Thursday, September 24, 2015

Red-hot Pokers and Paradise

village and castle seen from harbor
The Cornish spirits all conspired to make this a perfect day.  We were blessed with absolutely perfect weather for our excursion to St Michael's Mount! Glorious sunshine and mild temperatures made for a wonderful day out.

The tide was coming in when we set out so we hopped on one of the many small boats available to ferry visitors over to the island. Within a few minutes we were transported from Chapel Rock to the harbor at the Mount. One of the many guides on the island suggested we do the gardens first, and he was absolutely right!  We made it through most of the gardens without encountering a great number of people, which made photographing them much easier.

red hot pokers & Marazion in the distance
One of my favorite plants is called a red-hot poker and it is stunning! The variety of tropical plants was astounding. Sedums and succulents of every shape and size as well as fuchsias, daisies, hydrangeas, and lilies, all demanded one's attention. There was so much to see that I didn't know where to look! The views from the gardens were absolutely breathtaking! I could have gladly sat there until I sprouted roots!

The gardens are sloped and terraced, so there was much climbing involved. Anne and I decided that it was still easier than climbing Glastonbury Tor, and there were benches and sitting areas placed so that one could rest after climbing a bit. After our investigation of the gardens we repaired to the Sail Loft restaurant for a cup of tea and a rest.

western side of castle
It is as well that we rested because the climb up to the castle was not easy. The steep paths consisted of cobbles and natural stone ledges, more conducive to mountain goats than people. But the climb is so very worth it!  The views from the top left me speechless! To have such a clear day to see such sights!

After scrambling a bit more, we reached the western entrance to the castle. Since this is still the private home of the St Aubyn family, only a portion of the castle is accessible to visitors. What there is so see is still impressive.

altar and stained glass 
From priory to fort, castle to family home, you get to see much of the castle's history and transformation. The monastic buildings were built during the 12th century and in 1275 an earthquake destroyed the original priory church, which was rebuilt in the late 14th century. It is still in use today. The priory was seized by the Crown, when Henry V went to war in France and it became part of the endowment for the Abbey of Syon at Twickenham in 1424. Thus ended the connection with Mont St Michel.

The castle has been the home of the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650. Although now owned by the National Trust, the family has a 999 year lease to live in the castle and manage the viewing of the property.

Well it has been a thoroughly wonderful, and exhausting day!  Tomorrow we try to make the Eden Project again. Hopefully the trains will cooperate!

Stay tuned...

1 comment: