I should have known better. The road became familiar, and to my left I was sure I saw the same hill I had climbed that very morning in the rain. Unfortunately, just as I passed that hill I paid for not paying enough attention to where I was going. (Rhodes hates it when I drive that way!) One of my wagon's wheels left the road and found itself a comfortable home in the mud.
Try as I might, I could not free the wheel. Fortunately, the people of this area had all been very friendly, and I was sure that any local farmer would be happy to help. The only problem was that there was not a farm in sight.
I knew that if I left the road to the left, I would have to climb that hill, and there were no people there who could help me. I chose to leave the road to the other side, and follow a path which must surely lead to somebody's house.
The path was long, and led up another hill. Though I tried to avoid the puddles and the mud, there had been too much rain and too little runoff. I reached the top of the hill and saw, at the top of the next hill, a small house and what looked like a church steeple beyond. Encouraged, I continued along the path. At one point, just off to the right, I saw what looked like a very old road, long overgrown. I later found out that this road had been built many years earlier to provide access to a pottery works, and that the pottery works itself lay in ruins beneath the very grounds I was walking on.
When I reached the bottom of the hill, I had to cross a stream, but I was easily able to jump it. I climbed up out of the stream bed, rounded a corner in the tall grass and beheld an incredible sight. In a gap in the grass, stone steps led down into darkness. I found a hand-written sign nearby, which told me this was the St. Uny Holy Well, an ancient gift from the gods to provide water to the good people who farmed this area. Flowers bloomed all around the well. I followed the winding steps down, and gazed into the dark water at the bottom.
Beyond the well, the path rose a short distance up to the house I had seen. As I approached the house, a farmer came into view, carrying a lamb, and asked me if I was looking for Carn Euny. He was surprised when I told him I had never heard of the place. He told me that it was a very famous landmark. Back to Roman times and before, he said, there had been people living there.
He put down the lamb, and we went together to explore the ancient ruins of Carn Euny. It was a few hundred feet the other side of the road, just past a small pottery shop, and fills a small field, with obvious remains of the walls of ancient buildings. There must have been more than twenty buildings, each of which had two or three rooms. The settlement was been walled at one time, and parts of the wall and gates still remain.
But the most amazing feature of Carn Euny is something the Cornish call a "fougou," which is a manmade cave. A tunnel, forty or fifty feet long, runs under the central part of the village, with entrances at both ends. I was very impressed by the tunnel, but I was astonished by what I saw next.
To the side of the tunnel, and completely invisible from outside, there was a room, circular in shape, and with a roof shaped like a beehive. When my guide and I entered the room, I found it was tall enough to stand up in. My guide told me that this is not the only such fougou that exists in Cornwall. I asked him what the caves had been used for, but he had no idea. Perhaps they were for drying meat, or tanning hides, or perhaps they provided winter storage for food. Perhaps they were part of some long-forgotten religious ceremony.
We continued our speculations as we headed back across the field to my wagon. When we arrived, the farmer was easily able to push my wagon from the mud and let me on my way again. I thanked him, and headed back onto the road, thinking about my good fortune to have become stuck so close to such an interesting site.
After a hot bath, I headed out in search of food. I had seen an inn close to Land's End called the First and Last Inn. I thought it looked friendly, and I was not disappointed. The food was excellent, though the portions were rather large for one Walding alone. The people were friendly, and the prices were quite reasonable. I stayed there into the evening.
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