Elvis Legs: Boscastle to Tintagel

The path of less resistance can lead to Elvis Legs. This is how. My husband was never much of a one for walking-hiking holidays (even though he used to love climbing mountains as a teenager). His idea of holidays were more in the realm of lazing and packing in the good grub. But then I happened to him. The day that took place he had  signed himself up for legs that would shake like The King’s. A shout-out to Bruce who introduced me to the term.

Getting back to Adi, he is a hiking convert, and boy he gets attached to things in a pretty solid way. For instance, when he had change to classes as a wee boy, he turned down the prospect flat on its face. He would have nothing to do with leaving Claudette behind. She was the teacher and why I believe wee Adi had a crush on pretty Claudette. They had to wait three months before he agreed to leave her behind.

From Claudette to Cornwall is a leap alright, but may I ask you to do that? Last time, we had exchanged a few words over Boscastle and swooned over Hardy. Now I am going to swoon over Red Devon and Friesian cows, gorse bushes, meadows of blue bells, saw-wort (those pretty purple thistle-like flowers) and daisies. Stop sniggering. I see you.

Now we had chosen the hottest day of the week to go for our hike, which meant four hours under a sun that threatened to (and did eventually) peel the skin off our nape. There are a few warnings you have to keep in mind when you are passing through the pastures of our bovine friends:

  • Do not show threatening behaviour towards calves (approaching them in close quarters, making loud noises or walking between a calf and its mother) as you may provoke the mother to defend her young. The best plan is to walk along the hedges.
  • If cows approach you, do not run away as this will encourage them to chase you. Stand your ground and stretch out your arms to increase your size.
  • Avoid taking dogs into fields with cows particularly with calves. If you must and cows charge, release the dog from its lead as the dog will outrun the cows and the cows will generally chase the dog rather than you.

With no dog friend to distract the cow, you can imagine how tough it was on the animal talker in me. I did wave at the Red Devon cows lazing on the ridges, who you shall see in a bit, but there were young, cute Friesian calves in a field without their mothers, and That I could not resist. Adi, on the other hand, is a bit wary of the gentle girls and boys — ever since a whole herd gunned for us with alacrity during a stop at a random field on the way to the Lake District. The menace writ large on their faces made them look like anything else but creatures of bovine gentility. Five years have passed but Adi has not been able to shake off the trauma of it.

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Forrabury Stitches behind us. It is like looking back upon a maze of stitched-up greenery. A historic concept of open field farming that is part and parcel of Cornish country.
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The kind of views that line the length of the hike
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Lazy Red Devon cows
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Thankfully a few hand waves did not ensure a charging mum. Adi dragged me away before she became a larger entity in the picture.
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Islets along Trevalga that are home to seabird colonies
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Gorse and husband under the midday sun

If you choose to do this hike, the good news is that for the most part, it is of moderate intensity. Expect to climb up and down meadows filled with wild flowers and gorse bushes in bright yellow clumps to contrast startlingly with the waters of the Celtic Sea. The changing hues — from gentian to aquamarine, sapphire to turquoise blues — are mesmerising. Each stitched-up pasture is crossed via stone steps and then a leap across dry stone walls that network the length and breadth of the trail and throw in some serious climbing in bits and pieces. But it is the length of the walk and the hot sun that conspire to make you fantasise about chilled beer aplenty.

When we espied the silhouette of Hotel Camelot a few cliffs away, we whooped. The thought of draining vats of beer was a wonderful reprieve. We could have also had vats of mead instead but then we would have to go down to that fantastic Tintagel Castle, birthplace of the mythical King Arthur. And our legs, I fear, would not have made the steep climb back to the village from the castle. Instead we tucked into pasties from the pasty shop in town that was selling them at half price since it was closing time. Amusingly enough, they do things the old way. The woman from the shop hollers out in a hefty voice about a half-price offer a few times till old men come streaming in.

At the end of our pub stop for ales to wash down the pasties with lay another 3 hours of walking because we had not taken into account that the bus from Tintagel to Boscastle is not that frequent. So there we were with 10 miles of hiking and walking at hand to reduce our legs to columns of jelly and flop down at The Wellington Arms in Boscastle for another round of ale. Come to think of it, what would we do without ale? As our good man Franklin put it so sensibly. Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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Midway between Boscastle and Tintagel is the Rocky Valley where the footpath plunges into a gorge-like valley to take you ahead into the open bay of Bossiney.
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Bossiney Bay
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Oh hello, my beauties! There was a long conversation with no watchful mother at hand nearby to spoil the party.
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Bossiney Bay

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And finally, Hotel Camelot
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Pints of Doom Bar at The Cornishman Inn – an ale named after the Doom Bar of Padstow
Camelot Castle Hotel viewed from Tintagel Castle
The ruins of Tintagel Castle are tricky to climb especially when it has rained because those steps are quite weather-beaten.
When you reach the top, it feels like a misstep would mean a dash into the rocks but that view. It does make you want to make a home for yourself among the ruins and dream about Lancelot and Guinevere.
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The walk back to Boscastle and meeting curious ones along the way.
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Stone cottages in Bossiney
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Reaching Boscastle after two and a half hours
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Then sighting The Wellington and losing ourselves to ale. Highly recommended.

