United Kingdom

Here you’ll find travel reports about Morvah. Discover travel destinations in the United Kingdom of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

4 travelers at this place:

  • Day93

    Day 93: Southwest to Cornwall

    May 19, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Another long day today, but also a very special one - I turned 36 today! Up early to a nice card from Shandos and Schnitzel, and then spent an hour or so on Skype with both parents. Hit the road around 9am, heading southwest towards Cornwall, the very edge of the UK.

    The main reason for heading to the area was of course the usual - a UNESCO World Heritage site listing! The entire peninsula of Cornwall is dotted with the ruins of copper and tin mines which enjoyed their heyday in the Industrial Revolution. As large engines were developed and bigger machines built, demand for the raw metals found in Cornwall boomed massively, and the area had a huge influx of people. But of course, the inevitable happened and it became more economical to extract minerals elsewhere. One by one, the mines closed, the last coming in the 1980s.

    These days, the ruins of about 20 mines are still standing, and together comprise the world heritage site. We couldn't hope to cover all 20 mines (even if we were inclined to, which we weren't), but we created a short-list and set off on the couple of hours drive down to Cornwall.

    First stop was at Redruth, and a large old mine called West Pool mine. Quite a lot still standing - chimneys, buildings, even the enormous single-piston steam powered engine which had a diameter of nearly 2 metres. Incredible power there, although it no longer worked. We busied ourselves exploring the site, along with a sister mine just nearby that still had a working beam engine (though much smaller, and these days powered by electricity).

    Cornwall is surprisingly long (though quite narrow), and we still had a long way to go, so we had a quick salubrious birthday lunch at McDonalds and then got back on the road around 2pm.

    Next stop was the Geevor Mine, which was the second-last mine to close in the area - it actually ran until 1986. This was situated quite near the coastline, and some of the huge tunnels there ran out under the water at depths of up to 2000 feet! Since it had been built quite a bit later than the other mines (started in 1901), it was in much better condition and the displays were excellent too. Though because of the UK's "safety culture", you had to wear a hard-hat at all times while on site. Felt very strange to be walking through a typical museum wearing a giant yellow helmet!!

    The key attraction here is the underground tour, where they take you into a section of the mines. This part was actually an older mine, not part of Geevor itself, which they actually had no idea existed until the museum was opened in the mid-2000s! Crazy.

    It had probably been dug in the 17th and 18th centuries, mean it was all hand tools (on granite, no less) and a bit of gunpower - scary to use with no proper fuses and while your only light is a spattering animal fat candle! We enjoyed the tour, though it was very cramped and damp in places, up to 20 metres below the surface!

    By now the museum was closing and we couldn't check in until after 6pm, so we headed for Land's End - the most westerly point in England, and almost the most southerly as well. It's essentially thought of as the furthest point of the UK (and the farthest from John O'Groat's at the northern tip of Scotland). It was awful.

    There's a small theme park set up, where they apparently charge for entry, and then charge separately for all the rides as well! But it's not outdoor rides, they're all indoor rides so you could be anywhere. It's also covered in tacky souvenir shops and over-priced food stalls, basically the worst of tourist tat you can imagine. Thankfully we'd arrived after 5pm when the parking was cheaper, everything was closed and entry to the area was free. There's even a guy who has a replica of the famous Land's End sign, but charges 10 pounds for a photograph with it and suggests that you can't get a photo with the real thing any more! Thankfully he wasn't around, and neither was anybody else, so we enjoyed the view and the quiet. And a reasonably-priced drink from the restaurant nearby.

    Leaving the restaurant it was now after 6pm, so we hopped in the car and headed for our accommodation. As it's fairly sparsely populated out here, we were staying in a 400-year-old working farmhouse, hosted by a lady named Sarah. Took a bit to find since it was out on the moors, but we made it in the end! Greeted by her border collie Floss, along with 4 ducks, a cat, 2 ewes and several newborn lambs, all of which Schnitzel was VERY interested in.

