Cornwall is so incredibly beautiful…and so filled with remnants from its history. We visit one of the hundreds of mines along the coast. The Levant Mine has the worlds only working steam engine in its original location at this mine, thanks to the dedicated group of local men (the Greasy Gang) who brought it back to life after decades of not being used.
The Levant mined for copper and tin and its web of mine shafts descended into the earth more than 1700 feet and extended out under the sea for more than a mile. Water leaking into the mine was an ever-present danger and problem. I can’t imagine what a hard life these people had. Women and children worked here too. A constant worry with this sort of mining was the amount of arsenic that was uncovered in the mining process. I read somewhere that the miners brought pasties for their meal during a work shift and the crimped edge of the crust was for them to hold while they ate the rest and to later throw out as their hands were covered in arsenic and they didn’t want to accidentally ingest any.
The coastline is littered with stacks of mining debris, piles of rocks, abandoned mines shafts and buildings and foundations.
On we go up the coast….
At St. Ives we decide to stop and have a Cornish cream tea, which includes two scones, clotted cream, fresh jam and a pot of tea. It’s so rich that it’s almost too much. But somehow I make it through.