Number 7 in my short series of Favourite Places. For those of you who have followed the series and indeed for those of you who have been to Land’s End you may think this latest location is a little out of place. So, please let me explain.
Land’s End is the toe of Great Britain, a jagged outcrop of rock on the Cornish coast sticking out precariously into the Atlantic Ocean….the most southerly and westerly point of mainland Britain. For many adventurers over the centuries heading for the Americas and elsewhere it has been their last sight of land…for others it has been their first sight for many a long day.
Longships Lighthouse from Land’s End
From this vantage point on the steep cliffs of Carn Greed you get a fabulous view over the rocks known as the Armed Knight and outwards to even more rocks. Look closely and you will spot Longships Lighthouse. As you can imagine the Cornish Coast with it ragged and rugged coastline was always a hazard for shipping with wrecks constantly gracing the cliffs with enormous loss of life and cargo. So in 1795 the first Longships Lighthouse was built as an aide to shipping, it was built on one of the few outcrops, Cam Bas to remain above the normal high water mark. But strong seas often prevented the light from being seen so another much taller (35 metres) Lighthouse was built which entered service in 1873 and is still in service to this day.
It is rare to see this part of the coast in sunshine and enjoy a clear horizon and even then the seas look far from calm. the poet and writer John Ruskin described the sea from this spot as…..”an entire disorder of surges”….very apt.
I did say that some may think this spot out of place, out of character from the other wilder and remote spots I have identified as favourites. But sitting on the edge gazing seaward you feel as remote and on a wind and rain swept day it gets as wild as anywhere can.
But turn you back away from the sea and you are greeted with the gift shops and the other trappings of the tourist trade……..
These are perhaps the least brash and have been there for a lifetime….look a little further to the west and you would discover (for me) a very much out of place Theme Park and Shopping Mall and all that that brings with it!
So Land’s End may not be that isolated, it can be wild and at anytime provide dramatic views. It can also feel remote and with it a feeling of excitement and cause you to pause and wonder just what is over that horizon….but above all else I suppose it is just what it says…..Land’s End! and I don’t mind including it as one of my Favourite Places