Proper Solstice Blade Weather!

If you don’t live in Cornwall, you may not know how unusual it is for it to snow here. So, for the benefit of the uninitiated, on a scale of one to ten, where one is “very likely” and ten is “very unlikely”, the chance of snow in Cornwall in March is generally accepted by most academics to be about twelve. In fact it is one of the things that the three brothers complain about in The Solstice Blade.

Having made the point about how unlikely snow is in the opening chapters of the novel, today  the weather decided to prove this author wrong, but also provided a photographic opportunity that was too good to miss, so without further ado, you are invited to follow Liam, Evan and Travis’s journey through Liskeard once again, this time featuring Actual Snow

A view towards Varley Lane in Liskeard.
The lane beside the old grammar school near the beginning of the route that Celyn, Liam, Evan, and Travis took in to Liskeard.
Looking across a snow covered cattle market car park in Liakeard.
Looking across a snow covered cattle market car park.
A view down the alleyway between the cattle market carpark and Windsor Place.
The alley between the cattle market car park and Windsor Place. This is where Celyn, Liam, Evan and Travis meet the Lord of Misrule.
View past the fountain looking towards Webbs House and Pike Street.
The fountain where the town Christmas tree is erected each year.
Looking down Pike Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.
Pike Street and the Guildhall clock tower.
A view up Pike Street hill with a lone tobogganer
A tobogganer making their way up Pike Street in Liskeard.
The Guildhall at the corner of Fore Street and Pike Street.
The arcade of shops where Travis first though he could hear footsteps following them.
View along Fore Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.
View back along Fore Street towards the Guildhall clock tower. The second-hand shop where Travis bought the paper knife is located in this road.

To see largely the same scenes without the addition of Glorious Natural Snowfall™ visit this page.

Nadelik Lowen! Happy Christmas!

Travelling home through Liskeard last night, I realised that now the Christmas decorations are up the town looks almost exactly as it did in my imagination when I wrote The Solstice Blade.

Incidentally, if you are reading this on GoodReads and cannot see the images,  please head over to www.thesolsticeblade.co.uk/posts My blog is hosted on a WordPress site, and the images (which are central to this post) may show as [image error] on GoodReads.

Liskerard Town Christmas tree viewed from The Parade on Barras Street looking towards Greenbank Road
Liskerard Town Christmas Tree

“The rain continued as they made their way through the town, blurring and streaking the Christmas lights that were strung across the roads and wound around the town’s Christmas tree that stood by the fountain.”

When this photograph was taken the rain was a drizzle rather than the heavy rain that features in the story.  Strung across Greenbank Road in the centre of the picture are the words Nadelik Lowen, which as you probably inferred from the title of this post, means Happy Christmas in the Cornish language. (When first erected this year it did read “Lowen Nedelik”, which although a literal word-for-word translation actually reads as “Christmas Happy,” fortunately this was soon spotted and rectified!)

Did you notice that there are no light bulbs at the bottom of the tree? Read Chapter 1 – Rain to find out why! (don’t forget that “Rain” is included in the free preview and can be found here )

Looking from Barras Street down Pike Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.
Looking from Barras Street down Pike Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.

At the base of the Guildhall clock tower is the small arcade of shops where Travis first thought he heard footsteps following them.

The Guildhall Clock Tower at the foot of Pike Street. The clock face is illuminated in red and green at Christmas
The Guildhall Clock Tower at the foot of Pike Street

“No one else would be stupid enough to be out in this weather,” said Liam. “You’re hearing things, there’s no one there. Come on, let’s just get finished and get home, I’m fed up with this.”

View along Fore Street from the bottom of Pike Street at the base of the Guildhall clock tower.
View along Fore Street from the bottom of Pike Street at the base of the Guildhall clock tower.

“Above them the sky was aflame. The wavering curtains of coloured light of a spectacular aurora rippled across the narrow band of sky between the two opposing rows of shops.”

Looking up Pondbridge Hill from the junction with Fore Street.
Looking up Pondbridge Hill from the junction with Fore Street.

“Above their heads the aurora still shimmered and rippled across the sky like a wind-blown flag.”

I hope that you have enjoyed this short tour of Liskeard by night following the route taken by Liam, Evan and Travis in the opening chapter.

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowyth Da!

Liskeard Town in Chapter 1: Rain

A view from Webb's House to the fountain across The Parade in Liskeard.

Follow Liam, Evan and Travis’s journey into Liskeard on their initial Christmas shopping visit in Chapter 1: Rain.

Looking west across the Cattle Market car park in Liskeard.
Looking west across the Cattle Market car park in Liskeard.

We first meet Liam, Evan, and Travis, as they make their way across the cattle market car park in chapter 1: Rain. When they next cross the car park things are very different!

The Fountain in Liskeard Town Centre
The Fountain in Liskeard Town Centre

The town’s Christmas Tree which is mentioned in Rain, is positioned to the left of the fountain in the Parade, the main road through Liskeard town centre. The fountain was given to the town by Michael Loam, the son of the man credited with inventing the ‘man engine’

Stone arches at the base of Liskeard Guild Hall.
Stone arches at the base of Liskeard Guild Hall at the junction of Fore Street and Pike Street.

The small arcade of shops beneath the Guildhall arches. The is where Travis thinks he hears footsteps following them along a deserted Fore Street as they double-back on themselves for a final attempt to buy presents before heading home.

Looking up at the Guildhall clock tower in Liskeard.
The Guildhall Clock Tower.

The Guildhall clock tower is a major landmark in Liskeard, visible from most parts of the town. The stone arches are at its base. The Guildhall was built in 1859 at around the height of the copper mining boom.

A view along Fore Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.
A view along Fore Street towards the Guildhall clock tower.

Fore Street, the location of the junk shop where Travis purchases the paper knife that he intends to give to his mother as a Christmas present. The view in the photograph is along Fore Street from the junction with Pondbridge Hill.

Bodmin Moor

The landscape that Chastity Trewartha worked in, and which she was pursued through by the Wild Hunt,  in the 1850s at the height of the copper mining boom, was a very different place from the one we see today. Then it was essentially an industrial landscape, albeit a remote and exposed one.

The following photographs show the landscape around Caradon Hill and Minions as it today. This was the general area that Chastity was traversing when she encountered the Wild Hunt. The following two images are from Caradon Hill.

Ruined Mine Engine with Gorse Bush in the Foreground - Caradon Hill
Ruined Mine Engine – Caradon Hill
Ruined Mine Engine - Caradon Hill
Ruined Mine Engine – Caradon Hill

To the west of Caradon Hill is the village of Minions, the highest village in Cornwall, right on the edge of Bodmin Moor.

The following images are from the moor close to Minions.

Looking East from Minions Moor Toward Dartmoor - Prince of Wales Engine House Visible in the Mid-ground
Looking East from Minions Moor Toward Dartmoor

This image is a view from above the path leading to Cheesewring quarry on Bodmin moor out towards Dartmoor in the distance. The Prince of Wales engine house with its distinctive red brick chimney can be seen in the mid-ground. The Prince of Wales engine house is more recent than a lot of the other mine buildings here, dating from 1910.

Stunted Windblown Trees on Bodmin Moor Near Minions
Stunted Windblown Trees on Bodmin Moor Near Minions
Looking towards Sharp Tor with a stunted tree and granite boulder in the foreground
Looking Towards Sharp Tor
Granite Boulders and Stunted Trees on Bodmin Moor
Granite Boulders and Stunted Trees on Bodmin Moor