Milky Way Over St. Michael’s Mount

Are there some places you would like to go to or things you would like to do, but haven’t because you want to do them with another adventurous person? One such experience I tried this summer was getting a photo of the Milky Way over St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England.

St. Michael’s Mount at low tide.

St. Michael’s Mount is an island that can be reached at low tide by foot. There is a castle and medieval church on the island. The site is maintained by the National Trust. During the day time, one can walk over and see some of the rooms inside the castle. At high tide there are boats that can ferry you across. The St. Aubyn family live in the castle.

Tour

I would never never attempted to do this alone, even if I had stayed in Marazion, the Cornish town on the other side of the causeway. Instead I completed a day tour with Photograph West Cornwall. Ken Whalley took me to scenic spots on the Cornish coast by day, then later at night we attempted to get these shots at St. Michael’s Mount. Ken is a outstanding landscape photographer who leads tours in Cornwall in villages south of Port Isaac. He is knowledgeable about the time tables for tides, events in the sky, and weather. He informed me long before I arrived this may be a possibility if the sky cooperated. The added bonus was Ken and his wife treated me like an old friend.

If you are interested in seeing Cornwall south of Port Isaac through the eyes of a landscape photographer, book a tour with Ken Whalley and Photograph West Cornwall.

For more information look here: http://photographwestcornwall.com

To see some of his work, this is the Facebook page for his business: https://www.facebook.com/Photographwestcornwall/?eid=ARDnpqg1FH1Z_9FJl7n9hpMLWiY1rwqqq6cJbdlM_GAms6Yy_R9fC8WNOgHeg07My1ngT6Tow8kFVluQ&timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=100004050793544&fref=tag

York City Wall

What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.

In some sections one side does not have a railing. I believe this was from the area of the train station looking towards York Minster.
One view of York Minster from the wall with also some lovely back garden views.

York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.

History

The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.

Another view of York Minster from the wall
A sentry on the wall
The wall is just too narrow in many spots, so dogs are not allowed.
Visiting

It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.

If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.

One of the gates through the wall into the old section of York.

Wayside Cross

Wayside (edge of road) crosses are one type of Christian Cross that could be erected in Medieval times (5th-15th century). What do you think was its purpose?

Locations

In England there are over 350 wayside crosses. They are mostly found in Southwest England in Cornwall and on Dartmor. They can also be found on the North Yorkshire Moors. Very few are found elsewhere. Other forms of Wayside crosses can be found in other European countries such as Germany and Ireland.

Function

One function of a wayside cross was to reinforce the Christian faith amongst those who traveled past the cross. It was meant to reassure the traveler. In addition, they were way markers. They helped mark the areas that were generally unmarked routes.

Boskenna Cross

This wayside cross is at the junction of B 3315 and Rectory Rd in Cornwall. It is near the Merry Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England. The head of the Boskenna Cross is circular. On one side of the head is a cross. On the opposite side is a figure of Christ with his arms up stretched and his feet pointing outwards. Some other wayside markers in Cornwall are said to have rounded heads with a cross on one side and different carvings on the other side.

This side faces someone property. It has a cross clearly visible on it.
This is the side facing the road. It is said to have a carving of Jesus on it with his arms outstretched. If you able able to see it in person you can barely make it out.

Wayside crosses are unique to Europe and the type found in Cornwall seems to be unique to Cornwall. If you visit Cornwall, see if you can spot one of these ancient monuments that has stood the test of time.

Pub Signs-The Bucket of Blood

The Bucket of Blood Pub in the Hayle area of Cornwall.

Which pub in Cornwall most likely has a name that is not duplicated with any other pub in England? The Bucket of Blood is very unique. It is a pub in Hayle that is said to be haunted and there is an interesting story behind it.

It is said an inn has been on that site for hundreds of years. It had a well from which they drew water for the inn and to brew the beer, a dark ale. Cornwall has been known for its miners, sailors, fishermen and smugglers.

The story is the innkeeper went to draw water, but instead drew blood. Upon search of the well a corpse was found. It is said the identity was unknown.

They say at night footsteps can be heard on creaking floorboards. There have been reports of people seeing ghostly figures crossing the road and then disappearing.

They say during the reign of King George III the name of the Bucket of Blood was changed to the New Inn. That lasted for about 250 years. In the 1980s the owner changed the name back to its original name- the Bucket of Blood.

I asked locals where the well was. They pointed me out to a well across the street and around the corner. However, a person who worked at the pub said there is no longer access to it. It is under what is now the ladies restroom/loo.

