One of our most recent adventures was to walk on water – well not as well as Jesus or Peter did, of course, but the nearest thing we could get to it.
St. Michael’s Mount, just off the coast of Penzance in Cornwall (yes the ones where the pirates wrecked ships and smuggled treasure) is a sight to behold. It’s a tidal island accessible only by boat, or if you can walk on water….across the causeway when the tide is going out.
As far back as 495 A.D. tales have abounded of sailors lured by mermaids (evil mermaids! Who knew?) onto the rocks, or guided to safety by Michael. Legend has it that the archangel Michael (yes, the one in the Bible), appeared to guide fisherman so they didn’t crash their boats on the treacherous rocks. Since then, pilgrims, monks and even innkeepers have come to see this diminutive island, chock a block with history.
By 1066 (the Norman conquest for you history buffs), the mount was owned by the monks of Normandy and they built the church at the center of the castle. In fact if you get special permission from the Queen, you can get married there this Valentine’s Day!
For the last 400 years it’s been owned by the St. Aubyn family, who seem quite happy to live on their own little island off the coast of Cornwall. Can you imagine living in a castle atop an island? Going to the shop for milk or crumpets on a daily basis, and doing so within 30 minutes, would be quite impossible.
This massive lump of granite has been a monastery, a fort, a church and a castle. And did I mention the view from top is quite spectacular?
The three of us scrambled up medieval pathways to reach the castle at the top, feeling a little like Jack climbing his beanstalk to reach the giant in the castle at the top. I imagined soldiers’ heavy boots racing up to the battlements during the Wars of the Roses in 1473. It was no easy climb, believe me. But the aforementioned view, was quite spectacular! Across the harbor regular people were going about their business buying and selling, feeding their children, drinking tea while we stood at the top of the world, although we didn’t meet any giants. What an experience!
Travel! You’ll learn something about yourself you never knew and make some meaningful deposits into the memory bank, the only bank worth fretting about. Start in Britain, you’ll catch the travel bug for life!
Photo by Raymond Bradshaw
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