King Arthur's Tintagel Castle and hike to Boscastle
Tintagel Travel Blog› entry 8 of 14 › view all entries
Of all the days of this holiday, this one will stand as one of the best. Infact, not since Glenorchy (New Zealand) and the Dingle Peninsula (Ireland) have I had such a memorable day, one of those days that will just stay etched in my mind. The agenda for the day was in and around Tintagel Castle, rumoured to be the site of King Arthur's birth.
Everyone grew up learning about King Arthur in some form or another. We've all heard about the Excalibur, Lancelot, Merlin and the Round Table. And then there's King Arthur's residence - Camelot. So along with the push that travel books give to oneself to visit this place, I myself was very very keen on seeing the sights for myself. I had been pre-warned that getting transport to this place is next to impossible, so I wasn't really surprised when I started plotting my journey and just getting there itself would take so long.
I started off at 7am and headed to the Penzance station. It was Monday morning, you know it's the start of the week when you see sleepy kids in school uniforms getting ready for school, and the working force all dressed up in their cars and at the bus stop ready to start the work week. I reached the train station in about 15 minutes, and caught the train to Bodmin parkway which took me about 75 minutes. The train station is deserted, very small and literally in the middle of nowhere. The way to go to Tintagel from Penzance is rather tiring: PZ -> Bodmin Parkway (by train), and then bus to Wadebridge, and THEN another bus to Tintagel (LOL.
The bus from Bodmin Parkway to Wadebridge picked me up by 950am and I was at the Wadebridge bus stop by about 1030 am. Seriously, how creepy is this place? First time I felt a bit odd, not unsafe, just odd in this town. The thing is, the bus stop is surrounded by tons of flats but face the rears, so there isnt' really any human movement in this area save for the 1-2 people that catch a bus.
Anyways I reached Tintagel a bit after noon, went to the Visitor's Centre and checked my email. I stopped by a rsnt nearby for some...erm...CREAM TEA!! and made my way down the little road that leads up to the ruins of the Castle. It's a nice place, very laidback and not overcrowded with Tourists.
I walked around the base of the castle, the blue waters reminded me of Thailand. It's so un-UK I must say. Who would've thought I'd be visiting the UK and talking about crystal blue waters. That's the thing about the UK, it just never ceases to amaze me! Another thing I noticed in this part of the country is more British tourists than foreign tourists, save for a few Germans and me! I think it has to do with the rather complicated and infrequent transport schedules, not to mention that the major tourist attractions aren't served by train, and you're often running from pillar to post trying to make sense of the timings and co-ordinating various journeys.
Back to the Castle though - it really is in ruins! To the naked eye that has no clue on the (supposed) significance of the place, it's best described as remnants of Hadrian's Wall all piled up atop a hill. However, the real beauty that no one talks about Tintagel is the VASTNESS. The airy feeling. Forget the Castle, this place could have a Krispy Kreme or a Burlington's Coat Factory and it would still look every bit magnificent. The whole scenery is stunning and overpowering even the historical clout of the Castle.
I wandered around the 'circle'/island for about 1 hour, taking in the sea breeze and the sunshine. I was deliberating on whether or not I should walk to Boscastle or just take the bus there.
The scenery was just so much to take. I don't know another time in my life where I've been huffing and puffing trying to walk fast enough (to make the 5pm bus back to Wadebridge), the camera click-clicking on either side.
I reached Boscastle around 430pm. Now this is one pretty town. It reminded me of Pickering in Yorkshire from my trip two years ago.
My return journey to Wadebridge was long...this particular bus goes through St.Isaac which adds another 30 minutes to it.
When I reached the hostel, and I put my shoes down, I could finally feel what a long day it's been. And how much I've seen and felt and learnt and taken in, all at the same time. I went down, cooked my dinner, met 2 very interesting German ladies who were hiking around the area, and slept by about 11pm that night. My roommates along with the cool Canadian were a British busdriver and an overweight Aussie bloke. I was so tired but I couldn't sleep that nght in the sheer excitement of what I'd been through the whole day.
I did of course check the bus schedule for the next Kodak Moment trip of mine - Land's End (cont'd on the next entry).