West Cornwall's Quoits

September 10, 2015

Seeing as I was already out with my camera, I thought I would make the most of the day and explore some historical points of interest around Cornwall. So what is a quoit? A quoit is an ancient burial monument usually made up of large, heavy standing stones and a final stone to cover them. Cornwall is home to many quoits and it's not uncommon for them to date as far back as 10,000 BC. 

With a good bit of planning, the first of three quoits was easy to find. Whilst driving around Cornwall, you can expect to find yourself on country roads barely wide enough for your own car. The road's leading to Mulfra Quoit, however, were surprisingly spacious. What let the journey down is the amount of traffic when leaving Penzance. With the help of Google maps, I quickly found a place to park that only involved a short walk to the entrance of the field. The plant life may have been overgrown, but the paths were well defined and easy to follow. With all of the gear I carrying, the walk through the field and up the steep hill was made somewhat challenging. I wasn't wearing the most appropriate jacket either, but there were plenty of incredible granite stones offering a place to sit and rest. Protruding over the top of the hill was a pointed stone that resembled what I had seen in photos. As the steep incline started to level out, it became clear that I had found what I was looking for. I might've been expecting too much in terms of height, but the impressive panoramic views of rolling hills, coastal towns and old tin mines made up for that. I was cautious of the large dark clouds, but they were at a perfect height and moving at a perfect speed for what I had in mind. There was a small chance that it would've been a perfectly clear day. This would've been nice, but not what I wanted. My big, bulky jacket actually came in handy because it meant I could sit on the damp grass. A nap would've been nice at this location, but couldn't be too sure how safe my car was at the side of the road.


Once I had inspected the quoit for the best angle, all that was left to do was to set up my gear. I extended my tripod legs outwards for stability and ensured there was no dust on my filters. I chose to stack both my big stopper and little stopper ND filters for a resulting exposure time of 4 minutes with the appropriate aperture and ISO. Compositing the final shot was important because I wanted a sharp photo for the foreground, but the long exposure effect in the sky. By taking a number of long exposure shots, I gave my self the chance to pick my favourite when compositing. The compositing wasn't the hard job... The hard job was being patient enough to spot remove each individual hot pixels and all of the noise from the really long exposure.



With the help of Google maps and street view, parking for the second quoit was also straight forward. It to had stellar views of the Cornish countryside and old tin mines on the horizon. It seemed to be more popular and well known then the previous. In fact, there was even a group lead by a tour guide. Perhaps it was because of how many people were interested in Lanyon Quoit that I was much more impressed with it. They could even stand beneath it for their selfies.


I got set up as I did for the previous location but my shutter release cable decided to suddenly stop working. To make maters worse, there was only a small amount of area to sit that wasn't covered with cow poo. The quality of cloud also took a turn for the worst, but I didn't want to let any of that stop me from taking a photo. Once I had the place to myself, I fired off a few shots and packed up so the next wave of people could enjoy it.



After a quick snack and a short drive, I arrived at the third quoit's designated parking area (or at least I thought it was that). Presented to me were two paths and I began to walk aimlessly along my chosen route. Peaking out of a distant hill was what appeared to be Chun Quoit. Never did I think I have to walk that far (even with shortcuts). I was willing to commit to the muddy, hard to navigate paths, but I had to give up after about an hour. However, what remains of "Chun Castle" is just another short car journey away so I would still recommend the area to those who know what they're looking for. In the end, I just had to be happy with what I already got from the day, and had to have faith in what was to come.


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