Down Rame way
a look at a picnic walk through Mount Edgecumbe up to Rame Head at the early part of the twentieth century
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Rame Head is a rocky headland in South East Cornwall in England. The chapel on it`s top, dedicated to St. Michael is windswept and wild. Apart from it`s Christian origin it has been used as a crude lighthouse, a solitary hermit living there lighting a bonfire to warn ships off. In the 19th. century it`s popularity as a picnic location rose (as nearby Plymouth grew to meet the huge labour demands of an expanding Devonport Dockyard) and many families enjoyed lazy afternoons laying in the sun, listening to the surf pounding the myriad rocky gullies and outcrops below........in an aircraft free sky......
From time to time children of better off families would push, or rather squeeze a silver sixpence into the spaces between the stones that the chapel is built of.......to be found a century later, by me.....
Others would place a halfpenny, or penny. Some coins are still there, they are hard to spot (need a torch) and even harder to get out (need long thin rod, stick like curly whatsit-do-da) and some visitors today continue the tradition by emplacing modern coinage.....like I do, for the next century's visitors.
Rame Head has always held a special feeling for me, a sense of timelessness. The walk from the Cremyll ferry, up through Mount Edgecumbe, through the twin fishing villages of Kingsand and Cawsand has had the feeling of the presence of a gentle past holding it safe. It is a "safe" place, a place of known quantities, save for a winter storm and the fury of pounding seas and blinding spray on sharp rocks.
Mount Edgecumbe as what is today known as a Country Park is stunning, being liquid green leafy lanes commanding a view over clear surging seas. Had the Spanish Armada succeeded, it`s leader was promised it as his.
On one area of the coast path to Rame Head, actually the small "brake"...like a copse, above Lady Cove close by Penlee Point, I recall how one balmy summer Sunday afternoon sitting on the deep soft leafy floor of the brake, with the wind crisp rustling the leaves forming my canopy to the sky, a chance discovery of a broken shard of porcelain, a cup, prompted me to part the depth of the deep leaf mould with a cupped hand to find a Codd bottle, an old plate and other fragments of a lost picnic........was it theirs?
for it was the remains of their day.............
N.B. The quality of these images is not up to the standard I would hope. They were scanned direct from old stained and degraded glass plates with a "thing" mounted on top of my scanner. You may see lots of lines, caused I believe as an interference pattern of the silver halide crystals in the photographic emulsion, the plates being over exposed, fogged, misty and yellow! You may be able to improve them in a photo package.Interference pattern sometimes disappears if you reduce size of image. Thanks to all those who loaned material.
A Dreadnought battleship slides past Western King point, (Devils Point). Mt. Edgecumbe is in the background. Note the huge iron rings set into the rock, this one still exists, much sea corroded. In days of "wooden walls" (sailing vessel war ships) vessels entering the Hamoaze, the Dockyard approach, would be guided in through the strong eddy current and cross wind by men pulling on ropes via pulleys connected to rings such as this one.
Some trekers would come across via the pedestrian only Cremyll Ferry, it seems however that our "picnic`ers" may have come on over in their own boat, or maybe the much bigger, horse, carriage and livestock carrying Torpoint Ferry and gone for a much further trek. This ferry was first horse powered, then steam, now diesel. It had a sister ferry further upriver at Saltash, now gone.
Low tide at Cremyll is a childs paradise of weed strewn rocks, all hiding countless marvels of the sea scuttling away from small prying hands. Many of these old buildings by the stoney beach at Cremyll have gone.
On entering Mt. Edgecumbe out trop would walk up this tree lined avenue, adjacent to this grand sweep up to the house, past this wishing well "folly" and on to this beach that has "Milton`s Temple" as a landscape feature.(this beach and the area as a whole saw much action as D-Day troops left for Normandy in World War II ) This is virtually unchanged to this day as are most of the locations on this page.
Climbing over the "stile" (spelt?) they would then wend their way up through the trees and a leafy sun speckled path.
Of course on the way they might have sneaked a look at the back of big house, Mt. Edgecumbe House, seat of Lord and Lady Mt. Edgecumbe, and imagined what may lay within the closed doors and windows, secreted away.
Gaining the headland eventually it would be a look around the Chapel, a look at the Coast Guard look out, and then a climb and slide down to the rocks. To stand on rocks, unchanged for centuries and be mesmerised by the play of light on sea. These rocks are the same today, tomorrow and for very many tomorrows.
......but of course the picnic, under the gaze of St. Michael's Chapel, seeking shelter from the sun beating down under a parasol, in peace, listening to the caw of the gulls.
On the way back they may seek respite from the sun by sitting in the utter silence and complete overwhelming solitude of Rame Church.....still as silent even today. Here we rest at the Lych Gate.
VARIOUS ASSOCIATED IMAGES OF THE PLYMOUTH AREA
A Tram in Albert Road, Devonport, Plymouth.
"Something going on" at Mutley Plain, Plymouth.
A semi-rural scene?
The long gone railway bridge at the top end of Union Street, Plymouth.
The Talbot Hotel public house.
MODERN ? 1975 - 1983 AERIAL VIEWS OF RAME HEAD, PENLEE POINT AND CAWSAND , KINGSAND
RAME HEAD 1......2.......3........4.........5.......6.....7.......8......9......10....
RAME HEAD WITH PENLEE POINT BEHIND....1.....
QUEENERS...a point adjacent to Rame Head......1......2..
RAME CHURCH and close by Rame Barton..."the Power and the Glory."......1.......2......3.......4.......5......6........7...
RAME HEAD COAST GUARD HOUSES AND LOOK OUT.....1......2...
A VIEW OF MT. EDGECUMBE
PENLEE POINT....1.......2.......3........4..........5........6.........7.........Lady Cove......the "brake" where I found the picnic remains ( the small circular copse)...Lady Cove again, a part of the cliff and rocky shore line known as "Amory Bight"
A VIEW OF MAKER HEIGHTS AND MT. EDGECUMBE note Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier "Ark Royal" at anchor in distance, awaiting scrapyard.
CAWSAND (left) KINGSAND (right)
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE 1914 ERA OF MT. EDGECUMBE AND COAST (unassociated with picnic photos)
A BEACH PICNIC IN FRONT OF OLD PILCHARD CELLARS CLOSE BY KINGSAND.......1........2.....
ON THE BEACH AT CREMYLL IN FRONT OF THE GARDEN BATTERY AT MT. EDGECUMBE....1......2.. note "Milton`s Temple" in background as seen in other photos above.
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down along Rame way
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