Lots of walking was planned for what felt like our first ‘full’ day in Falmouth after the slightly later start to the previous day. We were blessed with sunshine and clear skies as we headed out. Our destination was Pendennis Point and ultimately Pendennis Castle that dominates this headland overlooking Falmouth Harbour. The walk up to the point afforded us great views of the harbour to our left. There were two very large Royal Navy transport boats (one of them in dry dock) and we could see St Mawes across the harbour. When we turned south to carry on along the road that loops round the Point we were shielded from the sun by the dense trees lining the road. The road to Pendennis Point was a steady incline so the shade was welcome in a day that was fast becoming very warm!
We got our first glimpses of the castle and as we emerged from the cover of trees and were rewarded with a great view south over the Channel. Looking back over our shoulders we could see the Coastguard station accessible from the road and then above that with its commanding of the surrounding sea, Pendennis Castle. We spent a good deal of time here relaxing after our walk and enjoying the views and the sunshine. It was a popular spot with many cars coming and going and a lot of people with the same idea as us. Part of the old sea defence and the first small fort built on the headland (affectionately referred to as ‘Little Dennis’) still exist here and the littlies had much fun scrambling about exploring. What I failed to mention in yesterday’s entry was for the time we are in Falmouth, there is a yacht race being contested called the Pendennis Cup and it is being competed by different sizes and classes of boats. At the time of us arriving on the Point, a few of these vessels could be seen in the channel for what was the first race day. There was actually quite a bit of traffic in the water but that was to be expected…
A welcome ice cream from a strategically parked ice cream van refreshed Team GB ready for our walk round the point and back down the other side of the headland and onto the castle. The stroll involved a slope downwards towards sea level again shaded by the trees before we came upon the entrance to the castle. Before we knew it we were through the gatehouse and having another refreshment break in the grounds of the castle. I don’t want to do the place down but calling it a castle does seem to overdo it. It was built in the reign of Henry VIII to defend (along with its sister castle on the other side of the harbour at St Mawes) the entrance to Falmouth. Falmouth has been in history, a very important port in England; it’s the third deepest natural harbour in the world and the deepest in Western Europe so something worth defending! The castle is impressive and while the outlying buildings and defence have been added after the initial construction, the structure called the castle is in essence a round tower with a gatehouse housing cannons and accommodation for the gun crews. Maybe I am being overly critical!
We had a good wander around the grounds, exploring the gun emplacements from the Second World War along with an exhibition in the Barrack House showing how the castle has been used through the years in the defence of Falmouth and England. All thoroughly stirring stuff and with its links to the seas and the navy at a time when the Royal Navy was first created it all feels very British! We did miss a trick visiting on the Tuesday as on Wednesday there were to be displays of fighting knights. Kieran was a little disappointed especially when we saw them setting up ready for the nest day with swords and shields!!
We left the castle after a trip to the gift shop(!) and headed back towards the apartment. We decided as the weather was still fantastic to drop stuff off and wander back into town for a browse round the shops and get something to eat. In contrast to yesterday there were lots of people with the same idea and there are lots of independent shops and restaurants lining the pedestrianised main street. Reenie and I even picked up new hoodies at a store called Saltrock… We wandered back to Discovery Quay round the corner from the apartment and chose to eat at a restaurant called the Shed. It was one of three places outside the National Maritime Museum all independently owned and with very nice menus. Despite the protestations of the littlies we were choosing to avoid Pizza Express and try something different this week!!