Wednesday morning was all low cloud and mizzle (Cornish for mist and drizzle) – perfect atmosphere for visiting prehistoric sites, especially if approached up narrow footpaths of packhorse trails. Our luck was in, two such sites exist, one to the east of St Cleer and one to the west.
But first a local exploratory walk to find a dial on St Martins Church, Looe. Perhaps as some sort of test of faith the church is located out of town and at the top of a hill. We found a vehicle-free route – well almost vehicle free:
The church dial was finely carved on a thin slab of slate, and dated 1762, bears the names of the Rector and two church wardens, and has the motto ‘so soon passeth it away’.
You will be delighted to learn that my Brasher shoes, carefully treated with Nik Wax, kept the wet out even after much roaming through long grass to access the dial. We got back into town for the noon bus to St Cleer (a few miles north of Liskeard, near Bodmin Moor). A mile to the east of St Cleer we left the bus and found what must have been a pack horse route – cobbled floor between two Cornish hedges (in Cornwall they make their hedges from stone).
And the trudge was thoroughly worthwhile, crowned by the mist.
It was about a 40 minute walk to the Stag in St Cleer where had lunch and I drank Exmoor Stag and Bateman’s Autumn Fall ales. Outside the rain turned tropical in intensity, which must have temporarily drained the clouds because we were able to walk to our next archaeological site in near-dry conditions. Until we left the lane and started up another footpath which doubled up as streambed during the next rain event. Here is Jackie enjoying it:
King Doniert’s Stone is the shorter piece of 9th century carved granite, and it bears an inscription which is just about readable. It translates roughly as ‘Doniert had me made for the good of his soul’. The other piece has Celtic patterns cut into it.
A short walk got us back on the 573 bus route and a trip back to Looe, where after a little rest at the B&B we went to the Salutation for simple and cheap pub food (as recommended by lady met at bus stop near King Doniert’s Stone) washed down with Doom Bar. Just a little too sweet for my palate – but all they had.