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Merlin's Cave
Cornwall, England

[Sunday - 05/09/99] Tennyson made this place famous in his Idylls of the King (1888) when he described waves bringing the infant Arthur to the shore, where he was plucked out by Merlin and carried to safety. Local legend has long associated this cave the mythic figure of Merlin. While Mary Stewart in her novel The Crystal Cave has another in mind, locals claim that this one is haunted by Merlin's ghost!

The cave passes all the way through the base of the Tintagel castle promontory. While we weren't there at the right time, at low tide, you can actually enter the cave from the cove beach and pass through. The opening is at a lower level than the entrance in the cove, so that as the tide rises, the sea flows in from that end and surges gradually up through the cave, with roaring and moaning and deluges of spray, until the entrance is blocked.

It is certainly a place of considerable atmosphere and we could easily envision that scene out of Excalibur when Uther rides the mist from the shore, across the cove, and into Tintagel to seduce Ygraine.

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Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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