Up at 7.30am for cereal and tea, then on the road at 8.07am. It was raining, cold, cloudy and windy.
We were back on the A30 heading for Penzance. The almost impossibly green fields were studded with black plastic covered hay bales. This modern use of plastic has only started in the last decade or two.
On the way into a town unusually named Indian Queens, we were off the road and on to side streets. This is obviously the last part of the A30 upgrade. It was quite historic really – someone driving on this road in another six-month’s time will not see any of the old road at all.
We passed by a huge wind farm at the Truro turn off. Yes, they are great for the environment but they sure are ugly!
At Camborne we turned south, heading to Lizard Point. We were in the beautiful county of Cornwall. Somewhere around are the Pirates of Penzance, no doubt!
At Helston we passed a major air base – possibly the Navy, HMS Seahawk. There were big helicopters operating, but strangely enough no markings on the map. Could this be for security reasons? Then again, the enemy could just look up Google Earth.
As we approached Lizard Point and the lighthouse the weather started to improve. We were lucky. It was just coming up to 10.00am. It was still cold and windy, but at least it wasn’t raining.
On the way to the lighthouse and the old rescue boat station, we drove down one of the narrowest roads we have ever been on. The photo will clearly show how the wheels were almost touching the sides. There was a notice saying that buses and campervans should not use this road. Then again, we were in an Earthroamer so we knew it was different!
We drove back through the town of Lizard, turned right and headed down to a small bay. We parked beside a beautiful thatched roof house. We then walked down the track to the rescue station, where Dick spoke to the full-time Captain and his two, part-time voluntary crew. It appears they can go out in virtually any weather, however getting back in when the waves are big is a bit harder. They must head the boat around to another bay and wait for the weather to change. We left a donation to assist.
We then walked westwards around the coast past the Lloyds Signal Building – which used a flag semaphore to get information on boats heading back to the UK from overseas – and then to the old Marconi building – which housed the Lizard Wireless Station.
We were soon to find that because we were out of the peak season that just about everything was closed. However, we noticed a car parked beside the building, so we knocked on the door of the Caretaker’s quarters and were welcomed. This was fantastic. The Wireless Station is now run by the National Trust, who also owns much of the land in the area. Rather than the caretaker telling us to get lost, he immediately grabbed the key and let us into the Wireless Station.
It was fascinating. This building was used by Marconi on 23 January 1901 to receive a record breaking wireless communication from the Isle of Wight – a distance of 186 miles.
Marconi did not invent wireless, but he was, without doubt, the person who proved that it could be used for commercial purposes, and that the signals could travel large distances – it wasn’t just a scientific gimmick.
As well as being famous for the first long distance wireless message, this little building was used by the Marconi company in the early days for ship to shore wireless telegraphy, which gave much needed income to the company. It was the first of a group of eight coastal stations. From 1900, for the first time suitably equipped ships at sea were able to communicate with the land using this station (and the seven others). Of course there was a telegraph line connecting the wireless station back to the major cities.
After a pleasant couple of hours at the Lizard, and just as it started to rain again, we headed north and back onto the A30, south west again towards Land’s End. We drove past Penzance, and rather than going into the town we decided to head straight towards Land’s End because the weather was so abominable.
There was a £2 parking fee at the Land’s End area. We jumped out of the vehicle and ran in about a 40 knot wind with rain to buy a Cornish pastry and coffee. The whole of the Land’s End area is really tacky, but fascinating in its own way.
The brochure describes it as “Land’s End, the legendary destination, where magnificent cliffs overlook the powerful surging Atlantic. A place of natural beauty where you might see wildflowers, sea birds, even seals. A place of legend and mystery with six superb attractions bringing you tales of heroism, skullduggery and adventure. The bravery and skills of our rescue services and the extraordinary journeys of the end to enders.”
Obviously the English don’t go travelling much in November. In the huge car park, which would probably take 150 vehicles, there were about a dozen cars. It was 54º Fahrenheit, but the wind was blowing so hard it gave the impression of being a lot colder.
At 2.45pm we left in heavy rain and wind, and headed north east this time on the A30. By 4.15pm it was nearly completely dark and we pulled into a truck rest 15 miles from Exeter.
We drove to an exit with a sign to the Travelodge and Esso station, and spent the night parked in their car park in the windy rain.
327kms Today 13,405kms Total