Thursday, 23 June 2016

Linear walk from Gunnislake to Calstock

Due to an afternoon commitment we were not able to do a full walk today and had to content ourselves with a 5.5 mile linear walk from Gunnislake to good old Calstock. The route took us down to the River Tamar, along the bank for a while, then up to Calstock church, down to Okel Tor mine and along a lane into Calstock. The weather and the company were both great for walking. Guess what? No-one mentioned the EU Referendum which was very refreshing. What more could be said? All we could do is enjoy the moment and wait for the result later on.
Our route. Not too strenuous but it had its moments.
Quite a bit of lane walking on this one but they were quiet and enhanced by the dappled shade and....
..and wildflowers..
..lots of wildflowers.
In the not-too-distant past, every farm brewed its own cider from its own orchards. This was for domestic use and also an expected perk for the farm workers. Apparently it was not a potent brew and could be swigged without any adverse after effects.
On to the graveyard of St Andrew's church at Calstock. One interesting grave commemorated the deaths of two brothers in the sinking of the Titanic.
Harry and Shadrach Gale were local miners and were on their way to work in mines in the far west of the USA. Their passage was originally booked on another ship but, as that one had developed boiler problems, they had the misfortune of being 'upgraded' to the Titanic. In total, four men from our area lost their lives as the ship went down.
St Andrew's Church at Calstock. Situated on a high point above the Tamar, the present building dates from the 15th Century, although it was built on the site of much older churches. Across the road from the church are the remains of a Roman Fort, which was discovered in 2008. Why were the Romans here? For the metals (lead, tin. silver) found aplenty in the vicinity. There is good evidence to suggest that the church is built over part of the fort. Alas, no water tank, Roman or otherwise!
The interior of the church is imposing and it was built for much larger congregations than it gets nowadays. At one time it would have been packed with miners and their families.
An interesting memorial tablet. Van Diemans Land? The old name for Tasmania. A resident of nearby Launceston became a governor of the colony and exported several local names to that part of the Antipodes - Launceston and River Tamar to mention just two.
An interesting plaque to bellringers in the church tower. If I had the inclination I'd try to decipher the script - perhaps a task for another time.
The church gate with its coffin stone, both dating from the mid-Victorian period and dedicated to the memory of members of the local Honeycombe family, probably one of the oldest families in these parts.

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