Winter Fun Exploring St Michael’s Mount and Mount’s Bay
We recently spent a few days down in Longrock in Mount’s Bay where we were treated to a spell of warm winter sunshine. Sometimes in January it can be blowing a South Westerly gale with torrential rain but the lovely settled weather meant that we were able to fulfill a long standing ambition to get around St Michael’s Mount. We picked a perfect day with some strong warmth in the sun – it was in mid January and we were almost too hot in our wetsuits as we paddled around the island! The flotilla we had probably looked a little hotchpotch being a medley of stand up paddle boards and kayaks. It served us well though and we finally got to see St Michael’s Mount from the seaward view which turned out to be magnificent.
A Castle Fit For Game Of Thrones
When we got around to the seldom seen reverse angle of St Michael’s Mount we were all blown away by how dramatic the scene looked. In the glorious blue skies and stark winter sun the island’s castle looked like something straight from Kings Landing or perhaps the Iron Islands, in Game Of Thrones! The photos we managed to capture with our GO Pro don’t do it justice by half as it looked huge when we were paddling past but they help to give an idea of how unique the back door view of the Mount is. There was something very organic about the way this giant man-made structure managed to blend in with the rocks of the island and it was only on closer viewing that you picked out the intricate detail in the stonework. Obviously crafted in an era when such skill with stone was more commonplace, the building is also a testament to the power of building with local materials. Such an approach makes even the largest dwelling look at home amidst its wild and natural surroundings. As you may be able to tell, we were very taken with the magic of the Mount that day!
Winter Picnic With A View
We rounded our little circumnavigation adventure off by rafting up so that we could have our sandwiches with a spectacular view of St Michael’s Mount. Up close the island’s harbour is substantial and has obviously been tucked into the leeward side of things to give the the best chance of protection. Those South West gales I mentioned earlier can be pretty mean. It was hard to imagine on a still peaceful day like ours that the island must bear the brunt of some massive storm waves at times. As it was, our lunch was serene and tasted all the better after a good bit of paddling to get around the island.
No Stepping Ashore On This Occasion
The Island was closed to visitors while we were there as they were doing their maintenance work during the off-season. Normally it is accessible for the public to explore both the castle and gardens with access via an atmospheric causeway at low tide or a water bus when the tide cuts the island off. The island is steeped in a colourful history of monastic origins and settled community life, interspersed with power struggles and bloody battles throughout the ages. St Michael’s Mount is definitely one of the most iconic buildings to visit in the whole of Cornwall if you ever get the chance.
Mount’s Bay Views From The Air
While we were staying in Longrock we also had the opportunity to see the whole of Mount’s bay and St Michael’s Mount from the air. One of our crew was trying out their new aerial camera and the results were quite special. Seeing a place you’ve seen so many times from the land from such a different angle was almost as exciting as our paddle around to the Game Of Thrones side of St Michaels Mount earlier in the trip! Here’s a short video of St Michael’s Mount from above:
Some Of The Other Local Highlights
During our stay we also took the chance for an evening out in Penzance where we tried the Waterside Meadery who kindly fitted us in at short notice on a busy evening. The Ancient drink of mead was happily sipped, as a good feast was tucked into, before we headed on. There was no way we were going to miss out on a chance for a drink at The Admiral Benbow while we were in the area. This has to be one of the most quirky and atmospheric pubs in Cornwall. If you’ve got any appreciation for Britain’s seafaring tradition this is the pub for you. Even if you don’t, you’ll be fascinated by all the random shipping paraphernalia on show there. Add to that the pub’s history as the setting for Treasure Island and you’ve got yourself a very memorable place for a pint!
Cornish Mini-Breaks Win The Day
This trip made for a cracking few days away and highlighted how little distance you have to travel to feel like you’re on your holidays. We couldn’t recommend Sea View House highly enough if you’re ever thinking of visiting the area yourself. Epic views over the bay in comfy modern surroundings made for the perfect setting to relax and unwind in. We came back from our trip feeling well rested, a little bit proud of our circumnavigation and ready for soap making action! We even started coming up with the blueprints for a new soap flavour, more news to come on that one a little further down the line. Nothing like a bit of time by the sea to help you feel inspired.
If you enjoyed this adventure you might like to check out our post on The River Camel’s journey past Wadebridge, Rock and Padstow…