Kings, Castles and Wizards

One grey and misty day, long, long ago – at least three months ago – I convinced himself that we should revisit Tintagel Castle, the site of the legend of King Arthur. Since our first visit ten years ago it has lived on in my over-active imagination as a land of mystery and magic.

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur
King Arthur reincarnated in shorts and trainers

Centuries before King Arthur was a twinkle in a movie producer’s eye a tale emerged through Celtic lore and French medieval poetry of the adulterous love of a knight and a princess.

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur
Himself striding off into the Dark Ages in search of his princess

On a windswept strategic promontory with a history dating back 1700 years to the dark ages I felt the presence of King Arthur – a myth that has been perpetuated for 900 years.

The castle once stretched over a narrow isthmus of land but  wild Atlantic weather has swept the isthmus away leaving half of the castle isolated on a jagged island. All that is left of the castle are foundation stones outlining rooms but enough to lure a stream of tourists since the end of the 1600’s. And me. Twice now. The guide book will direct to you to Merlin’s Cave and Excalibur rests in the lake not far from the cafe and the ticket booth.

As I stood on the windy promontory,  taking in lungfuls of salty Atlantic air, legs astride, arms akimbo I could see the Knights at the Round Table. I could hear Guinevere. I could picture myself holding Excalibur aloft, the plastic replicas on sale in town firing my imagination. I felt touched by the presence of King Arthur.

Himself would tell you that I am just touched.

Do you believe in the legend of King Arthur?

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur's Castle
After all those steps we faced this walk back to town and the car. The mainland courtyards are visible in the top right of the picture below the white buildings. The Camelot Castle Hotel, top left, is unfortunately not where we stayed.

45 thoughts on “Kings, Castles and Wizards

    1. I had calves of steel by the end of the day. I rushed all over the site taking pics and trying to absorb the legend. I had to recover in the pub. But you would expect that wouldn’t you?

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      1. I didn’t want to say it, but yes….I did think, ‘I wonder how far she had to go to the pub afterward.’ Then, of course, I bettered that and thought…’Oh, silly me. Of course she took a flask!’

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  1. I think I might have visited once since childhood… And apropos your comment about Arthur, I recently came across this quote “spaces cling to their pasts”…. I am sure you will agree 😀

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  2. Oh yes, I believe the legend of Camelot! I guess you didn’t find Merlin though – he really intrigues me. Looks like quite the hike to get there – that must cut down a bit on the visitors.

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  3. How strange…….I’ve been meaning to do a post about Tintagel, ever since our visit almost two years ago. It has such an amazing aura about it, almost as though it’s haunted by the ghosts of its past. Of course I believe in the legend of King Arthur! 🙂

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  4. Tell himself to go suck a lemon. I often feel that same spiritualness when visiting the petroglyph sites, so there. (Our family was probably with the king’s entourage!)

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  5. Oh yes I love folklore. The British Isles abound with it 😀

    Of course you do know that Arthur is also associated with Shropshire don’t you? And whilst not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm for this site, these ruins are of a castle built in the 13th century so nothing to do with Arthur whatsoever. Just saying…

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    1. The hugely wealthy Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built the 13th century castle as a result of the legend, not for it’s strategic importance. None of the original castle remains, much of it having fallen into the sea. But we’ll keep that a secret. Arthur’s spirit is still there.

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  6. Yes I believe and how exciting that you shared this… More than an experience, it is like living a fairy tale. Thank you so much.

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