We’re halfway through Day 3 of my excursion.
Leaving Carn Brea, I still had a packed day of travel. My next stop was St. Mawnan near Falmouth, the site of the infamous Owlman sightings. U. S. readers might connect this cryptid with Mothman. This is inaccurate, as the Owlman story has magical ceremonies and sea monsters and naked witches, and is almost certainly a hoax concocted by one person. Anyway, here’s the church itself:
The Owlman – and the associated sea monster, Morgawr – had been supposedly sighted past the church, down the steep hillside that led to the rocky cliffs above the bay. I decided to take a quick walk and take a look. In case anyone is curious, here’s the terrain in question.
I did not take a picture of the church organist, who was quite insistent that I leave his unmarked parking spot so he could take part in an upcoming wedding rehearsal.
I love fogous, the underground stone passages dating back thousands of years. Only a few survive in Cornwall. I tried to find the Piskie’s Fogou, with its links to fairy lore, but I had no luck in finding any parking nearby. I had better luck trying to track down Halligye, which is on a National Trust estate. It’s closed in the off season for bat hibernation, but in the summer it’s easily accessed – once you find it.
This is an interior shot. The passage is really quite long and muddy – I recommend both shoes and pants you don’t care about, if you want to get the full experience.
My final scheduled stop for the day was Pengersick Castle in Praa Sands. I’d go into the legend about this place, but it’s way too long. Suffice to say, it’s got a wizard and a magic sword and pirates and mermaids and phantom hares and a woman who turns into a snake. It’s a private residence, so I contented myself with a photo from the road.
Where to now? I had sworn to avoid West Penwith – the very tip of Cornwall – this trip, as I always go to West Penwith, but I still had daylight left. I chose two sites. The first was the holy well at Madron, where people traditionally tied clouties to nearby trees to cure them of their ills.
Finally, I tracked down back roads, risking life and limb to uncover the stones at Mên-an-Tol. I finally found the site and hiked down an overgrown farmer’s track to find it, only to find the monolithic site to be hosting a father-and-son Nerf gun battle. They departed soon, and I had a few minutes alone with the stones.
It was getting late, so I drove quickly through the witch-haunted hills, past mermaid-sheltering Zennor and the cottage where Crowley supposedly drove someone mad but probably didn’t, and made it back to Truro in time to drop off the car and catch the train back to St. Austell.
I had a small excursion to a holy well the following morning – but I think I’m going to leave this right here. Cornwall is a fun place to visit, and I’m already thinking about where I want to go the next time.