Monday 19th

I suggest you look at the web site for a place in Cornwall called Burgh Island to see where I spent Monday night. Strictly speaking, this is an island, if only at high tide, which today came conveniently toward evening as my daughter and I sat drinking our pints of Devon cider (12 percent alcohol) and watching the causeway disappear a few inches at a time beneath the waves. To make it most exciting, people seem invariably to want either to leave or to come onto the island just as the waters are closing in, so that they scurry to and fro across the increasingly narrow causeway, and finally through the water itself. Even when the land disappears, those in the know are well aware that, for a while anyway, just a few inches under the water is firm sand, and confidently stride out into the foam.

However, for those either wearing insufficient footwear, running later than the intrepid pedestrians, or simply wanting a more dramatic entrance or exit, there exists the a sea tractor. We took one look at it, and decided immediately that the only possible accompaniment to the contraption was the theme from Star Wars, as it belongs to some alien landscape. Maybe on the swampy planet where Luke trains with Yoda. A Rube Goldberg device of immense dignity, chuntering its way across the watery pathway with its burden raised well above the surface, they call it a sea tractor, but one expects it to unfold and change function like the Transformer toys my son used to play with many a year ago, its wheels shifting into arms, the forward motion of its engine giving way to a clamber up the cliffs.

The sea tractor alone is well worth the price of admission.

Posted in


  1. Anonymous on September 27, 2005 at 5:43 am

    Bit behind on reading your blog – shame, as I know the part of the world you are visiting very well.
    I expect you know that Agatha Christie was a regular Burgh Island visitor and set some of her novels there. Can I be nit-picky and point out that it is in Devon, not Cornwall?

  2. FeltHat on October 4, 2005 at 12:42 am

    You mentioned that you are looking into the 20’s/30’s during your trip. While passing through S Deveon to get to Burgh Island I wonder if you found Coleton Fishacre – a wonderful Art Deco interiors, the house was built for the D’Oyly Carte family. Its now owned by the National Trust & can be visited – as can Agatha Cristies gardens which are also nearby.

Leave a Comment