King Arthur: The Legend Lives in Cornwall, England

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Just in time for the latest King Arthur film (in theatres May 12), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, and directed by Guy Ritchie, we follow in the footsteps of many an Arthurian-legend seekers, travellers that continue the pilgrimage to the Cornwall, England coastline.

Here, we find a ruined castle that once held true kings and courtiers, Tintagel. Now, it’s filled with the ghosts of the past and the winds of the future. Climbing to its heights offers a spectacular reward: The views of the Bristol Channel and the Celtic Sea are breathtaking; the constant breeze, brisk.

Click through for a few haunting images of Tintagel, Cornwall, England.

While the sea looms large, so does fantasy. The legend of King Arthur and Camelot is alive and well, and a trip to Tintagel is on tap to satiate my long-time passion for the stories I read as a girl about the boy who, said to have been conceived on the castle’s very spot, drew the sword Excalibur from the stone and defended the realm against the Saxons in the fifth and sixth centuries. The site has been so romanticized, it prompted Richard, the Earl of Cornwall, to build Tintagel Castle around 1230.

Standing at this near 800-year-old remnant—now more archeological preserve of crumbling stone walls and archways than fortress—it’s easy to see from its bones that it was once a near indomitable keep. Perched cliffside on Tintagel peninsula, facing the sea with a view for miles of both the water and the neighbouring cliffs and valleys, the medieval fortification allowed for early warnings of invasion. The tidal ebb and flow on the beach below would be an ally, while the constant high winds might be a deterrent.

If you make the climb to the top, you’re rewarded by the sight of Gallos, a stunning eight-foot-tall bronze sculpture installed this spring by the artist Rubin Eynon and said to be his vision of Arthur. He is a vision, yet hollow, with open strips in his cloak to allow for the wind to whistle through and, to me, appears as part apparition. It is a powerful sight. Fitting, as his name, Gallos, means power in Cornish. He stands with his back to the sea, his gaze, facing inward, over Cornwall, the strength of the ages.