Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode

Devon and Cornwall in the springtime

Whenever things start to pile up and get on top of you, it's time to take some time off and go to Cornwall.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Botallack Manor

At the very farthest end of greyest Cornwall, at the end of a longish drive on the wrong side of the road, we pass on narrow roads around Penzance and through St Just and draw up, with a sinking heart, at Botallack Manor. Which of those windows could be the "room with a sea view" that we're sure we booked? (19 April 2006)

Luckily, once past the passageway through the Botallack Manor barn, here's Bottallack Manor house . . .

. . . and here's the room with the sea view. Built in the 17th century, the charming rooms have all the modern marks of 17th-century authenticity, like the floor in the centre of the room is several inches lower than at the edges, and the (clean and functional) shower-and-toilet room has been bolted on in the corner, just behind the television.

The sea from the seaview room, only just discernible this afternoon.

Our room is called Levant, after one of the ubiquitous ruins of the old tin mines in the region. That alignment is not a mistake, the door was probably never meant to be rectangular -- the inch space at the upper right functions as the peep-holes in the heavily-armored doors of New York City apartments, so that you can keep an attentive eye on whatever might be going on in the hall outside, if you want to.

The breakfast room. The proprietress, Mrs Cargeeg, and her helper Delwyn care for guests perfectly in every way, but . .

. . . in the matter of breakfast, Mrs Cargeeg surpasses "perfectly". This is the little room adjacent to the breakfast room where one gets off to a good start with a wide and deep spread of fruits, yoghurts, jams, juices, cereals, as a kind of warm-up.

Before proceeding to the main course, involving combinations of eggs and omelettes, sausages, 'bacon' (i.e., big ham slices), salmon, sautéed tomatos and mushrooms, beans on toast!, etc. Lunch will be unnecessary, not to say unthinkable. (The fireplace bears the date 1681.)

The Botallack Manor B+B (right) is just up the lane from the sea, convenient for setting out on the Southwest Coast Path and just near several "tourist attractions", relics of the ancient mining industry, principally for tin, that thrived here from pre-Roman times before declining in the later 19th century.

The seaview side of the house as we set out for the Coast Path. The Crown Mine engine houses, lovingly restored in 1985, and the functioning Levant Mine, both National Trust properties, are just down the lane. (Map of the mining relics in the area.)

Botallack Manor is also a working 180-acre farm operated by Mrs Cargeeg's son.

The Queen's Arms just down the street in Botallack. A lovely place: friendly people, great pub grub. As we first drove into the area via nearby St Just, we carefully planned out our week of pub dinners just looking round the St Just town square, but in the event we fell into the Queen's Arms every night we were in the region (except for Saturday night, when they had the Pub Quiz in the main room and we don't know enough about British soap operas and football).

The garden in front of the house, landward side. John Wesley tried to do some of his famous fiery preaching from atop the garden wall here and got pelted for it by the villagers. Some of the 1975 TV series of "Poldark" was shot here, as well as a 1979 episode of "Penmarric".

The B+B should be most heartily recommended for the price range (£50-odd for the room), the charm of its heritage, its comforts, its proximity to the sea, and its local pub, but it's not entirely clear to us whether Mrs Cargeeg will be keeping it open. She's closing down now (May 2006) to go for some medical work, and one certainly hopes that she plans to re-open when all's well again. [It appears that Botallack Manor has not been open for some years now. -- 2018]

[Update: We learn from The Guardian, 25 May 2019, that by that time the manor house 'for the past five years ... has lain empty and in an increasing state of neglect' and is now inscribed in Save Britain's Heritage's list of buildings at risk. The article states that as of 2019 the owner, the Tregothnan Estate, had already begun two years of renovations and planned to lease it out as a farmhouse.]

Pubcrawling in Devon and
Cornwall, 2006

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 May 2006, revised 16 September 2008, 6 May 2013, updated 22 March 2021.

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Devon and Cornwall, 2006

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