Thursday, our busiest day, started with a hiccup. Slight damage to the SD card made it unrecognizable to the camera, and I would not be able to take photos. After a bit of a scramble, we found a new card at HBH Woolacotts in Bodmin, but lost an hour in the process.
With urgency we began our clockwise loop of the peninsula, starting with Lizard Point. We took half an hour to hike around the most southerly point of mainland UK, spotted some seals, and walked around the Lizard Lighthouse. Nice sights and friendly locals.
(two seals in the water there)
We grabbed a couple of Cornish pasties and drove around to Marazion for a date with St. Michael’s Mount. The castle is an amazing sight, accessible by land only when the tide goes out. The castle is a bit of a hodge-podge of collected “old stuff,” worth a quick look but you won't miss much if you skip it. The island and the grounds offer views of Penzance, Newlyn, and Mousehole further down the peninsula. The beach is there if the weather is warm, it was a bit chilly so the bathing suits did not come out.
From there we rolled along to the Minack Theatre. We didn’t have tickets for the evening’s show, but you can purchase admission to the grounds and grab something from their cafe. This must be one of the most picturesque theaters on earth. I imagine it can get drafty in the evening, pack a a blanket and layers if you go for a show. The road up is also quite tight… but nothing is scary after the Dartmoor fiasco.
We planned to skip Land’s End, having read that it was a tourist trap, but the Minack Theatre is just around the corner so we popped in. After all, we'd come this far in the little Civic. Arriving just after 5p, the shops had closed but the experience was better for it - very few people, cheap parking, and nice dusk lighting on the cliffs. I agree that the Land’s End attraction has perhaps been over-developed, but if you don’t believe me, come see (ride?) the Wallace and Gromit Grand Experience and let me know what you think.
This was as far west as we could go, so we turned north and followed B3306 along the coast all the way to St. Ives. This was the nicest piece of driving on the trip - fewer hedgerows afforded better sightlines for quick driving and views of the ocean. The golden hour lighting made for an experience that I will not forget.
We made a few stops for photos, first by the Land's End airport, then near what Google maps calls the Carn Galver Engine House.
We arrived in St. Ives, stashed the Civic in public parking, and walked into town for dinner. I had my… fifth? fish and chips of the trip at the Queens Hotel, where the waitress urged me to try “brown sauce” and provide feedback. Not terrible, I’d describe it as similar to A1 steak sauce, but without the tang. So just kind of a brown… sauce. She said she can’t stand it. For chips this American will stick with ketchup (please, no mayo on the fries).
I learned on the drive home that Cornwall isn’t big on lighting on its roadways. It was a long and dark 1.5 hours back to Fowey, for our last night in Cornwall.