17 May – The industrial revolution and Cornish bogs

We had a sunny sky over head, a calm blue sea to our right, and seemingly endless rocky headlands to be walked up and over. The scenery was a bit different again today with many gentle slopes strewn with fantastical white or grey granite outcrops. There were a few tricky boggy bits to negotiate as well.

English bogs are special places. They have been written about in fictions and have figured in history. These ones had been well visited by cows and we all know what cows do a lot of besides eat grass. They like to create really stinky quagmires out of otherwise quite innocuous bits of bog. To be fair, people have done a great deal of work to create stepping stones through some of the mire, but there remained plenty of opportunity for a slip and plunge. We crossed several sections of deep bog, our trekking poles sinking endlessly into the bottomless slime and wet. Then oops – Pat tested a grassy hillock, thinking it was terra firma, she put her weight on it. And down went her foot, into the truly gross muck! Thankfully that is the only part of Pat that disappeared into the nastiness. Some remedial clean up was require before we could to carry on.

We enjoyed a second lunch break at the site of an old tin mine then came up over a rise to see before us a mine waste land. It was a bit startling. The heath was gone. The green meadows were gone. There was rough rock, ruined chimneys and mine buildings. We were in the Geevor Tin Mine which only closed as a functional mine in 1990. For the next few kilometres we walked through the desolate landscape of past tin mine operations. As we walked along, we realized that several areas of this beautiful coast would have been desolate industrial waste lands not so long ago. A life expectancy for a tin miner was maximum 40 years. Because of prevailing winds and arsenic, the families of tin miners would not have faired much better. It was sobering to walk through this landscape and to contemplate how this place might have been and what the life of the tin miners might have been like.

We were very glad to finally arrive at our wonderful YHA Land’s End at the end of this day. Don’t be confused. We are at Cape Cornwall, not Land’s End. We have no idea why the hostel has this name but we do know we really like the setting, our private room, with bath tub, the bar and the excellent dinner we’ve just devoured.

Internet only works here in the dining room and I really need to make use of that bath tub. Seriously. So for now good night from near Cape Cornwall.

One thought on “17 May – The industrial revolution and Cornish bogs

  1. I never knew anything about tin mining – thanks for the history lesson. Big history was interesting too !! Sorry about the wet foot! Keep on having fun.

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