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St Michael’s Mount

I had a free day in Penzance last Sunday, before meeting Christopher’s family on the Bank Holiday Monday. I hadn’t realised quite how close St Michael’s Mount is to Penzance – a walk along the coast of only about three miles. The first mile or so is a bit industrial, as the coastal path is directly between the sea wall and the railway line. But once the railway heads inland, it’s a pleasant stroll along sand dunes (and a less salubrious walk through some car parks) to the small village of Marazion. The locals there seem to have perfected the art of separating grockles from their money, and it’s little more than a very pretty tourist trap. I had a tasty but over-priced sandwich there for lunch, before heading over to St Michael’s Mount. I’d checked the tide times beforehand, and was able to walk over the causeway to the island, which was quite fun.

St Michael’s Mount from Marazion beach

The island is run by the National Trust, who sting you for a substantial entrance fee. However, the gardens and the castle perched on the top of the rock are well worth a visit. I think my favourite bit was a model of the island, made by a butler to the family in the early 20th Century, entirely constructed out of champagne corks!

The pathway up to the castle is very rough – lots of uneven granite steps, and it must get very slippery when it rains. There is an underground tramway leading from the harbour up to the castle which is still functional, and used to haul supplies up to the top of the rock. But Health and Safety considerations mean that the NT won’t allow it to be used for passengers. My knees were killing me by the time I got back down to sea level, and I really didn’t relish the three mile walk back to Penzance!