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

73 thoughts on “Elvis Legs: Boscastle to Tintagel

    1. Oui oui (ala Francoise Hardy – how does one look so bloody gorgeous). He will be quite happy to see the doffing of the hats and all that. He doth think I do not give him a lot of credit. While I do but silently. I can see you as a die-hard hiker quoting verses along the way as you see this and that xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aye, tis me. Francoise illudes me but I can dream and in the meantime, I can quote! xx PS: I hope he is elated, for you do him much credit here 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the shoutout and getting my attention 🙂

    I said come on over baby,
    a-whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
    Yeah I said come on over baby,
    a-whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on
    Well we ain’t fakin’,
    a-whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

    Elvis 1970
    Words & Music by Dave Williams – Sunny David

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think cow-themed hiking could really be the next big thing in travel. After all, nobody would have dreamed up cat cafés a decade ago either. As always, great photos. Somehow you always seem to have good light, whereas I frequently complain that it always rains in places I only get to once. New word of the day for me: alacrity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahahaha you make my day. You think I should start selling this theme with ‘alacrity’? 😉 Oh not to worry, I have plenty of photos that got me whiny at the time that I took them (read: dark and dreary skies). Those shall inevitably show up along the course of my blog posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stunning views and photos as always 😀
    I had never been one for hikes, save for that one time I hiked up to Machu Picchu. Then I was encouraged to try some local ones and I have quite enjoyed them. I do refuse to go on very sunny days though, as I’ve learnt it makes me incredibly cranky and I will whine and complain. I am getting better though. There are a lot more local trails that Rory and I are interested in, maybe one day soon we will do them, and take lots of pictures so we can share the experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Angela 🙂 I think you did a brilliant one with Machu Picchu. I am so not a sunny-day hiker because my temper does not remain sunny. But somehow that day it was not too bad even with the searing intensity of the sun. I would love to see photos and account of your hikes with Rory. You do have fantastic ones in the country xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had not heard the term Elvis legs either, but it’s good. I’ll try and remember it the next time I get shaky legs. The cows sound slightly more aggressive than the cows I’ve experienced. I would get a bit scared too if I cow started charging at me. This looks like a beautiful walk through the country side though, and how cool that there is a castle at the end of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? I found the term rather cute. Those Lake District cows were. But I shall not besmirch all English cows. They can be adorable too like the Cornish ones. You will see by and by in my posts more Daisies (as I call the Friesian ones) who look like they need some cuddles. That castle at the end is something else. One of the most stunning castles I have laid my eyes on even though those are just the ruins xx


  5. Not only are your pictures beautiful, but your posts are so well-written. I feel like I need to be in this place like, right now. It’s stunning. I’m aching inside. Thank you for the lovely language and photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay I think here was what I wrote. It might differ from the first version. Wistful words that brought a smile because my heart flips for storytellers too. The world would be a bleaker place without people like your mum and dad. You have inherited the storytelling trait alright along with the ability to make us laugh as you take us along with you in your journey of life xx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The views are breathtaking. Poor Adi, he didn’t know what he was get himself into. Burning hot hikes near scary cows. The first one looks like she’s thinking “who you looking at, biatch?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet she was. If cows could speak! Adi dragged me away before I could beckon her to come near us. He has started enjoying these hikes so much. Halfway through I had half a mind to take the path to one of the villages because I was wondering about him but he stuck to it. He did annoy me a fair bit with bad jokes and silly things on the way like going way close to the edge of the cliffs! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for your positive comments. And thank you for this beautiful post. I have not been to Tintagel in may years but it definitely was one of my favourites places on this globe. Hope to speak with you again soon. Look forward to many posts. Positive vibes to you and your family ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cherry, for the positive vibes and the lovely comment 🙂 I am happy you like it because this is what makes blogging such a wonderful experience. To connect with like-minded people. If I could make a little shed on the castle ruins in Tintagel, I would not think twice! Though my hair would be forever standing up in all that blustery wind 😉 You have a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. […] had reached the village of Port Isaac (which is an easy drive from Padstow, Boscastle or Tintagel in Cornwall) when I needed to use the loo at the carpark facing the sea, the water guzzling cow […]


  9. […] The passing years have meant that we, as modern-day travellers, got the extras without the cobwebs such as clutches of charming boutiques, a National Trust tearoom and a museum on witchcraft at the entrance of which is the grave of a ‘witch’ called Joan Wytte. That poor 18th century woman’s skeleton had hung for years at the museum till they decided it was not quite okay. The river gushes alongside and if you follow its path up the cliffs above the harbour, you can go on long walks (as we did and it turned out to be so long that our legs would not stop trembling, but more about the trembling later in the next post). […]


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