Tintagel, geologically etched with Arthur’s Profile, is one of Britain’s most exotic sites, steeped in legend as King Arthur’s birthplace, where Merlin and Utherpendragon plotted the seduction of Ygerna.

TINTAGEL

KING ARTHUR’S BIRTHPLACE

The hike around the ruins of Tintagel is an exciting adventure although the trek down the stairs from the mainland into the ravine and then up to the fortress is quite a climb.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand why Gorlois fortified Ygerna here and then met Utherpendragon in battle at Dimiloc.

Legends say that King Arthur was conceived and born atop this peninsular tor, but was then taken away by Merlin to foster-parents.

Neither history nor legend gives details about Arthur’s childhood.  He is taken away at birth, and he doesn’t accept the crown of Britain until he is fifteen years of age, a year beyond pubescence.

The long, narrow, limestone steps would indeed have made it perilous to try to take Tintagel by assault. Even though the arduous climb might not have deterred the enemy, the fortress was still protected by a gateway. However, Gorlois hadn’t counted on the effectiveness of Merlin’s magic.

Because of this naturally-formed silhouette on the cliff at Tintagel, townspeople have inherited the right to claim King Arthur as their “native son.”

To the locals, this is appropriately called “King Arthur’s Profile.” Merlin’s Cave is on the beach at the base, where Merlin and Utherpendragon plotted the seduction of Ygerna.

The ancient stairs to the left were much more treacherous to ascend and descend than the modern once pictured above. This was the main reason why Gorlois thought that Ygerna would be safe at Tintagel; with only a small guard, the Duke of Cornwall thought that the fortress would be impenetrable.