On an April noon when an army of clouds invaded the blue, blue sky and cast a black and silver sheen upon the landscape, we arrived in Marazion. Captivated by its name, the first time I visited it about four years ago, I fell in love with the ancient market town. You will see why, by and by.
Before I gather steam, here’s a brief note. If you are in Mousehole, Marazion is just a few miles away.
Now Marazion has a ringside view of a fairy-tale island that juts out of the Celtic Sea – St. Michael’s Mount (the silhouetted rocky outcrop you see above). The tidal island is a sister counterpart of St. Mont Michel in France. In the 11th century, it had even been ceded to the Benedictine order of St. Mont Michel, till in the 14th century, it became the property of an abbess in Middlesex.
Getting on with the title, many moons ago, a giant by the name of Cormoran (you will remember Robert Galbraith’s gruff detective has the same moniker) lived upon the island. When he got hungry, the cattle of Marazion were his meal. He was 18 ft. tall and his girth spanned a humble figure of three yards, so crossing the causeway was no big feat for our beef-loving giant. He became a blasted curse upon the town. Who should pop up to be the hero of this town? Jack the Giant-Killer of our childhood stories. He is Cornish, yessir, and he lived in Marazion. Our notable Jack not only killed the giant, but he also went on to slay many more giants, was appointed a Knight of the Round Table by King Arthur. He clearly had Cormoran to thank for his glories, eh?
Now ye of deep faith, you might want to put St. Michael’s Mount on your list of pilgrimage. Sailors on the sea from the 5th century have maintained that a saint appeared on the island to guide them to safety from alluring mermaids and storms. This was the patron saint of fishermen, the archangel St Michael, who is supposed to have delivered a few miracles during the 13th century.
I crossed over the causeway four years ago, leaving behind Adi in the car at Marazion to sleep off his tiredness for a chunky hour or so. The tide was low and I felt like I was in a dream, walking across the granite cobbles of the causeway, as the waters swirled in and out in a hypnotic rhythm, to a fairy-tale castle upon a tidal island.
Bells tolled in the old priory and apart from the cawing of a few seagulls, the island was quite deserted. The castle loomed high above the few stone cottages, home to the staff who work in the castle. Entry to the castle however was closed because it was a Saturday. I spent my time, treading through the alleys in the island, exploring the charm of the cottages clustered around it, sitting on the pier and watching the boats crossing to and from Marazion. I did not have the privilege of meeting either the giant or the saint. My wuss-y heart, I fear, would not have been able to bear the glorious sight of both.
Getting to St. Michael’s Mount:
Barring Saturday, it is open all other days. Cross the causeway on foot during low tide or take a boat from Marazion to the island for the fares of £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for children.
Entering the Castle:
Tickets cost 9.50 quid for an adult, garden entry is priced at 7. A combined ticket costs 14 quid. If you are a National Trust member, you get in free. Timings: 10.30am-5pm.
Where to Stay:
The Godolphin Arms (www.godolphinarms.co.uk) offer standard double rooms at about £160 per night on bed & breakfast basis. Some offer spectacular views of St. Michael’s Mount.
Rosario (www.rosario-marazion.co.uk), a bed & breakfast in Marazion, with views of the sea too, offers more modest prices at £90 per night.