Would von Ribbentrop have let us in?

With a forecast of SW F7 coming in over the next day or so, we sadly abandon ideas of getting to the Scillies on this trip. Shorter days, increasing frequency of strong south westerlies and the realities of domesticity mean that we are running out of time to get Heydays home for the winter. Several local sailors suggest in any case that the season has passed for comfy cruising in the islands. We set about doing the touristy thing in Cornwall and head off for what will be a very wet and gloomy visit to St Michaels Mount.

The causeway is only open for a couple of hours either side of low tide and we trudge off along with several other bedraggled groups and some bemused chinese students.

It takes a certain kind of person to live on an island like this and it appears that a member of the German High Command had been promised Cornwall. He apparently decided that the castle would be just the place to rule and retire…

The island itself is fascinating and we wander happily around despite the damp, wondering what it would have been like to have been besieged here by roundheads (or anyone else for that matter).

Before the tide turns we return to Cornwall and watch as the waters once more cut off the island…

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The following day is bright and blustery and we consider a sail to Falmouth. Economics now rears its head and at nearly twice the daily rate we opt to leave Heydays for a few days in Newlyn instead of pushing East.

A lone sailor appears from the Scillies and we realise we have made the right decision. He had to move anchorage several times as the storm passed through and is now utterly exhausted…we go sightseeing again.

St Ives will appeal to some and not others, but the Tate and Hepworth is a real attraction for part of our crew. The tourists are (mostly) absent which makes the town navigable, but the Tate is sadly shut for renewal. We spend a happy few hours poking around the lanes and a couple of smaller galleries…

…and although we don’t see this…

barbara-hepworth-sea-form-(atlantic)

..we get why Barbara Hepworth and generations of artists since, have been so inspired by the sea and landscape of Cornwall.

On the way back we visit the Sennen Cove Lifeboat to thank them properly. They are having a practice launch and we watch transfixed as they slide majestically into the waves…

The final bit of sightseeing takes us back in to the other big cornish industry…tin mining.

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Our guide is an ex-miner who brings the reality of the industry to life. The tour underground is not for the claustrophobic and James and Chris find it ‘interesting’ but welcome the daylight at the end…

The mine closed in ’86 and with it a unique way of life. As so often, the women had a unique, physically exhausting and low paid role and the Cornish Balmaidens would have given the Scottish Herring Gutters a run for their money…

balmaidens

Economics, as we have seen in too many places around our coast, places profit above people, places and communities…with the state left to pick up the pieces once capitalists have left with the money…

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