A small coastal town
in north-west Cornwall
. Its claim to fame is that it is allegedly the birth place of King Arthur
, and its flourishing tourist industry capitalises on this with a heavy hand. Tintagel also has a certain antique charm, with many lovely old cottage
s still lining the main street - unfortunately housing Ye Olde
Cookie Shoppes and the like, however. My husband put it most succinctly when he described Tintagel as the place where the New Age
weirdoes who can't afford the rent in Glastonbury
The real glory of the village is the medieval castle, hanging precariously off the edge of steep volcanic cliffs. Enough of the original castle survives to give a sense of what a formidable fortification it once was, but even without it Tintagel Rock is a fortress. A steep ragged promontory, cut off from land in high tide, and flanked by rocky coves, juts out aggressively over the surrounding scenery to create the heart of what used to be the old keep. The view is breathtaking, especially on a sunny day: brilliant blue sea, dazzling green hills, pale azure sky and stark black granite. With nary a view of human habitation from the keep, the sight is striking enough to be other worldly.
One can climb to the very top of the keep with its ever-fresh well (still full of water today), the main factor in what made the fortification and defence of this otherwise barren location possible in the first place. It's also possible descend into the bottom of the cove, where a waterfall caresses a rocky beach, and take a plunge into the cold briny sea. Having had these experiences it is easy to understand why Tintagel was singled out as the birth place of a great mythical hero - there's definitely something highly spiritual about the place, even if it is only its intoxicating natural beauty.