The Witches of Boscastle

After another awesome nights sleep we started the day with a full cooked English breakfast and American pancakes.

It was raining as he headed south. We’d been recommended to take a look at Hartland so took a ride out to the point. It was a nice enough little town and by the time we of out to the point it was blowing a gale, the fog had rolled in so our promise of stunning views were not to be seen. As we rode back towards town we saw St Nectans Church towering over the surrounding area.< The church was named after a Celtic monk . After helping a local farmer find his lost pigs he was given two cows as a gift. The locals stole his cattle and after he reclaimed them, he tried to convert the thieves, but they cut his head off. Great neighbours around here. Legend has it wherever his blood spilt foxglove flowers grew. He soon had a cult following and a church was built in his honour. The current church dates from the 1300's, replacing an older church. The massive square tower dominates the countryside, for centuries a landmark for sailors and giving the church the nickname of St Nectans Cathedral. During the reformation his statue at the church had its head removed by the Covenanters, a bit like when he was alive really. His head was replaced years later with one found at an antique shop. Inside the church is a beautifully carved rood screen, a font from the original church and stained glass windows tracing the history of the Parish.. The ride along the coast was quite nice with woodlands giving way to green fields surrounded by high  hedges. A tractor was out trimming the hedges along the road and it's just another thing to watch out for on country lanes at this time of year. The coast near Widemouth Bay was quite stunning. We rode up the steep one lane road to the top of the headland to get a decent view and stopped for a chat for a while. He gave us a heads up about the road south, dangerous hairpin bends, one lane road and extremely steep. Good things to know. He wasn't wrong, the road down was extremely steep and straight into a blind hairpin. Coming up the other side wasn't any better either and we were lucky to be over the next crest of a hill before we saw another vehicle. We saw a sign to Boscastle  Museum of Witchcraft and thought that may be interesting. Boscastle straddles a small river and is close to the river mouth. There's a mill, a youth hostel, a few pubs, an ice creamery, the museum of witchcraft but there's also some walks along the rugged coastline which look good. After our first Pastie (Oggie) in Cornwall at the Web Inn we headed to the museum.  It's hard to say what we were expecting in the museum but either way we weren't disappointed. There were displays of witchcraft in popular culture ie,  cartoons, advertisement, movies, figurines while the sounds of chanting drifted through the speakers. Also displayed were some of the devices used to torture people accused of witchcraft. There were memorials including the names of those people tortured and put to death in the cruellest fashion. Jealously, greed, revenge, superstition, mental illness  were all reasons for accusation of witchcraft, with the only way to prove your innocence was to die. There were even a few photos of local Cornish people who in the 1800's through to the 1900's  were said to have special powers. There were a number of personal collections of objects used over the years, crystal balls, mummified skulls, poppets. Also some fascinating displays of Celtic and Nordic gods, the traditions, customs and how some of the indigenous British beliefs were Christianised. There were displays on Satanists and Luciferians and how they differ from Wiccans. Also displays of the Wiccan Horned God, Mother Goddess, protective charms, mandrakes, famous witches, priests and priestesses. There were even divining rods used to search for underground water (which I never related to witchcraft). It was a fascinating museum with so many bits and pieces and well worth a visit. We had a walk around town, along the river to the sea enjoying the rugged beauty of the place before retracing our steps to the ice creamery for a Honey and Lavender Icecream which I didn't know whether to eat it or rub it on my skin. The coastal road took us past Tintagel, the castle made famous by Geoffrey of Monmouth for being the castle of King Arthur. There's not much to see these days as it's just ruins, but the views of the coastline are magnificent. Eventually we returned to theA39 and headed down to Penzance, where we sang the Gilbert and Sullivan song "I am the Pirate King"from the Pirates of Penzance whilst riding through town. It was close to dark by the time we reached St Just following the little moss covered lane way  to the Lands End YHA hostel and disaster struck as we turned into their driveway. Ron took the gate too sharply and stopped at a crazy angle causing me to slide across the seat. He was holding the bike trying to get it back upright but I couldn't climb off and I couldn't climb back over. Eventually he just laid the bike down and we got off. He removed the tank bag and top box before we stood the bike back up again. It took a while to restart, but there was no damage but we ran the bike for a few minutes just in case. He was pretty dirty with himself after concentrating for so long and then having a lapse when we reached our destination. It was pretty quiet in the hostel as we were the only guests. We felt a bit bad making the girl at the hostel cook our meal but we'd preordered it. We did try to cancel but she was keen to cook so we enjoyed a Beef and Guiness Casserole followed by  Apple Crumble and Custard. Tomorrow we finally make it to Lands End. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="5064,5063,5062,5057,5058,5059,5060,5055,5056"]

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