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In the castle

Heading to the north coast again we headed to the village and castle of Tintagel. The main focus is on Tintagel Island joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, on a dramatic piece of Cornwell’s coastline which faces the full force of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is a lot of history and folk lore which surrounds Tintagel. From archaeological digs the island has seen a Roman settlement and military outpost and is thought to have been a trading settlement of Celtic Kings during the 5th and 6th centuries.

In folklore it was claimed by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century that the castle at Tintagel Head was where King Uther Pendragon seduced Queen Igraine of Cornwall, while her husband, Gorlois, was under siege elsewhere. King Arthur was thus conceived and later writers made the castle his birthplace.

The remains of the castle seen today were built in 1233 by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwell to establish a connection with the Arthurian legends and where according to Cornish legends the ancient Kings of Cornwall held their court.

Exploring the castle is a really good cardiac workout and not for the faint hearted. There are very very steep steps to one part of the castle and narrow uneven steps to the main part of castle. The land within the castle was uneven but the coastal views from the castle are stunning. How anybody built a castle on the island is hard to believe.

After exploring the castle we headed back to the village which was very busy with tourists and found the Old Village Post Office. The building was originally built as a medieval manor in the 14th century and is a rare example in Cornwall. Penny Postage introduced in 1840 led to post reaching remote villages like Tintagel for the first time. In 1844 a Letter Receiving Office for the district was established in Tintagel with a room rented from the owner of the old manor house. The post office was run in the house until 1892 when the post office moved across the road.

We finished the day by sampling the wares of the local pasty shop.

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