Traveling with Purpose: Saint Nectan’s Glen and Tintagel Castle
This month I decided to introduce you to 2 sites that are braided within the Arthurian Legends, Saint Nectan’s Glen and Tintagel Castle – both in Cornwall.
Saint Nectan's Glen is an area of woodland in Trethevy near Tintagel, north Cornwall stretching for around one mile along both banks of the Trevillet River. The glen's most prominent feature is St Nectan's Kieve, a spectacular sixty foot waterfall.
Several footpaths approach St.Nectan’s Glen. The main one is behind the Rocky Valley Center Tintagel road.
For many the site has been sacred for generations. People with a variety of beliefs, and some who just admire its pure beauty, are drawn to the waterfall. This site is where many believe that King Arthur and his Knights were blessed before they began their Quest for the Holy Grail. Additional stories also report that this Glenn was the beginning and end step for the Arthurian Knights. They would journey to the Glen prior to leaving for a quest and return to the Glen for some meditation after the quest on their way to and from Tintagel Castle.
Renowned as one of the most sacred sites in Cornwall, the waterfall has also been described as being amongst the 10 most important spiritual sites in the country.
The 'Kieve' (the basin into which the water falls) has long been a place of worship, reverence and healing since pre-Christian times. People of many faiths have walked the ancient route to the waterfall.
The hike into this incredible water fall is fairly easy depending on the weather. But the Stunning beauty of this place is worth the journey. One can simply imagine as knights of old made their way to the Glen, how they must have started their preparation process. The day I went was a beautiful day after many days of torment rain, so the hike in was muddy and frustrating. At some point I lost my footing and slid right down into the mud. And by sliding into the mud I truly mean covered from head to toe in mud, it was in my hair and into my boots. However all of this frustration seemed to ebb the closer I got to the Glen. I started to think about what “I” was preparing for… what I wanted “preparation” for. Sacred Sites are so much more than a window into our past, their energy carries forth into the present. I love the nuggets of intuition and insight I receive visiting these places.
The Glen makes you slow down and become aware of things that are complete and should now be let go to make room for a new adventure or quest. This site is a feast for all of your senses with water so pure and clean and the waterfall, nature’s glorious music. Time seems to stop here. And so also did I- I stop complaining and took in the beauty- waded into the pool and let the water wash away all of the frustration. Meditating in this location clears your head. The year I went I had the pleasure of walking to this Glenn with Koko Newport, a well-known Priestess of Avalon and frequent guide to the sites around the Glastonbury Area. Koko was a dear friend to me that year. I had many transitional things all converging at once and it was Koko that suggested we go to the Glen, She said there is where you can connect and prepare for the next leg of your journey. Standing in the pool and receiving a consul from Koko is a treasured memory for me. She poured water over my head and simply said “Welcome Home”
As with most sacred travel the journey to the sites is as important as the actual sacred site. The 2 are intertwined.
Another stop following the Arthurian legends in Tintagel Castle. (According to Tintagel Castle.co.uk )- Tintagel Castle stands on windswept cliffs in North Cornwall on one of England’s most dramatic coastlines. The Castle is believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur who, as legend has it, was protected from the evil magician Merlin by his magical sword, Excalibur.
There is something for everyone at Tintagel... cliff and path to walk and different ruins to explore and imagine at their full glory, a walk on the beach, a dip in the water and Merlin’s Cave..... I can only described the cave as a place of calm but not necessarily peaceful - it reminds me of the calm I would feel right before I dove into the pool, or jumped on a balance beam or was about to ski down the mountain - this building of excitement and power and focus. The whole area the sea air, the ground beneath your feet - you can feel a tremor of something... You can feel the energy of this beautiful place, you can close your eyes and hear and see boats coming into the Cove, sense the activity all around you. It’s truly a magical place to visit.
So some of the logistics - walking down the path to all the goodies is lovely - because its downhill all the way - the ruins and the cave and cove are nestled loving at the bottom of this long road and on a nice day - it’s part of the charm - hiking and exploring. However for those of you who may not be into all that activity - there is a Truck that will drive you down and up the long road if you find it’s just too much after a day of exploring for you can easily spend an afternoon there exploring all this area has to offer.