Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 536,000.The administrative centre, and only city in Cornwall, is Truro. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the south-west peninsula of the island of Great Britain.
I stayed in the town of Looe, with my lovely Ascension Meditation teacher. I also attended a Meditation gathering in the village of Seaton on the English Channel. I spent a day traveling by train, smiling out the window at the many spring lambs, and then was driven around the southwest tip of Cornwall by an acquaintance of a new friend in Northern Ireland. I visited the towns of Penzance, St. Ives and St. Just. Cornwall is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its attractive villages, its many names derived from the Cornish language, which I can’t pronounce, and its very mild climate.
Historically tin mining was important. In the mid-19th century, however, the tin and copper mines entered a period of decline, and metal mining had virtually ended by the 1990s. Traditionally, fishing and agriculture (notably dairy products and vegetables) were the other important sectors of the economy. Railways led to a growth of tourism in the 20th century; however, Cornwall’s economy struggled after the decline of the mining and fishing industries. Tourism is estimated to contribute up to 24% of Cornwall’s gross domestic product, with an annual average of 5 million visitors, mostly from the UK. The older buildings of the coast are constructed of the granite of this rocky, craggy area. Another industry is clay for pottery.
The delightful fishing port of Looe on the River Looe. Photos of day and the lights at night.
The tiny village of Seaton is on the English Channel, where I dedicated my meditation to a dear friend, who lived in Oregon and passed that very day. When I heard the next day, I felt that I had been with her through my meditation and, although grieving, am at peace. I was relieved to be at the home of my meditation teacher and not alone.
THE CORNISH RIVERA
This tourist town is on the Atlantic Ocean. The ancient market town of Penzance is the Capital of the far west of Cornwall and is set in beautiful Mounts Bay – a body of water dominated by the grandeur of St. Michael’s Mount, which I wasn’t able to visit because it is definitely off tourist season, and it was closed. Also Sunday is not a good day to travel in Cornwall. The tiny train from Looe to Liskeard, where I would take the train to Penzance, was not running. I had to take expensive taxis between the two towns. I miss the tuk tuks of Asia!
With a population of approximately 20,000, Penzance is both a market town and a popular tourist destination, and features an attractive promenade on the sea front.
It’s another tourist town, known for its golden beaches.
A nice village, where we ate lunch on our way back to the train at Penzance. Unfortunately it was English Mother’s Day, and I ended up eating fish and chips at an unpopular restaurant. Here are photos of the coast of the Atlantic and the granite outcroppings and buildings.
Cornwall has a strong culinary heritage, with fresh seafood readily available. One famous local fish dish is Stargazy pie, a fish-based pie in which the heads of the fish stick through the piecrust, as though “star-gazing”. The pie is cooked as part of traditional celebrations for a holiday known as Tom Bawcock’s Eve, but is not generally eaten at any other time. I was not tempted to seek it out.
Cornwall is perhaps best known for its pasties (pass-tees), a dish made with pastry. Today’s pasties usually contain a filling of beef steak, onion, potato and swede/turnips /rutabagas, with salt and white pepper. The wet climate and relatively poor soil of Cornwall make it unsuitable for growing many arable crops. However, it is ideal for growing the rich grass required for dairying, leading to the production of Cornwall’s famous clotted cream. This forms the basis for many local specialities including Cornish fudge and Cornish ice cream. See photos below of me enjoying a Cornish Cream Tea in Looe with Chandrama, my Meditation teacher. There are also many types of beers brewed in Cornwall.
KEVERAL ORGANIC FARM COMMUNITY
This is a communal organic farm, of 30 acres, overlooking the village of Seaton and established in 1973.
Although in a beautiful setting, it is definitely a hard life, and none of the original members are still living there, although I saw the graves of two. The members mostly have outside jobs and are not as committed to each other as other communities that I have visited, and they rarely eat together. The member who took me on a muddy tour from one end of the farm to the other did not know much about the vegetables, greenhouses or chickens. However everyone was warm and friendly, offered me rides roundtrip from Looe, and I bought three delicious bottles of their homemade apple juice, from their marvelous Cornish apples.
North to Bristol, England, my next stop…..