On a rather cold and dreary day I am looking back to sunnier times and a visit to England this past May.
We couldn't have been luckier as we arrived in Marazion, Cornwall, at 1:30pm. The sign in the car park said low tide 2:30pm. That is when the causeway to St Michael's Mount would be revealed. When I told the attendant we would come back after lunch he told us we could park free on the left side if we had lunch at the Godolphin Arms. There has been a pub on this spot for over 200 years but a recent renovations revealed wall to wall glass windows in their upper dining room with a perfect view of the Mount. We could watch as we ate our lunch and as the tide receded.
Some hardy souls couldn't wait to cross. We just bided our time until the water had fully receded.
You might have thought you were in France from the large groups of French speaking children just returning across the causeway from their visit.( They must have gone over earlier by boat) St Michael's Mount has strong associations with Mont Saint Michel in France. The church on the mount was built after the Norman invasion and was the site of a Benedictine Monastery. Owned by the St Aubyn family thirty people make the mount their home.
This grouping of sub tropical plants was just a taste of what was to come. We decided to make the most of the warm, early afternoon sun and visit the gardens before going into the castle.
The area benefits by being on the Eastern edge of the Gulf Stream. Winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing and are more like those of the coastal Mediterranean towns of Benidorm and Nice. In summer, however the waters keep the island cooler. We began the climb towards the rock terraces which face the ocean.
Ragged robin was everywhere. A flower I remember as a child.
Banks of Delospermia. I think this is the one with the tiny flowers which I have great difficulty growing.
The castle is built into the granite cliff and the rock gardens, created by the St Aubyon family, switchback across the lower reaches of the cliffs.
A stunning combination of grasses and aeoniums.
May and June are the best times to view the flowers and here we were in mid May. We were surprised by how few people joined us on the sometimes steep and narrow climb.
We made our way back and up the well worn steps towards the castle entrance.
Looking back towards the causeway and village of Marazion.
In what was once the refectory is a plaster frieze of hunting scenes depicting the Ballad Of Chevy Chase.
The 15C Lantern Cross, the four sides depicting, the cruxifiction, the Virgin child, a king, possibly Edward the confessor, and a priest of monk. The pinnacles were added at a later date (1827)
Splendid views from the battlements and tiny windows. That was quite a climb.
St Michaels' Mount is cared for by the National Trust and visiting times can be seen on their website.
Our Royal Oak Foundation membership allowed us to visit free of charge.