnel

This natural feature is thought to have been used as a medieval larder or cold store.


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There are further ruins and courtyards on the mainland

More steps!


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Obligatory Cornish seagull pic..

“I see no ships…. “


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The sea facing cliffs are really craggy.


Do you see what I see?

Protruding nose and chin?


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And an image looking south down the coast.

Tintagel Parish Church on the cliff top, Gull Rock out to sea.


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Gull Rock from Trebarwith Strand, a short drive along the coast


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Beats decorating, eh?