We woke up to blue skies this morning and we were cautiously optimistic that we may indeed get to visit St. Michael’s mount today.  After a quick breakfast we heading into town one more time. Our friendly parking attendant, Stu, was on the job again this morning! He assured us that today there would be no black flags.  The causeway was open, so we made the short trek across the stone walkway out to the island. There may not have been any black flags today, but the wind was still whipping across the water and around the harbor making it challenging to find a place to film clear audio. But with a little creativity and the help of the stone harbor wall we were able to get it done.

As we were filming, a friendly fellow came out to ask if we were the ones filming and speaking to Lord St. Levan. This was Pete Hamilton, the site’s visitor services manager. He and his wife and kids live on the island!! He was an invaluable source of tons of information and background about the island, village, gardens, history, life and people of the island. It was so neat to get to hear first-hand from someone who lives there about not only centuries’-old history, but also day-to-day life in a place only accessible to land 2 times a day, unless you take a boat. He was simply charming and so welcoming. Perfect for his role on the mount. (And he has a great band that plays locally as well – Slap Dash Trio. We’ll have to check them out next time!)

Pete introduced us to James St. Aubyn, officially Lord Saint Levan. He and his family live in the Victorian part of the castle atop the mount. Years ago, the St. Aubyn family allowed the National Trust to take over the property…with the stipulation that the family has a 999 year lease and control of all the commerce! Pretty smart planning. Lord St. Levan led us to the gardens with the best views up to the Victorian section. He shared with us about the history of the mount and what it’s like to live there, as well as the St. Aubyn Estate plan to grow and develop the local area. The castle is a working residence, and he oversees the affairs of the Estate. It was surprising to learn that he and his wife get up to the castle the same way as all the visitors – up the steep walkways.  Again, so lovely to speak to him, and so generous he was to allow us a few minutes of his busy day.

Next, Pete gave us a garden tour and led us around the village, pointing out his home, and then the ascent began! It was a series of steep cobbled lanes and then eventually, just random rocks that you had to navigate. People sort of find their own way, as pilgrims have been doing for centuries! Along the way, Pete stopped to tell us tales of giants, storms, and the royal visits. Gifted story teller! At the top, he introduced us to Rachel, who helped us navigate the crowds at the castle, and showed us some of the highlights. We visited and learned about the original church/monastery, the Blue Parlor, and the Terraces. Form the terraces, you get the best vantage point for several things: 1.the gardens below; 2. the coast and town of Marazion; 3. the various architectural eras of the mount. With one glance you could see 4+ types of architecture, spanning several hundred years, as the fortress has been added to and added to.

We bid farewell to Pete at the queue for the boats. Since the causeway was covered by the rising tides, we returned via one of the estate’s shuttle boats, a quick 10 minutes’ journey. It truly was a magnificent time, with lovely people. Time to continue our trek westward…to the end.

We stopped at a Morrison’s, which here is a super grocery store, not a bad buffet as at home! We did the quick meal deal and picked up some sandwiches, crisps, drinks, and a flapjack (well, of course!) and hit the A30 til it ended. It went from a divided 4-lane, to a 2-lane, to a very narrow 2-lane. Til it ended. At Land’s End!

We had expected the “Cornish Festival” to be going on, and there were tons of people. But no festival that we could see. No food vendors, craft vendors, storytellers, etc as we expected. There was some live music in the little touristy area, but nothing appeared to be unique. So, once again Plan B> And we headed for the hills. Literally!

The turf here is so different than a few miles east. Very rugged and barren…scrubby and rocky… and very, very cliffy! And absolutely STUNNING. The ground is covered in heather (yeah, I love it) and this thick, soft grass is kind of cushiony on your feet. We were loving that after the cobblestones and rocks at St Michael’s. We walked to a nearby farm and craft shed, then on down to the edge of this country! The cliffs were dramatic, and the water crashing was powerful and awe-inspiring. And it was windy!! We decided to sit for a bit, and I found the perfect little stone “throne.” So we sat and overlooked the Atlantic. As Courtney was setting up a shot, I noticed the edges of the “cliff” were really clumps of that soft cushiony grass hanging off the rocks! So I told her not to step back …because the edge was not really the edge! Ahhh…it was so relaxing.

we had dinner in the hotel restaurant. Delicious, but quite pricey. But you are paying for the spectacular view. We enjoyed our dinners and some Healy’s cyder as the sun began to set. After dinner we had about 15 minutes of sunset left, so we went out to witness the show! The wind was unreal, and it was COLD, but we toughed it out and saw an amazing exhibit! Soon after, the Magic and Mystery in the Skies fireworks show began. It was so unique…way different than typical US fireworks. It was set and synchronized with music and a story about Arthur and the legend of Lyonesse. The fireworks artistically fit the story and music so well. It was spectacular!

Now, on the bed. Another big day awaits….we are taking a skybus 28 miles further west to the Isles of Scilly….

Enjoying the moonlight reflecting on the sea out my window….