    We dropped our stuff and headed back down into a nearby village, where I wrapped up my birthday with a traditional English pub dinner. We shared curries, and pints. Back to the farmhouse where we watched a beautiful sunset over the water and then headed for bed. Another long day awaits!
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  • Day94

    Day 94: Exploring Cornwall

    May 20, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Awoke fairly early to the typical farm sounds of animals and wandered upstairs for a nice simple breakfast laid on by our host. She wasn't around, having warned us the night before she'd likely be off in the fields somewhere in the morning. But don't lock the door when we go out, as she doesn't have a key! Apparently she doesn't even lock it when she goes on holiday, the area is that safe.

    Today was about exploring more of Cornwall and the UNESCO World Heritage site in the area, so we made our first stop at the ruins of Botallack Mine, perched precariously on the cliffs above crashing seas. There's not much left to see here other than ruined buildings, but we had a good look around still. The most interesting part is two old pumping houses right on the cliff edge, where their engines would drive the huge mining operations taking place under the sea. This is also where the BBC series Poldark was filmed, at least in part - or so I'm told, anyway; I've never watched it.

    Next up we headed south to the little town of Mousehole (pronounced Muzzel or Mao-zel by the locals). It's a tiny little fishing village, perched prettily around a tiny harbour and with a few very narrow streets and cute shops. Quite enchanting, though there were a good number of tourists about. I shudder to think of what it's like during the summer months! We had lunch in a small cafe here before wandering up and down most of the streets in town.

    Last stop for the day was over on the southern coast of Cornwall, at a place called St Michael's Mount. This is a large rock sticking out of the sea, where a castle and church were built during the medieval era, along with a few other buildings. Access is only via walking across at low tide; other times the causeway is underwater in the bay! It's quite similar to Mont-San-Michel in France, though not quite as dramatic or impressive.

    It was about halfway between high and low tides when we arrived, so there was no chance of walking out to the rock (it's a few hundred metres offshore). Parking was also a comical 7 pounds flat rate so we took a few photos in the dull overcast light and headed back to the farmhouse.

    Spent a couple of hours relaxing before we headed out for dinner. This time we headed east from Morvah (last night we'd gone west). The first pub we stopped at was more of a gastropub and quite fancy, and booked out if you can believe that! The second pub had much more space and was more homely, so we ended up eating there. Took ages though, as something malfunctioned with their computer system and our order disappeared! Other people's meals were coming out quite slowly so we didn't think much of it, but after we'd been waiting for an hour and the adjacent couple had received their meals within 20 minutes of arriving and ordering, we asked the kitchen. Alas! At least we got a free round of drinks and a free bowl of fries as well.

    Back to the farmhouse in the dark which was a bit interesting (especially after two pints!), but by now I knew most of the bumps in the road and we arrived home safely. Early to bed ahead of a long drive tomorrow!
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  • Day24

    Cornwall day 24 Wed 16 May 2018

    May 16, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Left Neitherleigh in Cooks Lane Axminster about 9.30am and set the GPS to Trethevy to see the Trethevy Quoit roofed standing stone site. After driving way back into Dorset we followed motorways and rural road to to Tintagel Brewery in North Cornwall in rain and later sea fog as the village of Trethevy is nowhere near the ancient monument with the same name. So we did a brewery tour and Yvonne understood everything. Sampled some craft beers and ate Wagyu pie from the farm cattle who are fed the used brewery grain and liquid wort before becoming our meal. Drove to Tintagel (pronounced TinTagel) visitors centre. Then visited the quirky King Arthur’s Great Halls that we’re built in the 1930’ies by millionaire at enormous cost the building has a large room containing 72 stained glass windows. We then drove to look for the Men-an-tol holed stone and Yvonne spotted two solitary standing stones in different fields before we found the poorly signed lane to Men-an-tol standing holed stone. Walked half a mile to the stone. When driving to our accommodation Yvonne spotted the Lanyon Quoit almost completely hidden from the road, It may be around six thousand years old. Very narrow lanes near in this area. Codna Coath is a small cottage in Sellan Penzance area run by Margaret probably in her eighties. We are upstairs in a 1898 building in a upstairs room with a ceiling following the roof above with a framed picture of Queen Victoria over the bed.Read more

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