Friday, 13 June 2014

Topless Coast Walkers - well I didn't know where to look

Wheal Coates Mine, and of course some surfers

I had lots to do today but with weather like this, it's a shame to waste it, so yet again I was drawn to the coast.  I had to go to the pretty little village of St Agnes anyway, so I thought I will just go and look at the sea while I'm here. I don't know who I thought I was kidding, of course I couldn't resist taking a walk along the coastal path.

I walked to Wheal Coates, an old mine engine house on the cliffs, Cornwall is dotted with these old iconic buildings.  The mining industry was huge in Cornwall producing tin and copper among other metals that were sent all over the world along with Cornish miners.  There was a saying that if you looked down a mine shaft anywhere in the world you would find a Cornish Miner.

Just look at the colour of the sea and sky

The old buildings look so beautiful it is easy to forget the brutal conditions that were involved in digging the ore out of the ground.  There were many mining disasters where men were killed underground when the tunnels collapsed, but there were also the slow deaths from working many years in terrible conditions.  My mum lost her father to 'Miners Lung' when he was in his early 40's leaving a widow and 8 children.  Looking back at my family tree, many were listed as miners, it employed thousands of men, but also in the past women and children.  The women who were called Bal Maidens worked 'up top' breaking up the ore and separating it.  It was hard work in harsh conditions.

The Coastal path goes right past the mine

Many of the mines were on the cliffs, their tunnels snaking out under the sea.  Miners would say they could hear the pebbles rolling around on the ocean bed above their heads.

Some of the old engine houses have been converted into houses,  but many are now preserved as a part of our history.

The men working underground needed something substantial to eat to keep them going and had to withstand being carried in their packs.  They couldn't wash their hands, which might well have had things like arsenic on them, so they took pasties down with them to eat.  They would hold the pasty by the crust and then throw that away, or as the stories go, give it to the 'Knockers', mine spirits who lived underground,  in return or keeping them safe.

The famous Cornish pasty or 'Oggy'

Oh yes, I promised you topless coast walkers....

Chickpea xx

p.s.  I've added a flags gadget to the page so I can see where all you lovely readers are from.  Sadly there isn't the option of the Cornish flag on there! 


  1. Oh my goodness the colour of the sea and sky, WOW and WOW again. The North sea which is only 5 miles from us is always grey, whatever the weather, and the beaches are shingle, not easy for walking on. I've just read your side bit about you, our youngest had ovarian cancer at age 19,she had chemo and the ovary removed and is fit and well( shes 27 now) but it was scarey at the time. Although It happened so quickly we didn't have time to get worried. It'd good that you were OK.

  2. Fabulous pics Chickpea. My favourite is that one through the doorway. Stunning.

    My very dear friend died of Ovarian Cancer at the age of 37 so I'm so pleased to hear of your positive outcome. Will add you to my sidebar and hope you get lots of new followers! x

  3. So glad to hear your daughter is fit and well now, it must have been a difficult time for you all. I am thankful everyday that everything was clear, and at my age I didn't need them anyway, but for young woman it must be so hard. I really think we need to make more women aware of the symptoms as often it is found too late.

    I always say, when the weather is good there's no need to travel abroad for a holiday when we have such beautiful beaches. It's a shame we can't rely on the weather.

  4. So sorry to hear about your friend Em, it is so heartbreaking to lose someone so young.

    Thank you, I borrow the OH camera, point and shoot and hope for the best, and thank your for adding me to your sidebar :)


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