Saturday, 30 July 2016

BEDRUTHAN STEPS



I have travelled to many places in the world over the years, and visited some of the most iconic locations, but one thought always comes back to me on my travels: this is great, but we have our equivalent back home.  When visiting Australia, one of the places I visited  was The Twelve Apostles on the much-vaunted Great Ocean Road.  While undoubtedly an impressive sight, we have our own version in Cornwall: Bedruthan Steps.  The geology is different – granite versus limestone – but these huge stacks rising out of the swirling Atlantic Ocean are a good substitute for their Antipodean equivalents for those not able or wanting to make the journey Down Under.  The stacks were formed after the last Ice Age when the softer shale rocks around the granite eroded, leaving the granite stacks jutting out of the sea.  Of course, no coastal geological feature in Cornwall would be complete without an accompanying legend.  The story goes that there was a giant called Bedruthan who used the stacks as stepping stones.  The legend in this case is relatively recent, dating from the 19th century, when it was dreamed up in a bid to attract Victorian tourists.  There used to be a mine here called Carnewas Mine, but all that remains of it now is the building being used as the National Trust shop.  As a matter of fact, the name "Bedruthan" is believed to derive from the Cornish Bosrudhen, meaning something like "red place", possibly a reference to the iron ore deposits in the ground hereabouts. The nearest settlement is Mawgan Porth, where there is a range of luxury accommodation.  

Map of the area. 

File:Bedruthan Steps 22.jpg
Photo by Ericoides, via Wikimedia Commons

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