8th July – Tintagel

I got to Tintagel early, I didn’t know how busy it would get on a Sunday. Once parked I walked down the hill (a recurring theme) towards the castle entrance.

Tintagel is a ruined castle, monastery and settlement, so there isn’t a great deal to actually see. The majority of the buildings are now just shells and you need to use a great deal of imagination to picture them in their glory. To that end, I bought a guide book. I don’t normally but this one is quite good, and is written by an archeologist who has worked on the site.

Like a lot places in the South West, you have to either go down or up a hill, and the steps to the mainland part of the castle are a real test of endurance. As you get nearer the top they get even steeper!Once safely back down those, there are more waiting to bring you over to the headland part of the ruins. You can see the bridge in the photo above, it’s at the bottom where the lady in red is standing. This is a fairly new structure, up to the 1970’s there was a smaller bridge and roughly cut steps in the cliff. I didn’t take a photo but the steps are still visible on the left of the bridge if you were going up the headland steps.

The headland is where the Iron age main settlement was and the main portion of the castle, again there isn’t much to see. The guide book is very useful in pointing out what was where, and the possible uses for some of the buildings.

This part is bleak and on the day I was there, windswept. There are also cliffs, lots of them and there are many warnings about going too close; warnings that I heeded. Others didn’t.

There are many caves cut into the cliffs by the sea, one of them is called Merlin’s Cave. Keeping with the myth that King Arthur may have been born here.

Merlin’s Cave is the big one of the left, the more astonishing thing in this picture is the smaller cave/hole you can see just right of centre. This is a old mine entrance. The miners would run a rope across the top of Merlin’s Cave and shimmy across to the entrance.

Tintagel is well worth a visit, but only if you are fit and well. If you can’t ‘do’ steps, there’s very little point in paying the entrance fee!