Thursday June 21st: Happy Solstice Day!
For the last two mornings we had woken to grey skies and rather bleak weather so it was with some joy we woke to see the sun shining for the Summer Solstice. Mark’s snoring had me awake even earlier than usual and so it looks like I will be in for a very long day indeed!
It was chilly outside though with a cool breeze and more like a day that at home we’d refer to as a ‘lovely winter’s day’ however, it is meant to be summer here. We rugged up and set back out to the beach district for our walk with a coffee stop in the Old Town, not too far from home.
Our plan for the afternoon was to catch a ferry out to St Mawes and visit St Mawes Castle. This will be the last of many castles visited on this trip. When we did a trip through Europe with the kids back in 2007 they referred to it as the ABC tour…Another Bloody Cathedral! I’ve thought of them a lot this trip as I’m sure they’d label this one similarly but as Another Bloody Castle. So, with them in mind, we set off for the Falmouth to St Mawes ferry terminal. Ferries run every 30 minutes for this short trip (20 min) to St Mawes and we caught the 12.45 pm ferry. St Mawes is a small Cornish fishing village and presents a very pretty picture from the water as you approach by ferry with the ‘ferry terminal’ consisting of just a humble set of stone stairs set into the Breakwater that protects the small harbour.
St Mawes Castle is just a 10 min walk from the Ferry terminal along a single-lane road lined with pretty cottages; many of which looked like old fisherman cottages that have been lovingly restored. There was a beautiful thatched chocolate box style home as well that everyone was photographing, me included.
On arrival to the Castle we asked about audio guides but were advised that they’ve just been discontinued. Apparently, they’d been replaced by improved signs and some other form of audio. However, like with Pendennis Castle, this was not effective and rendered the visit to one of just simple sight-seeing and grabbing a few photos. The Castle was built in the same period as Pendennis, and for the same reason, with the location chosen strategically so as to be across the water from Pendennis and able to support protection against unwanted entry to Fal harbour. Like Pendennis Castle, this one saw service during the English Civil and two World Wars. Our visit was of only about 30 minute duration but the pretty walk to and from the venue added to the experience.
There were a few shops, cafes, pubs and hotels lining the street opposite the harbour and we stopped in at one of these for lunch. Our choice was the first one we came to and that was the St Mawes Hotel. We were lucky to score one of the three first floor balcony tables that offered views over the harbour and had the best lunch so far this trip. There wasn’t too much else to see in St Mawes and so, after a quick stroll along the waterfront, we boarded a ferry to head back to Falmouth.