This inn serves nice meals. They do not serve puddings/desserts. If you are in the Hayle area make a stop at the Bucket of Blood. Its worth the trip. Ghost sightings are not guaranteed.

The Green Man

It resembles a man, but is surrounded by leaves or other plant life. It may have branches or vines protruding from its mouth or nose. It is seen on different pub signs and as grotesques on buildings or churches. What is it? It is the Green Man.

Oxford University- More of a man.

Although it can be seen in other cultures, the Green Man can be spotted around England. There are at least three Green Man Pubs in London and more are elsewhere. Several colleges at Oxford have the symbol on a door or as a grotesque on the side of a building. Churches and cathedrals in different counties have the Green Man decorating their edifice.

More a plant- Oxford

Although the true meaning may be unknown, there are many theories about it. Some see the Green Man as a symbol of rebirth or growth in spring. Others see it as a symbol of man’s reliance on nature. Another theory is it is a reminder that death awaits us all. One Christian interpretation is that the foliage coming from the mouth represents the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Other ideas about the meaning exist as well.

Magdalen College Oxford

Whatever their meaning or purpose, they are interesting to find. Look them up on the web and see where some of them are located. This site lists some locations: click here. If you are planning a trip to one of these areas, stop in and find one.

Dorset Road Signs

I have seen sign posts in England at road junctions in different counties that mark the way to go as you are driving. Many consist of fingerposts to show the direction to different points of interest or villages. In the county of Dorset, they have some that are more unique to that county. They have road signs topped with finials.

This is a finial without the cross bar. It is just a circle. In this case the top of the circle represents the Dorset County Council. The signs beneath points the direction of different villages or locations. According to the fingerpost pointing left, Dorchester is seven miles away.

The final is unique in appearance. Many are shaped like a London underground sign. While others are circular in shape. On the top part of the circle (on ones shaped like an underground sign) lists the county, Dorset, in case you are not sure. The bottom of the circle lists the grid reference. If it has a rectangular shape in the middle like a London Underground sign, it tells you the specific location of the sign.

The finial on top of this road sign is one shaped similar to the London Underground signs.
This road sign’s finial states its location as Black Down.
History

According to Colin and Susy Varndell, authors of The Natural Beauty of Dorset, many of these fingerpost road signs were removed in 1940. The government decided that these signs could aid the enemy if they invaded. Many of the signs were sent for scrap with the finials. Councils are replacing these signs and adding finals back on the top with help of individuals, parishes, companies, or groups.

A fingerpost on this sign directs you to a point of interest, the Hardy Monument.

While other counties may have a few of these, they seem to be more common in Dorset. When in Dorset, England see how many finials you can find when on your travels. It is something that makes Dorset unique.

This one is at a crossroads in the village of Briantspuddle, Dorset.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

What is one dessert that you can associate with England? What dessert is found at many restaurants and pubs in England year round? One could say the answer to both of these questions is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

This is the Sticky Toffee Pudding they serve at the Cock and Bull, a British pub on 45th Street in New York City. This dessert includes chunks of hard almond toffee brittle on the side and a light cream on top. Although I love all the ones I tried in this post and my friends loved all the ones they tried, this is my personal favorite.
History

Although this dessert is associated with England it actually had its roots in Canada. The story behind it is during World War II two Canadian Air Force officers passed a recipe for sticky toffee pudding to a hotelier in Lancashire. The recipe was tweaked and the rest is history. It caught on in England and became popular. Many restaurants and pubs carry it.

This is from the Hole in the Wall pub in York, England.

It is a very rich, delicious dessert. Many people list this as their favorite. A few of my friends said they wanted to tour England and try the sticky toffee pudding at various pubs and restaurants along the way. They would call their tour the Sticky Toffee Pudding Tour.

This is from The Shakespeare, a high end pub on 39th Street in Manhattan, NYC. It came with ice cream.
Ingredients

What is it made of? It usually consists of date sponge cake drizzled in toffee sauce. Some people enjoy it with cream, while others enjoy it with ice cream. Some restaurants and pubs give you the option of accompanying it with cream, ice cream or whipped cream. It is rich and delicious.

Sticky Toffee Pudding at the Lillie Langtry in London

There are other options if you plan to make this at home. There are recipes for gluten-free versions online through different culinary websites. There are also websites carrying vegan recipes for this dessert.

This is the Sticky Toffee Pudding at the White Horse in Oxford, England. This was a personal favorite of a friend who joined me on my trip to Great Britain.

This is so popular that British pubs in the United States often have it as a regular item on their menus. The Shakespeare and the Cock and the Bull in Manhattan include it on their menu. Look up a recipe online or stop in to a British pub or restaurant. You will be happy you did.