We Fail To Mount St Michael

Executing a swift and rather neat U-turn, we now turn our dirt-splattered rear-end on Mousehole and head back through Newlyn towards Penzance (which we find a little difficult to see clearly, through eyes watering at the cost of refuelling with diesel again.) A pleasing promenade drive fails to distract us as we now have St Michael’s Mount (another bucket-list ambition) in our sights. 

Standing proud, spectacular and silhouetted in lowering autumn sunlight, this ancient, rugged castle; family home and National Trust garden all set on a tiny tidal island accessed at low tide over a granite causeway (or ferry at high tide) was sadly and disappointingly closed, as we discovered from an amenable car-park warden as we heaved to in the first car-park to offer respite from the slightly unnerving traffic-controlling chicanery of the main approach road through Marazion.

“The Mount’s closed due to the weather and tides” we’re told through our hopefully opened window. “And it’s been like that for the last five days” he adds resignedly. “Not even sure it’ll be any better tomorrow – but if you’re going to park up, you’ll need the other car-park. You should be alright in there” he concludes, casting an appraising eye along our full 5.5m length. “Yeah, should be, just about.”

So we trundle ourselves into the adjacent car-park, where Terms and Conditions yet again specify a maximum length of – you guessed it – 5.5m. Made anxious by our ticketed experience at Sennen Cove and aware that, with the rear cycle-rack in use, we were technically a tad over 5.5m – we wander bemusedly on foot in search of directional signs for an overflow car-park where we’re also advised we can park, having paid the requisite fee based on our pre-anticipated duration-of-stay, thank-you-kindly. 

This turns out to be a field on the opposite side of the road to the sea, where we come to rest long enough to get the kettle on, at the same time realising we no longer even have a view of the now unattainable St Micheal’s Mount. Hey ho! As recompense, out come the deckchairs as we again risk prosecution and possible incarceration by test-flying a newly acquired birthday-gifted drone, in deliberate contravention of yet more Terms and Conditions, Item 14, sub-clause 3.1, paragraph 2.

Experienced Knumpties will already be well aware that motorhome overnight stops are often available from a network of pubs, which offer safe haven at no charge in exchange for custom. Without any formulated onward plan, our research rinses a dose of ragged 3G internet and we get sequentially turned down by several hostelries, all of which were obviously well- entrenched in the Construction season. One friendly voice in the crackling wilderness offers us a spot in their car-park, some way inland but at least in our preferred direction, so we wave a mixed-feeling farewell to the Mount of St Michael, and head inland to see what befalls us at The Engine Inn in the slightly-unnervingly named village of Cripplesease. Wish us luck.

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