Sun and heat – wonderful. Even the wind wasn’t blowing very forcefully. We decided to go and look at the coast around Tintagel, about 12 miles north of us. The old legs were grumbling a little so, once there, we chose to make it a lazy, short saunter and just enjoy the beautiful weather.
The Island at Tintagel Head looked a very imposing formation as we approached from the south (another National Trust car park, bless them). Closer inspection revealed large amounts of people wandering about its relatively flat top. Unknown to me, this is supposedly the legendary birthplace of King Arthur and is now run by English Heritage. “£4.70 each to get in, please, and would you like a guide book, too?” “Not for another £3.99, I don’t, thanks.” Quelle cheapskate!
As we had driven through Tintagel itself on our approach we had seen a couple of bus loads of enfants Francaises. These formed a considerable number of those now crawling all over the top of King Arthur’s island. “They come here because King Arthur is on the French curriculum”, we were told. “He’s no longer on the English national curriculum, though.” Wonderful stuff.
The steps down from the mainland and up the approach to the fortified island are seriously steep and not for the weak of limb. When the only armoury available was bows and arrows, this must have been one incredibly strong stronghold. As we tried to make our way up the steps into the stronghold, out swarmed quarante six (46) enfants Francaises. Since the steps are narrow as well as steep, this constituted something of a bouchon (blockage). We were stuck half way up (sounds like the Grand Old Duke of York, again). Fortunately, being enfants Francaises, they were polite and obedient and were encouraged by their teacher to stop their swarming to allow us to complete our climb.
While we were taking in the views from and of the island itself another large group gathered. One lady was handling something I first thought to be a dowsing stick but which, on closer inspection, turned out to be some sort of long flexible spring-like device. Curious, I thought. We continued our wander and eventually looked back. The spring-like device may have been some kind of indicator as to when conditions were right because eventually this latest group of, well, loonies, distributed themselves around the western extreme of the island, and stared west with their arms held low out from their sides as if receiving mystical signals. The spring lady, whom I now took to be the High Priestess Loony, was arching her back in apparent raptures of some kind. Every now and then one of the group would drop to the ground, either sated or entranced – who knows? Someone suggested they were waiting for their spaceship. We’ll have some of what they’re drinking.
What an intriguing place.