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At one point, while camping near the pretty peak of Lanín in Argentina I think it was, I harboured vague aspirations to climb up high stuff. Since then I have had three hip surgeries, and live with the  lingering pain of hip impingement syndrome, so it’s a very good thing for me that the peaks of West Penwith are measured in hundreds rather than thousands of metres – and take on average 10 minutes to climb. Ideal for those with motivation impingement syndrome too!

Herewith, documentation of my first 2012 peak of Penwith: the Iron Age fortification of Chun Castle, atop a bloody great hill near Pendeen. It’s a bit rubbly now, as you might fairly expect after 2,400 years, but the circular hillfort and its granite gates are still perfectly clear and impressive. No longer needed for spying approaching enemies perhaps but for me a useful vantage point from which to decide on my favourite remote Penwith property…

Click for more pics: Read the rest of this entry »

men an tol penwith cornwallmen an tol cornwall penwith

Sunday was a surreally calm and sunny winter’s day in west Cornwall, so ideal for my first outing to Men-an-Tol – the iconic stone monument half a mile off the drop-dead-gorgeous Madron to Morvah road.

In the presqu’île of West Penwith, we tend to all get a bit blase about prehistoric sites – they are everywhere, in the shape of quoits, remains of Iron Age villages, standing stones and stone circles. Save for a few – like Chycauster village, which is National Heritage – they form a natural, integral part of the landscape. There’s no entrance fee or brochure or fence and sometimes not even a sign, which is just the way I like them!

Among these granite antiquities, Men an Tol is unique for its polo-like circular form with a hole in the middle (beloved of many an artist, including Barbara Hepworth, as James Fox was telling us in his recent docu).

Historians don’t seem to have an especially firm grip Read the rest of this entry »

penwith chest of drawers

I’m more of a mid-century-classic kind of girl when it comes to furniture fantasies, but this chest of drawers sculpted from oak caught my eye the other day for its strong sense of place (my favourite place as it happens!).

It’s entitled the ‘Penwith Chest of Drawers’, priced at a mere £6,000, and is shaped like the many ancient granite monuments that dot the moors around Penwith. I have to admit that I would prefer it without the black stripe across the drawers (achieved by using dark bog oak – and designed, I would imagine, to reflect the moodiness of the moors), but I really like the prehistoric shape. It’s sold at Handmade Designer Furniture, a site featuring mainly Cornish designers.

Click here for some pics (also quite moody!) of the granite moors from my blog post about Trencrom Hill.

Trencrom Hill Fort is one of the highest hills in the westernmost Cornish district of Penwith – and I was looking forward to finally conquering this great peak. Ten minutes after parking the car, I had.

The ascent was a little tamer than expected but it was none the less epic at the summit. The views from these granite stacks are incredible – from sand-trimmed St Ives Bay to the north to Mount’s Bay in the south, and the ancient field patterns stretching west across the moors towards Land’s End.

In my Trencrom expedition team were some visiting friends, one of whom enquired about the age of this historic site. I usefully stated it was ‘really bloody old’. Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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