|Landscape Group trip to Cornwall|
May 2019 saw the Devizes Landscape Group venture down to Tintagel on Cornwall’s sunny North Coast for a spring photoshoot weekend.
The weather forecast was set fair and the group had been booked in to stay at the Camelot Castle hotel, with its commanding views over the coastline including views toward Tintagel Island and Tintagel Haven.
The Camelot Castle hotel dates back to 1894 and was originally constructed under the auspices of a Victorian entrepreneur, by the name of Sir Robert Harvey (no relation?). It is now owned by John Mappin (of Mappin and Webb fame) and is run jointly as a family home and hotel welcoming visitors to Tintagel on the Cornish North coast.
Tintagel Island is famous for its connection with the legends surrounding Merlin, King Arthur and Camelot. However, the ruined castle on the island dates from Norman times, much later than the time of the Arthurian legends, however the island does hold signs of much earlier settlements. Sadly, we were unable to explore the castle as the island was closed off in preparation for the installation of a ‘no steps’ foot bridge to allow access to the island without the need to climb the existing steep cliff path.
Probably feeling somewhat cheated, Dave Gray seemed to take this as a bit of a challenge and established an interesting photographic itinerary for the group that made absolutely sure that we didn’t miss out on our fair share of steep cliff paths.
On the Saturday, the first day’s excursions started with an early a trip out to the cliffs near Trevelga between Tintagel and Boscastle to see the rock arch known as the Ladies Window. With the sun in the right direction the window casts its shadow on the cliffs opposite, which we duly photographed, ably assisted by some willing models to add some human interest and a sense of scale.
Although only a half mile walk, this introductory walk was sufficient impetus to split the group into ‘Walkers’ and ‘Non-Walkers’. The Non-Walkers took the eminently sensible option of letting the car take the strain, while the ‘Walkers’ were to be subjected treated to yet more cliff path challenges.
Boscastle was next on the agenda, back in 2004 the town of Boscastle was devasted by floods, but 15 years later the buildings around the harbor have now been rebuilt and refurbished such that you would never know that the flood had taken place.
The classic view of Boscastle harbor is from Penally Hill looking toward Willapark and its small castellated coastguard lookout perched on the opposite headland. The climb up Penally Hill is yet another steep walk, which although a well-worn path with steps, is still a bit of a challenge to the fully laden photographer.
From Penally hill we walked out to the headland and back into Boscastle Harbour, ready for our next destination, the ominously named Strangles beach.
Strangles beach is located on a stretch of the Cornish coastline well known for its high cliffs (there’s a surprise), with one of the nearby cliffs being ‘High Cliff’ which stands at some 700 feet above sea level. The beach itself is reached by negotiating an undulating section of the South West Coast path followed by descending several hundred feet down a very steep cliff to the beach, the last stage of this descent being facilitated by a length of ships hawser to allow the steps to be safely negotiated.
Once on the beach, the focus of our photographic efforts was to be the rock stack and arch known as Northern Door. The Northern door marks the division of the Strangles into two beaches here which join up at low tide.Images by David Eagle
The smaller beach to the north of the rock stack is known as Little Strand and although Little Strand is said to be popular with naturists, we confined our photography to the stack and the arch (honest!)
Having survived the descent to the Strangles and subsequent ascent and return to the cars, we set off for Crackington Haven ready for the sunset and high tide, but not before an excellent early supper at the Coombe Barton Inn.
The beach at Crackington is surrounded by cliffs of some 400ft, the cliffs feature some dramatic sedimentary rock folds, while the beach itself hosts some spectacular quartz veined ledges and ridges which made for great photographic subjects as the tide advances. The tide at this beach, in common it seems with a number of beaches in North Cornwall, has great potential for cutting off the unwary photographer, so care had to be taken to work out both the chosen composition and also an escape route from the rising tide.
continue reading Day 2,