From the air the Lizard Peninsula looks indeed like the head of a lizard. But chances are the folks that named this area had no idea what it looked like over a millennia ago. Probably the name is a take off on a Cornish term for high court. I don't know about the court, but there certainly are a lot of high dramatic cliffs on the Cornish coast. As we investigated The Lizard, as it is called, it reminded us of the coast of Maine, minus the bargain priced lobsters.
We have been so lucky with the weather thus far. When we get up the sky is deeply overcast, but after a bit of coffee and email we jumped in the car and headed to the southern coast and when we get within five miles of our destination the clouds begin to break up and bright sunshine warms the air. From the TV reports we have the impression that this is unusual; inland areas usually have had frost by now. It's the warmest, driest September since they have been keeping records.
We'd been to The Lizard on a cruise ship tour, but as the van zoomed up and down the lanes we generally had no idea where we were. We had a little extra time and our guide stopped in a little harbor town which had a tall clock tower at the end of the harbor. It was very picturesque and the short ten minute stop there left us feeling frustrated. She told us that in the winter the waves rise thirty feet high and break over the clock tower. Those few clues helped us to find the name of the town on Google, so our tour started there. Porthleven is bordered on one side by a long contingent of identical Victorian homes. Although they are white, the trim is painted in a variety of bright colors and together they form a wonderful backdrop to the harbor below. Because of its vulnerable position as the southernmost point on the mainland it is slammed with storms regularly and the harbor is built with a series of concrete baffles that protect the fishing boats safe deep inside. On the horizon we could see a parade of huge freighters and ocean liners sailing west, perhaps to North America.
From there we traveled to Mullion Cove, a small harbor that now belongs to the National Trust. The old hut with lobster traps in front of it, was especially picturesque. Everywhere we went there were hikers. It seems like the whole Cornwall coast is a walking path. Every so often there is a place to eat on the hiking trail and the one at Kynance Cove is especially popular because the views of the rocks surrounded by swirling sand are especially beautiful. The view and accessibility of the cove changes drastically depending on the tide.
At Lizard Point we saw one of only a few lighthouses around here. With all the rocks we can see peeking up between the waves, I would think there would have been one at every at very turn. This lighthouse wasn't particularly high and it didn't need to be since the cliff is was built on is mighty high already. It's been beaming over the waves for over 250 years. The huge fog horns were easy to spot on the roof. According to the signs, this lighthouse complex is the largest in the world.