Monday, 19 August 2013

St Nectans Glen ( a day late...)

Sorry about that  - I'm blaming the stress of going back to work after a week off for the migraine...

We've just got back from a few days in Cornwall so here are a few of the pictures I tool in St Nectan's Glen. This is close to Tintagel and is reputed to be where St Nectan set up his hermitage. Actually it is of course a lot older than that but has been "Christianised".  It was a bit overcast when we visited which was a shame.

It is a beautiful glen. It's also become very commecialised  and leaflets are available in all the tourist information offices. What they don't tell you is that it is quite a steep and rough walk from the car park ( full, we had to park much further down the main road and walk back) and takes a good 20 minutes. Not a problem for me but we saw several groups set out for it and few seemed to actually get there.
They are also very coy about the entrance charge  ( £4.50) which isn't spelt out  until you have walked nearly all the way up!

It is apparently a tradition to build "fairy castles" with stones from the river bed. Some were simple piles of stones...

 ....whilst others were quite elaborate.

Not sure they add anything to the natural beauty of the glen but a good spate of rain will  wash them away so no harm done.

 So we paid our £4.50 to go into the waterfall. There is a little shop and cafe at the top. We declined the opportunity to buy "wish ribbons" - 50p for a thin one and £1 for a thick one. They were a couple of inches of brightly coloured polyester and I was starting to have a foreboding of what we might find....

The waterfall itself  is quite magnificent.

and my fears were realised. Almost every tree near by was festooned in non biodegradable ribbon.

in every direction....

Rhododendrons too.

Not sure what this is all about either. Fortunately these seemed confined to a couple of stumps rather than rammed into living trees.

Somewhat disappointed with the state of the glen we climbed back up to look for the remains of "St Nectan's Hermitage". This is probably much later though than the time of the saint. We found it hidden under the shop building.

It's supposed to be a quiet place for meditation. I found the mish mash of "stuff" far too unsettling to want to spend more than a few minutes in there. 

We left the glen (or the shrine to neo pagan tat that it has become) and headed down to St Ives.

However the glen did have the last laugh. On the way back home 3 days later, I consulted the gazetteer and decided to pay a visit to Rocky Valley.

This was lovely. We parked on the roadside and set off down a pretty stream in search of the two carved labyrinths that are reputed to be early Bronze age; later scholarship has them as probably more medieval.

There are two clearly carved in the rock face and unconfirmed rumours of a third which is badly worn and may indeed be earlier.
They are next to the ruins of a building. And a cold damp, dark and dismal place it must have been. This carving was running with water. 

The trees nearby were also decorated with ribbons and some traditional cotton  rags but nowhere near to the extent we'd seen at St Nectan's.

Following the stream down to the sea we spent a while just admiring the view

Climbing back up we returned to the car. Somehow the car park looked familiar and the penny dropped. We were parked in the same place where we'd left the car 3 days earlier to climb up the Glen and we'd just walked  the bottom half of it....

I know which part I prefer.

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