Yesterday they just mentioned that at Marazion could be seen St. Michael’s Mount. This turned out to be most interesting.
As soon as I reached the place I remembered having seen pictures of the castle on the mount. It is really only a large rock in the ocean and at very low tide it can be reached by walking from the mainland.
The mount makes its appearance in written history in the first century of the Christian era. In the very early days it was a monastery and afterwards a fortified castle. Now the castle and all the buildings required for the servants to maintain it, including the chapel, are owned by Lord St. Levan.
It was just 3 o’clock when we arrived and I got out of the car to take some photos. I then learned that a party of visitors was going over the castle at 3 o’clock and so I hurried across (it being the low tide) so that I could join them. I was too late to catch them and when I got there the castle gates were locked.
I saw one of the officials and told him the usual story about travelling many miles – in fact, all the way from New Zealand – to see it, and of course I was then permitted to enter and see the grounds, the fortress and the outside only. This suited me very nicely, as I did not want to go inside very much.
As Elizabeth and Lois were both away looking at something else at the time I hurried over to the castle, I left word with Rozie to tell them to come over. They did so, but were not so fortunate as I, as the man in charge could not be bluffed the second time and they had to wait outside until I returned.
It was most interesting and I took several photos. which I hope will give a good record of the castle.
We then drove on to Land’s End. Here the scenery was different. All the way through from London there were beautiful fields with long green grass and growing crops of grain. There were many miles of avenues of big trees the boughs of which met overhead. There were also many miles of narrow lanes. In the towns where they had the narrow streets it was understood that in the early days the spaces between the houses were only used for pedestrians and provision was only made for the needs of the day. In the country it is more difficult to understand why the lanes are so narrow.
These lanes are not roads as we know them. We have avenues and footpaths.
There are no fences in England. Here and there were found a very small fence to fill in a gap, but for the whole length of the lanes it was usual to find a bank of earth and a hedge.
Apparently when the early roads were made they took off the surfaces and built up a wall of soil on which grass was sown which holds it together. On the top of this wall or mound they grow some kind of hedge either hawthorn, gorse or a mixture of shrubs. Mixed with the grass is always some kind of fern which makes the banks very pretty, especially in the spring time.
Now if you can imagine driving between two walls or high banks of grass, so close together that you can put your hand out on either side and touch the grass or ferns, you will have a pretty good idea of these country lanes. Of course, you must not forget that you can only see over the top of these walls in the low places and for the rest of the way you only have the grassy walls to see. Apparently the sheep and cattle do not bother to get out on the roads, although I have seen both on the top of the walls looking over into the lane.
The roads everywhere have been very free from both sheep and cattle. We have never been held up to pass sheep as we are so frequently held up in New Zealand and only very occasionally have we met cows on their way to be milked. The roads are not all narrow, but the country lanes are all as described above.
When we got close to Land’s End the country was not so green and the roads were different. Instead of grass there was a scrubby heath, such as grows on the moors. There were no trees and the scenery was not nearly so pleasant. However, we found a very nice private hotel which had only been open a few months and we were very comfortable for the night.
After having a good meal we went right down to the water and saw the lighthouse and the rocky cliffs which have resisted the waves for so many centuries. We had seen several parts of the coast which were being slowly washed away and steps had to be taken by the government to prevent further encroachment of the ocean, but here at Land’s End the water will never wear all that rock.
We did not get down to the water until after nine o’clock and the sun was getting very low, so that I did not take many photos. thinking that I would get up early next morning and complete the pictures.