Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cornwall I: Lanhydrock House & the Country

This weekend the BCA took us on a tour of Cornwall and all of its surounding attractions. We had a fantastic time, except for the endless hours spent cooped in a coach bus, and I think everyone's ready for a nice long nap. We started out bright and early - 8 AM, how did we do it? - and started spotting some "Cornish" scenery around noon. (Note: We only knew it was Cornish because they told us to wake up and look at it, otherwise we probably would have slept through it.)

But we didn't sleep through it! We woke up, took some pictures, and toured a village. Bodmin, the first town, didn't have much to photograph, but we had lunch at a little place called Willow's Café. The food wasn't spectacular or spectacularly cheap, but we had a nice time anyways. I would have liked to tour the cathedral, but the service was too slow and we ran out of time. Anyways, if you're ever in Bodmin, take an extra few minutes to look at the cathedral and think of me.

The field with cows basically sums up Cornwall's geography. Add some derelict chimneys, falling stone foundations, or large granite boulders, and you've covered most of the basic variations. I'd like to go back some day and ask the farmer's in the far-south end of Cornwall for permission to hike around. They've got a good combination of abandoned buildings, rocky terrain, and chimneys (left from the tin industry at the end of the 19th Century) to explore. My ideal day in Cornwall probably start's at Land's End (we'll cover that eventually) and ends knee-deep in soot at an old tin mine.

This is St. Michael's Mount. We didn't get to go there because it was closed for a wedding, but I thought I should include the picture anyways. From about 350 B.C. St. Michael's was a well-known tin and copper trading post, and in 495 A.D. a fisherman saw a vision of the Mount's eponymous saint. Basically, it's important and not to be missed on a trip to Cornwall. Unless, of course, you have a bus full of university students on a Saturday. Then, by all means, keep driving.

And apparently you can't go anywhere in England without seeing the Red Admiral. I guess I'm collecting photos of them, because I snapped this one up without much thought or consideration. I did a fair-bit of bird watching too, but I'm not overly familiar with the species, and this post already has too many pictures, so we'll save the birds of Cornwall for another conversation. Moving on: we stopped at Lanhydrock House as our first major point of interest.

Essentially, Lanhydrock is a late Victorian-Era country manor fit with enormous gardens, most of its original furniture, and all of its traditional grounds; the government declared it a National Trust property in 1953. It takes its name from St. Hydroc, to whom the chapel is dedicated. The general story I gleaned from the memorials and notices around the house goes as follows: St. Hydroc was an Irish missionary to Cornwall, specifically to the monastery that stood on the house's location before they were disbanded in the mid 16th Century. What St. Hydroc did, exactly, is a little foggy, but suffice to say they named the place after him.

1) The main walk up to Lanhydrock House.

2) The chapel and surrounding garden.

3) One of the larger gardens

4) A small courtyard

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