Heading west to Penzance

On the 8th June I waved goodbye to Jackie at Truro station and crossed to the westbound platform for a Penzance train.  I had booked into the Union Hotel in Chapel Street, in the heart of the town.  My room was up two flights of stairs and along a corridor, then up another flight to one door – my room.  A tiny one in the roof, with windows on three sides, two of them looking out to the harbour.  Like living in a little look-out.  It was late afternoon so I decided to walk round the coast to Newlyn and try to visit the place where Ordnance Survey datum was measured – a hut on the end of a harbour arm.  Sadly the harbour arm is gated.  The landlord of the pub where I learnt this said I could probably climb over it, but I settled for another pint and a picture from the pub.  Here it is.  Well, I think its one of those buildings.  I hope it is.


There are some delightful narrow lanes of elegant Georgian housing between the top of Chapel Street and the town’s Art Gallery/Museum.  In these lanes I found an early permanent clean water supply.  I found another, in the same style, at the bottom of Chapel Street built into a wall around a big church.  I’m sure there were once many more.


Opposite my hotel is a grand building in Egyptian style, and well painted to suit.


There were 2 good pubs in Chapel Street, the Turks Head and another one.  I had dinner in one, but preferred the beer in the other, so finished the evening there.  In the morning, after a good night’s sleep and excellent cooked breakfast at the Union Hotel, I went to the art gallery for 10am opening.  An interesting exhibition of fishing town paintings from Cornwall and Brittany.  One showed a group of rowed boats with about 20 fishermen working together to haul in a net of pilchards whilst gulls swooped in to grab what they could.  Just the kind of event that would have been co-ordinated by a look-out on Nare Head who would see the shaol of fish from his elevated position and use calls and signals to direct the small boats to the fish.  We passed the lookout’s hut on Nare Head a few days ago, and Steve told us the story (see previous item).

Outside the gallery/museum is a granite Celtic cross, said to be 11th century, and known to have stood in at least 7 locations, mainly since the beginning of the 19th century.  There is a small but clear indentation, centally located and just below the ‘head’ which I thought might have been used as a mass dial – a simple and early sundial used to time calls to prayer but the history I found of it fails to put it near a church.  Still, it  might have been.


After a coffee and snack I headed down to the harbour for a pint and to await the arrival of Jerry and Tony (and all my camping gear) for our trip to the Isles of Scilly.

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