Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ilfracombe: Rocks, Water, Sculpture and the Promenade

Even though we were just a few miles across the water from Ilfracombe (which is in Devon, England, not in Wales), the way there was long and roundabout because there is no ferry. So back we went, skirting Bristol and then escaping to drive along the coast as soon as we could. We found our B&B easily, a lovely home in a quiet neighborhood about the town, and then went exploring. This sculpture drew us immediately.

Verity stands guard over the Ilfracombe harbor. She stands on law books, her sword of truth thrust high. Behind her back, and a little out of balance are the scales of justice. The opposite view shows her dissected, pretty disconcerting but fascinating. You can read about the sculpture, and see its opposite side, here.  As you can imagine, the sculpture is controversial--more about that in this article. Personally, I found it compelling, but disturbing.

A small church stands high over the harbor. There is a good walking path up the cliff to the church. This is St. Nicholas Chapel, built in 1321 as a place of worship for the people of the town. Nicholas is patron saint of travelers.A beacon is still maintained in the church's tower, as it has been since the middle ages.

Out in the bay, a huge "car ship," as our hosts called it, waits, while a sailboat makes its way in the soft breeze. These big ships bring in cars that are made in China--the bodies of them are made there, that is, then brought to the UK for completion or shipment to other countries. Something I never knew.

 A tiny fishing boat makes its way to port, yet another example of the many uses of the water here.

 I don't know what this place was used for--isn't it intriguing? It almst looks like a huge fireplace or altar back in this cove.

 Brooding skies did not provide the best light.

Yes, we went up there. Not as bad a climb as it looks.


I was surprised to find a wildflower I call "butter and eggs" blooming on the path to the chapel.

Looking back at town from the chapel path.

Later, as we walked "The Promenade." a Victorian-era walkway along the cliffs that would have been filled with people and music in the early 1900's, we noticed this large cave below the chapel. It was almost heart-shaped.

As we watched, this intrepid woman, who was probably in her 50's, made her way to the cave. She did not go inside, but when I took the first photo, she looked ghostly! You will notice her male companion standing down to the right of the photo--he did not even try to clamber over there. Oh, and she was wearing this exotic coat with a big fur collar, and her shoes were not the hiking type. Strange.

Looking back at the chapel from along the Promenade.

A section of the Promenade, showing the steep steps leading down to the water. The tide was out, so the water was lower than it would be at high tide.

Rocks---they fascinate me. Look at how time and weather have affected this one along the walkway.

Can you see the railing in the below photo? We did go down there...

 and then back up again, hugging the wall.

Ah, safety! There are, we heard, many deaths annually along the coast both here in and Cornwall, due to people being careless, or being caught by freak winds and surfs. It's understandable, with such a rocky shoreline.

Far, far below...

I cannot get enough of water and rocks, can you tell?

Yet another cave. There was once a lot of pirating and smuggling activity in these coastal areas and it's easy to see why, with such good places to hide. Sometimes tunnels were built from the caves to a pub or other building above.

 Taking his ease on the Promenade.

 These steps kust make me dizzy. They're not for the faint of heart, or people like me with vertigo.

It was almost dark when we left, and the chapel above was shining its green beacon over the sea. I tried but could not capture the light in a photo.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

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