Day 14:  Bristol to Plymouth

Today we left Bristol and made our way south.  The morning was nice and sunny.  Our first stop of the day was Glastonbury, and the Abbey.  This abbey is (according to legend) where King Arthur and Gwenivire where buried.  Monks in the 1100s recovered bodies which they claimed included Arthur's shield and sword.  In the same area is a small monument on a hill.  The holy grail (again, according to legend) is supposed to be buried somewhere in the area.

We left Glastonbury and headed off for the small village of Clovelly.  The skies darkened, and we had the heaviest rain yet on the trip.  We arrived in Clovelly around noon.  The rain lightened a bit, but was still steady.

Glastonbury Abbey

We walked down a steep cobbled lane to the village on the Atlantic.  Once again fate was with us, because the weather was *perfect* for a photographing and experiencing a fishing village on the Atlantic!  Clovelly has been preserved as an authentic old-style village.  No cars or coaches are allowed in the village save for the single Land Rover service.

Glastonbury Ruins

We followed the steep cobbled lane through the entire village to the bottom.  The bottom of the village contains the fishing harbor containing all the boats and nets.  Seagulls filled the air, swooping across to perch along the rooftops.  This mist almost totally obscured the Atlantic, except for near the waters edge, where the water lapped across the smooth stone beach front. 

The steep Clovelly lanes!

We stopped for lunch at a tea room.  Young girls in the village dressed with white blouses, black skirts and little white aprons  served us hot soup and sandwiches.  Afterwards, we ventured down to the edge of the Atlantic, standing on the seawall to take pictures of the mountain side and village.  Douglas headed to the village pub to talk to the locals.  He found an old man there, Arthur, who is the oldest resident of the village.  Arthur has lived in the village all his life, and has worked as both a fisherman and a crewman on the lifeboats.  Douglas made the climb back up the cobbled lane while I took the Land Rover service!

One of the Clovelly residents!

Believe it or not, the weather cleared as soon as we left Clovelly, giving us a great view of our next stop, Tyntagel and the Dyntagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur.  As we approached the town of Tyntagel, we saw a wide variety of cattle, sheep, and horse farms.  At one farm, we saw a field of giant wind generators for electricity.  These made quite an impressive picture against the landscape. 

Clovelly from the seawall.

When we reached the town, we hiked a short distance to Dyntagel Castle.  The dark, rugged ruins of the castle perch atop a rocky outcrop hanging over the Atlantic.  On one side, there is a deep cove where the ocean pounds into the cliff.  The dark water has spots of brilliant green where seaweed or algae grow.  It was quite a view.  The castle on top of that cliff must have been an imposing sight from the ocean in its day!

On our way to Plymouth, we drove through Devon, the lands of the Prince of Wales (Charles).  We continued on through Dartmoor, home of the infamous Dartmoor prison, built by French Prisoners during the Napoleonic War.  Today it is used as a general prison.  The lands (moors) surrounding the prison is some of the most desolate land I've ever seen. 

The misty beachfront at Clovelly.

We were told that upon seeing these lands, one of Cromwell's generals remarked, "Neither a tree to hang a man on, nor water to drown a man, nor enough soil to bury him".

A small cove at Dyntagel.

We headed into Plymouth to our hotel, and had dinner. Afterwards, we looked for a launderette -- but everything is closed.  I guess we'll try again tomorrow.  Douglas and I may spend the day in Plymouth "on our own".  We're still trying to decide.  You'll find out how it turned out in the next installment!

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