At the End of the World

Hey!  My post about our disastrous roadtrip out to Cornwall has been featured on a great travel site called See Something!  Head over there to check out their awesome collection of travel stories from people and places around the world.

Following a morning of nearly being swept into the sea at St. Michael’s Mount, we decided we hadn’t had nearly enough of it, and off we went to the edge of the map.

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Land’s End (the inspiration for the one of polo shirts & yoga pants fame) is the aptly-named westernmost point of the English mainland, meaning there’s absolutely nothing between you and America when you stand on the cliffs.

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The stormclouds were rolling in mighty fast, but my dad & I couldn’t pass up the chance to venture out a little further.

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It was pretty windy on the point…

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The waves were crashing like crazy against the cliffs on either side of us.

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It was hard even then (and moreso in pictures) to get a feel for the true size of those waves because of how high we were and how vast the rest of the ocean was, but they were massive.  The kind of waves that would’ve turned a boat to matchsticks in minutes.

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(Ooooh!  Everyone marvel at my impressive crashing-wave GIF.  Thank you.)

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There’s a visitor’s centre and restaurant atop the highest cliffs near the carpark.  It’s a pretty big sprawling complex, but it looked so little from out on the point!

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Once in a while, a wave would hit the coast just right and spray up higher than the cliffs themselves, and seawater would rain down on us from overhead.

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Oh, want to see?  Okay:

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(Guess how much I love making GIFs now.  A lot.)

The ominous cloudline (scroll back up to the first GIF to check it out) had been charging straight at us when we first arrived, but after about fifteen minutes it dissipated and blue sky began to peek through far out over the ocean.

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Up the hill, behind us, the sky was still that weird cloudy yellow that usually precedes a big summer thunderstorm.  The threat of being swept out to sea was not completely gone yet.

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And to up the creep factor even more, we spotted a cave where LORD VOLDEMORT MOST DEFINITELY HID ONE OF HIS HORCRUXES!  Whoa, sorry.  I was very scared.

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One of the coolest features of the view was the Longships Lighthouse out on the horizon.  It’s actually 40 feet tall, but it’s over a mile offshore so it looked tiny to us.  A few times, the waves slammed into the rock that the lighthouse is built on and burst upwards, completely obscuring it for a few seconds.  Every time it happened, it looked like the spray from a gigantic whale’s blowhole, and I could imagine how legends of sea monsters used to spring up from waves hitting invisible rocks or shoals.

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This spot reminded me so much of Nugget Point in New Zealand.  I’ve often said since that Nugget Point is one of my favorite spots in the entire world.  I love “edge of the map” places.  Something about staring out at that much ocean is just exhilarating.  It makes you feel so, so small – but not in a bad way.  (Alright, let’s reign it in – getting a little philosophical here.)

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If you position yourself without the rock or the lighthouse in view and just look straight out over the ocean, it’s easy to understand how past explorers thought that it was possible to sail off the edge of the earth.

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With another batch of dark clouds rolling in ahead of us, we raced the rain back up the hill and towards the glorious sunset that was emerging.

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With a final glance back at Land’s End, we bundled ourselves into the car and drove back into charted territory.  It was definitely a magical way to start off 2014.

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Visiting Land’s End was a completely last-minute decision for us, but it was one of my favorite parts of our trip to Cornwall.  I think I might embark on a lifelong quest to visit all the edges of the world that I can.  If you’ve been to a spot like this, let me know and it’s going on the list!

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8 thoughts on “At the End of the World

  1. Congratulations on the feature!

    Land’s End looks amazing. I’m a massive fan of edge of the world type of places too. Plus I love anywhere with a big open sky – even if (or sometimes especially if) that sky is full of storm clouds. I’m hoping to make it to John O’Groats (the other end of the UK) sometime in the next year or so.

    Have you been to Tasmania? The Henty Sand Dunes are incredible (though there is a definite possibility of getting lost among them). When you look out to sea there, the next land is Argentina, 20,000km away! And the sea is freezing – you can feel how close you are to the Antarctic!
    http://www.secondhandhedgehog.com/2011/04/tasmania-week-in-wilderness.html

    1. I think it would be so cool to do a Land’s End to John O’ Groats roadtrip someday!

      I never made to it Tasmania when I was in NZ & Australia but I would love to get there. Your photos in that post are beautiful & the Henty Sand Dunes sound awesome!

  2. Great photos! I agree, views like this make one feel very small. Cape Flattery in Washington State is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States if you feel like venturing out there. It’s quite a drive and then you hike on a boardwalk trail, but it’s beautiful 100% of the way and totally worth it. Disclaimer: there is a small island with a lighthouse a little ways out so it doesn’t have the same edge-of-the-world view like Land’s End, but still beautiful.

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