Dwight Peck's personal website

Late summer 2003 -- A few weeks in Devon and Cornwall

Boscastle and Tintagle in King-Arthur-land

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.

Boscastle, so named because Bos used to have a castle here but it's gone now, is tucked in on the North Cornwall coast south of Bude, and it's an extremely interesting place, not only because of its pubs, but also because the sea makes an uncharacteristically long intrusion into the hinterlands and provides what must have been, in early days, one of the safest places to tie your bark up this side of Calais Roads.

Here's downtown Boscastle, not bad, not great, but here we go, walking out the arm of the sea, past the Witchcraft Museum (OH! Spare me!) to the resumption of the Cornwall Coast Path. [Flood-trashed Bocastle the following year]

That's traveling companion Kristin, there on the left, passing by the charming outskirts of Boscastle bound for the coast.

That's the Witchcraft Museum -- we didn't go in, so one can only imagine!

Never mind, this scene shows the town of Boscastle up its very own arm of the sea, seen from the Coast Path [before the flood].

Kristin bustling along the Coast Path above this natural harbor on the north Cornwall coast, of which there are very few. The top-left of the headland on the far side is called "Queen Victoria's rock" and has got her whole entire head including the crown.

Queen Victoria's profile and the Bocastle fjord

Queen Victoria full-frontal

And now a heady dash southwestward along the Coast Path towards the homeland of King Arthur, who was born or died or cavorted unrestrainedly at mysterious and misty TINTAGEL on the Cornwall coast, or else Geoffrey of Monmouth and Chrêtien de Troyes cannot be believed. For you and me, King Arthur lives! and of course, he will come back when we need him most.

A look back northward as we progress

Hiking companion Kristin sprinting along from Boscastle, trying to catch King Arthur's own Tintagel before the sun disappears for the night.

The Cornwall coast, looking northward, October 2003. Merlin surely had a cave down in there somewhere, Merlin the magician.

The quiet village of Trevalga along the way

Healthy fun on a windy day

Southwest Coast Path views in the autumn

Another blessed downhill-and-uphill

No British coastal paths can be pre-planned as the crow flies from the map -- down to the little bridge at the creek, and back up the other side. (My Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs 20 years ago were carefully planned on the maps and all took twice as long as intended.)

Truly lovely little creeks down to the sea. And then back up the other side.

Nonetheless we persevere, and there's discernible progress towards Tintagel.

Down to another little bridge, and up the other side again, and then . . .

. . . King Arthur's Castle -- but first, down to the little bridge, and up the other side again.

Having hiked along the Cornwall Coast Path to Tintagle, we arrive finally at King Arthur's own castle, called Camelot, or King Arthur's Castle Hotel. Certain members of our party thought this place was quite charming, especially the lobby interiors, very like a 1930s movie set, other members of our party just got really depressed.

The Excali-Bar. Awful Cess to the wily entrepreneur who thought up this name and thought it clever.

Hiking companion Kristin, near sundown, views King Arthur's real whatever-it-was out there on its isolated promontory. (It was evidently a very early, pre-Roman Catholic, Christian monastery, fascinating in its own right but possibly not really the very place where Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot bounced up and down going oooh and aaahh all night long until looked in upon by Arthur himself.)

Another view of Tintagel, with Guinevere and Lancelot luckily tucked away out of sight now, and another ruin nearby. [We came back a year later & can now provide further details.]

Kristin returning to Camelot --

soon to be evacuated from the scene by a taxicab bound for our hired auto in Boscastle. Members of the party who are not used to going for a hike and taking a taxicab home were bribed to come along.

We only have one more hiking day left, before motoring back to Oxford to square away the Somerville scholar, and then to spend a day in the checkout lounge at Heathrow getting wanded and our shoes checked, so let's take full advantage of the time left and walk along the coast from Welcombe Bay to the competing saints at Morwenstow.

Devon and Cornwall, October 2003

Summer 2002

Bocastle in 2004, after catastrophic floods

[I've lost track of who sent us these photos, but our thanks to them.]

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 November 2003, revised 23 September 2008, 13 May 2013, 9 March 2021.

Devon and Cornwall, 2009

Devon and Cornwall, 2006

Devon and Cornwall, 2004

Devon and Cornwall, 2003