LEJOG Virtual Challenge: Mousehole to St. Michael’s Mount

Had one been a bit off in the head and doing this journey in the winter, one should try to find themselves in Mousehole by December 23 to celebrate Tom Bawcock’s Eve. Legend says that in the 16th century, Tom, a local villager braved a nasty storm to go fishing in order to save the village from famine. He not only survived the storm but came back with seven kinds of fish. His exploits were made into a children’s book called the Mousehole Cat and inspired a dish that leads us to the Ship Inn’s other claim to fame, Stargazy pie. Made only at this time of year, this pie has sardine heads sticking as if they were gazing at the night sky.

Looks…well I’m not sure if appetizing is the word I’m going for. Top photo: Stargazy Pie Wikimedia CC BY 2.0. Bottom Photo: Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber.

Our walk would continue along the South West Coast Path for seven miles. The walk looks to be a much less rugged as we’d be in more populated areas now. Three miles up we’d start to enter the town of Penzance. Yes, the one of operatic pirate fame. If we’ve worked off our full English breakast ( I personally like the blood sausage) and are feeling a bit peckish, we could stop in Penzance for a spot of tea at the quirky Barbicon Tea Room near the Harbor…or if you are like me and like to find the oldest pubs in the area, head to the Turk’s Head which dates back to 1233 when the Turks invaded Penzance during the crusades. It also goes without saying, a popular spot for pirates and smugglers as well. Hmmm…the Cornish Seafood Pie (sans heads) does sound good.

Poster from an 1880 Theater performance. Library of Congress

We’d now find our way back to the path and continue on to explore St. Michael’s Mount, which is the 3rd postcard from my virtual challenge. St. Michael’s Mount is a rocky island on which a medieval castle and church sits atop. The castle is still inhabited by members of the St. Aubyn family who have owned the island since the 1600s. Surrounding the castle is a small village and harbor that was once home to 300 residents but is now home to thirty that live and work on the island. To reach it, you can walk across the causeway when the tide is out. There are plenty of myths and legends that swirl around the island from mermaids to giants. You may have heard of Jack the Giant Killer. St. Michael’s Mount also plays a prominent role in the recently published The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss. It’s the third in a trilogy and if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Carmilla and other classic horror tales, you’ll like this humorous feminist spin on these classics.

That had to hurt.

This would now be the end our two full days of walking the South Coast Path. I think my choice of lodging tonight would be The Mount View Hotel. It looks cute and has a pub. I should also mention that Cornwall is the setting for the TV show, Poldark, and there is a whole cottage industry that has sprung up around it. Poldark Gin anyone?

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