My daughter and I just from our vacation in England, so I will be sharing some interesting stuff with you over the next few weeks.
First, a tidal island is a piece of land that you can walk to from the mainland via a causeway during low tide. But during high tide, the causeway is submerged. St. Michael’s Mount is a tidal island in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall. Here are some interesting bits and pieces about St. Michael’s Mount.
- The distance from the mainland to the island is about 550 yards.
- This year marked the completion of resetting much of the cobble causeway after it was dislodged during the devastating storms of February 2014.
- Walking on cobbled pathways is hard on your feet and ankles.
- The island has changed hands throughout history, mostly due to politics or religion. It was awarded as a prize until the St. Aubyn family purchased it in the 17th century. The family still lives there, although I assume they can drive straight up to the castle so they don’t have to walk on those cobbled paths, up and down the steps and the hill, every day.
- Approximately 12 families, about 30 people, live on the island full-time. Now that is small-town life.
- To a certain extent, although not as much as in the past, the days are dictated by the tides and the weather.
- The earliest of the buildings on the island date to the 12th century.
- Due to the island’s religious history as a monastery and the belief that it is sacred ground, pilgrims have crossed to the island for centuries. The first man-made causeway was laid in the 15th century to accommodate those pilgrims.
- The island (and most of the southern coast of England) was hit by a tsunami caused by the 1755 earthquake that destroyed Lisbon, Portugal.
- Due to harbor improvements in 1727, it became a flourishing seaport, with the population peaking at 221 people in 1821.
- The island went into a decline when nearby Penzance harbor (about 3 miles away) underwent major improvements, and when the railway came to Penzance in 1852.
- Before you visit, know that the castle is closed on Saturdays, and that you can check the tide schedule to see when the causeway is open for walkers.
- In 1954 the third Lord St. Leven gifted most of the island to the National Trust with an endowment for upkeep. The agreement includes a 999-year lease for the family to live there and show the historical rooms to the visiting public.
- Approximately 300,000 people visit the island each year.
- The castle was featured in the 1979 film Dracula.
Have any of my readers been to St. Michael’s Mount? Or do you have another favorite tidal island?