16-17 September: Exploring the land of King Arthur

Author: Mrs A

Location: Tintagel & Boscastle, Cornwall, UK

All was going so well. We were packing up camp like we so regularly do, me tidying and locking things away inside, while Mark was busy on the outside, putting away the eye mask and filling up with water as we were planning to park at a pub that night, with no facilities. He called out for me to check how full the tank was. “50%” I called back….Mark looked at me quizzically, “But it’s overflowing…..” It was at this point his face dropped, as he realised what was happening. He’d mistakenly inserted the water hose into the diesel tank.

The two flaps look quite similar…except one says ‘Diesel’ and one has a picture of a tap and water….

All the colour drained out of Mark’s face, and I quickly jumped on to the Hymer Owner’s Group on Facebook to see what was recommended – I correctly assumed that this mistake had been made by others. The advice was as follows:

  1. Do not turn on your engine
  2. Call a specialist to drain the tank – Google ‘Wrong Fuel’ – there are plenty of companies willing to take your money!
  3. Replace your fuel filter – especially where water is involved – the filter is made of cardboard!

Mark made the call which was answered by a very sympathetic lady who for the price of a kidney would immediately send out someone to help. We had to agree, and within two hours our tank-cleaner was busily draining us of water and diesel, and popped in a few litres to get us to a fuel station to fill up.

Getting the last drops of water out of the system

Thankfully all the water had been pumped out and Truffy ran like clockwork. A few hours late and slightly less money in the bank, we headed off on our way towards our next destination, Tintagel.

As we approached Tintagel we could see a grey haze on the horizon. From my childhood living on the Sussex coast I could recognise it as sea fog. I remember playing in the sunshine in the garden and mum suggesting we catch the bus down to the beach…only to arrive in thick fog and temperatures several degrees lower than those we left.

Our first glimmers of fog on the horizon as we drive towards Tintagel

Arriving in Tintagel, indeed it was. Fog so thick you could hardly see across the road and chilly temperatures that encouraged us to ditch the shorts and pop on long trousers. It didn’t matter to us though, we were meeting my friend Kelly (she also has subglottic stenosis) and her husband Patrick.

We enjoyed a lovely pub lunch, Mr A allowing a pint of beer to help him calm down after the stresses of the morning, before having a walk around the village. Kelly kindly treated us to a Cornish cream tea – scones, cream, jam and black tea to enjoy back at Truffy. Fabulous!

Cream tea and fog!

We stayed overnight in the car park, waking up early to the sound of wind. When there’s wind, that means there cannot be fog…and indeed, we had a perfect morning!

Truffy and his overnight friends

We were eager to see Tintagel in the sunshine, knowing we had to leave by lunchtime to drive up to Somerset to have a new fuel filter fitted in the morning. We were off out exploring by 7.30am – mug of tea in hand, beating most of the tourists (Strava link).

The village of Tintagel dates back to possibly the year 700, at which point there may have just been a castle there on the cliff, but there are also many clues to previous lives nearby with Bronze Age barrows and Iron Age hill forts in the district. There are many legends relating to King Arthur and the wizard Merlin, including one that suggests King Arthur was conceived in Tintagel. Of course that means there are a handful of magic crystal shops and other tourist traps to avoid.

In the main street is the Tintagel Post Office which dates to the 14th century.

This stone building with its old sagging roof is Grade I listed and owned by the National Trust

As we walked down the street we saw a familiar sign, pointing us to the South West Coast Path and Tintagel Castle. We followed a trail to the cliff tops.

The light is so pure on this sunny morning
We reach a lookout near the castle ruins
Tintagel Castle (in the background on the right) is in a similar state of repair as Hastings Castle
The view out to sea from within the castle walls
There were some people snorkelling down below in this bay…brrr…..
A bridge takes visitors over to what is now an island, but when the castle was built was land. We were too early to visit

We decided to follow the coast path south for a few kilometres, the views along the coast continuing to be spectacular on this sparkling morning.

A stunning vista awaits us
The rugged North Cornwall coastline
Secluded little bays and enticing caves
Coastal erosion had left this sea stack

We looped back to the village across the fields, calling into the bakery Kelly had taken us to. There we purchased a proper (and incredibly delicious) Cornish Pasty to share for lunch. Delicious!

A curious calf looks out from behind mum as we walk through her field
One Cornish Pasty (traditional) coming up

After our very tasty brunch we moved on a short way up the coast to the small settlement of Boscastle. Boscastle was in the news back in 2004 for a devastating flood which swept through the village. Due to the high sided and narrow valley, coupled with extremely heavy rain, flood waters were funnelled though the town, sweeping aside and destroying everything in their path. There is little evidence of it now, other than a couple of signs telling the story.

We had an explore through the predominantly one street village, centred around the river which leads to a tiny port. Fishing and pleasure boats were tied up on the sandy harbour bottom at low tide.

An old church is now a tea room
Fishing boats at low tide
A very picturesque harbour mouth
Colours of Boscastle
A dangerous harbour to enter if you don’t understand where the hazards lie
Apple bobbing? A few windfalls floating down the stream into harbour

Leaving Boscastle we headed north, one of our biggest drives in a long while, a couple of hours up to Bridgewater in Somerset. We camped up in a little village on the outskirts for the night in anticipation of an early start at the mechanic’s in the morning.

6 Replies to “16-17 September: Exploring the land of King Arthur”

  1. Glad you published this one! I think it’s definitely one memory that needs savouring and bringing up year after year 😂😂😂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *