Places to go (when we can go places) I’m digging out and sprucing up blog posts to bring fantastically inspiring places to all you writers out there. Stay safe.
#4 St Micheal’s Mount, Cornwall
Just off the coast of Marazion, Cornwall, is a tiny island called St Micheal’s Mount. When the tide is low, you can walk across the causeway to explore the abbey turned stately home that perches on top. (And if the tide is in you can catch a ferry)
Visiting on a dark, blustery day added to the innate drama of the place, and this mysterious isle is superbly inspiring. There are days when the island is cut off due to the weather, so the handful of inhabitants have to be prepared for anything (and you should always check the weather if you intend to visit).
The island was originally home to an abbey before becoming a fishing town – which is apt since St Micheal is the patron saint of fishermen. In 1659, the Mount was sold to Colonel John St Aubyn, and his descendants still live there, having leased the most of the property to the National Trust.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there are a couple of literary connections to the island. The first is to the tale of Jack the Giant Killer. Legend says the giant lived on this island and was killed by young Jack (who hailed from Marazion), when he fell to the bottom of this well.
It seems a trifle small to fit a giant but nevertheless I’m glad they’ve got it padlocked! It’s other literary connections are to books by Michael Moorcock and Giles Kristian. And it’s been a filming location for James Bond, Dracula and Johnny English.
My favourite room was the library (shocker). It felt like just the kind of cosy room where you could curl up in front of the fire with a book whilst a winter storm raged outside. Or perhaps put pen to paper.
As the family still reside here, the place has a warm lived-in feel in many of the rooms. And it’s steeped in history, with the odd invasion or two to peak the interest, and years of collectables and artwork.
As for writing inspiration – where do I start? A murder mystery, a historical siege, a doomed romance, a horror on an island cut off by the elements – there’s really no limit here. I think any kind of island where there’s a physical break from the outside world is a perfect location for conflict. The fact this one has what amounts to a castle on top of it adds a different dimension.
Have you been to St Micheals Mount? What did you think of it? Please share in the comments.
I went there when I was a kid but not since. And I probably should go again as I live in Cornwall and this time of year is quieter to get about.
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I’ve always wanted to visit, although I didn’t know it was in Cornwall. Don’t they use it in the BBC’s “Scarlet Pimpernel?”