My Unhappily-Ever-Aftering Visit to Camelot

I’ve come here to Tintagel to pay homage to a monarch who may never have existed: King Arthur.

King Arthur – the man, the legend, the myth!

The mystical tale of King Arthur is one of the great themes of British literature and Hollywood hits. 

Here on a rocky peninsula overlooking the Bristol Channel in England’s southwest are the ruins of a medieval castle said to be the remains of King Arthur’s castle – Camelot.

Fact or fiction, King Arthur has never relinquished his hold on my imagination. 

The story is attributed to a Welsh writer, but French and German romance writers adding the flair and affairs of the magical sword “Excalibur,” the Knights of the Round Table, the royal romantic triangle with Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, the court of Camelot, the wizard Merlin, and the Grail quest.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

My quest to come here to this mystical place began years ago. I’ve wanted to come here while I walk England’s most famous and longest walk, The South West Coast Path. 

My journey has been more Lancelot than Guinevere.

Just like the Knights of Camelot, I had to earn my spot at the Round Table.

I wasn’t carried in a gilded coach, I’ve had to fight for every step, slugging up and down the most stunning, but brutal countryside. My feet are shot – I’ve got blisters on blisters, and for the first time in my life I have corns; and they’re swollen, inflamed, and probably infected. TMI?!

I thought my mountain hike training in Colorado would prepare me for this seaside “stroll” but I’ve been humbled and even humiliated by this English walk. 

Today’s hike was supposed to be 11 miles, but I hired a cab to drive me halfway here so that I could enjoy my visit at the castle. A full visit here means walking on some 4-miles of rocky, slippery, steep paths atop a barren and wind swept bluff that overlooks ferocious seas below.

After walking for nearly six miles, I finally saw the ruins of “Camelot.” I was so excited- I couldn’t believe I had made it! I’m here! I started singing ….

“In short there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here in Camelot…”

I was like a giddy teen at a boy band concert.

Blue skies above, around this corner – Camelot!

All of a sudden I had energy, my pace picked up, my feet stopped hurting. I was here! 

Set the Round Table I have arrived! 

And then, then, thennnnnn in an instant, the blue skies vanished and dark scary clouds appeared. People started scurrying down the hills and racing across the bridge that connects the castle to the mainland.

WTH? Where are those knights to make everyone safe? Was the castle being stormed? 

Yes, it was being stormed – by the biggest, baddest queen of all – Mother Nature. And today, she was naughty by nature! 

Gale force winds in excess of 40mile an hour were heading our way and the fools on the hill has to be evacuated, like STAT!

Seconds before these clouds turned dark grey and the winds peaked at 40mph!

Yeah, but what about me, I asked at the entrance gate. Yes, m’am, I was told, even American women who have pounded the steep, slippery, knee and feet killer slate paths have to evacuate. No one is allowed up “thare,”she said in her Cornish accent.




No buts m’am.

And so I sulked into the castle cafe and sat with the other peasants as one of the fiercest rain storms I’ve ever seen just unleashed with all the pent up fury of two lovers dueling for Guinevere’s love and hand.

No round table, only a square top

I sat, sulked, and sipped on Diet Coke and ravaged a sausage roll as the waves crashed against the cliffs and swirled inside the grotto known as Merlin’s Cave

So close – so close. 

But Mother Nature had a point to make

Admitting defeat, we peasants could only look on and dream of visiting Camelot

Seems someone didn’t get or chose to ignore King Arthur’s decree –

“A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September
In Camelot.
Camelot! Camelot!
I know it sounds a bit bizarre,
But in Camelot, Camelot
That's how conditions are.
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.“

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