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It was time to cross another causeway. After all, it was nearly twelve weeks since I had driven across the one to Lindisfarne. But this time it was to be on foot.

For the first time this week, the view to St Michael’s Mount was clear as I set off along the Western Promenade in Penzance for Marazion and the causeway to the castle on Tuesday, 7th September. Booking ahead was imperative; entry would be denied without a pre-booked ticket. The attraction is run jointly by the National Trust and the St Aubyn family, who still own much of the island.

You are told to arrive at the gate of the castle at the time of your ticket, and to allow 15 minutes beforehand to cross the causeway, whether on foot when the tide is low enough, or by ferry. I was pleased to have allowed even more time than that, since the car park fee took time to pay, at one of those horribly complicated machines that wants to know all about you.

At the castle gate I appeared to get special, expedited, treatment. Was this because I was a National Trust member? Anyway, I was soon on my way to the visitor centre.

Sadly, it would not be possible to visit the gardens, which had closed for the season just a few days beforehand.

Then over to the wall for some views,

Black-backed gull

before starting the long, steep and difficult cobbled and/or stony upward trek to the ‘top’.

Nearly there
There were people at the ‘top’.
There were lots of people at the ‘top’, which proved not to be the top. It was at least 20 minutes before I was able to enter the castle, the queue was so long.

I amused myself looking for dolphins (unsuccessfully)

Nearly there

I also filled in the time reading about the castle on an app I had downloaded thanks to a QR code at the bottom of the steps. Annoyingly, that app is no longer on my phone. I suppose it’s possible that it could have auto-deleted as I left the premises, but, much more likely, I deleted it myself thinking I would have no more need of it, forgetting that it would be really useful in identifying my photos. My memory serves me poorly…

I do recall that this particularly appealed to me in a whole roomful of delightful drawings by Lady Catherine Someone.


The route led to an upper terrace

They’re still queuing down there on the lower terrace.

Despite the number of people there, the 15th century chapel, where a service is held every Sunday in the summer months, brought a sense of palpable calm.

I recall that the guide described this blue room as Strawberry Hill Gothic.

I could have spent a very long time in the maps room, and took photos of several of the exhibits. I limit myself to sharing just one of them.

In the same room was this cork sculpture of the island.

This is a portrait of Dolly Pentreath, said to have been the last person to have spoken only Cornish. (Though the next day was to moderate that claim in my mind – see two posts on in due course.)

At last there were no other people around for a short while, as I looked back along a corridor of pictures.

A room described as the Museum was closed for renovations, and the Garrison Room did not interest me too much. But a few more pictures towards the exit did. For colour and style…

… and for nostalgia: Giles, Vera and Gran!

View from exit of castle

When was looking, without success, to see if I could find any more detail about the castle’s contents on the internet, I came across this walk-through film lasting about 15 minutes.

The walk down the uneven path could have daunted me, but this time I had my walking pole with me. Without it, I would have found the descent a miserable experience. Once down, I was reminded that the ferry, which I was planning to take back for the sake of having a boat ride, would not be running until well after 2.00 pm, given the state of the tide.

Not really hungry after the very copious breakfast served by Alan and prepared by the unseen Sally at Chiverton House, (despite my taking neither sausage not bacon, nor any of the carbohydrate-packed offerings) I went to sit on the big lawn for a few minutes.

I usually try to avoid taking photos with people in them unless they are part of the story, but I think they add something here – others may disagree.

I was delighted to see a little egret on the near shore and zoomed in on it.

Having patronised the Island Shop, I then walked back to the car park. I saw no point in hanging on for more than hour just for the sake of having a short boat ride. The cobbles were not kind to sore feet,

so I cut off leftwards to take the hypotenuse back to my car. Sadly the ripple marks on the wet sand were almost as uncomfortable as the cobbles.

On the way to Marazion, I had noticed a signpost to an attraction I had added the evening before to my ever-increasing list of ‘Things I’d like to do’…