Cornwall – part the second

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:

Almost a pedestrian route, though by no means ordinary.

Almost a pedestrian route, though by no means ordinary.

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’.

St Martins Church, Looe and Jackie looking at the dial high on the gable

St Martins Church, Looe and Jackie looking at the dial high on the gable

The direct south facing vertical dial

The direct south facing vertical dial – no shadows today.

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).

Jackie enjoying the gap between rain events as we ascend the trail to Trevethy Quoit.

Jackie enjoying the gap between rain events as we ascend the trail to Trevethy Quoit.

And the trudge was thoroughly worthwhile, crowned by the mist.

The  quoit with Jackie for scale.  Built about 5500 years ago, probably as a community grave, says my pal Wiki.

The quoit with Jackie for scale. Built about 5500 years ago, probably as a community grave, says my pal Wiki.

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:

Another wonderful traffic-free approach to an ancient site, but somehow Jackie seems oblivious to the pleasure it offers.

Another wonderful traffic-free approach to an ancient site, but somehow Jackie seems oblivious to the pleasure it offers.

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.

King Doniert's stone with words carved on it over a thousand years ago - no wonder they are a bit hard to read.

King Doniert’s stone with words carved on it over a thousand years ago – no wonder they are a bit hard to read.  But you can read the ‘don’ in the top line.

Both stones and Jackie for scale - you should know she is 5'2" tall.

Both stones and Jackie for scale – you should know she is 5’2″ tall.

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.

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