In 2004 Boscastle went from historic Cornish village to flood survivor in a few minutes. I didn’t know about this event until I was home and learning about Hurricane Harvey, the first storm of this type to make landfall in the United States in 12 years. Some spots in Texas received 40 inches of rain, making Harvey the wettest hurricane on record. The rains that lashed this ancient Cornish village 13 years ago caused a 10 foot wall of water to flow rapidly through it.
Boscastle is 4 miles from Tintagel, Ruth & my real reason for being in this area. Actually preferring it to tourism-driven Tintagel, we wandered around Boscastle for some time and really liked it. I wish we had visited its Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, which probably enhanced its name after Harry Potter became a hit, instead of spending so much time avoiding the shops in Tintagel.
After I learned about the flood, I looked at several photos of the hotel (seen above), the fully restored but aged Wellington, where we stayed, with water flowing around it as if it was a castle with a treacherous moat. The village has been so authentically restored that visitors have to be told about the flood, which caused no loss of human life, in order to understand Boscastle.
In 2004, 75 vehicles quickly washed into the Atlantic Ocean and 100 businesses and homes were destroyed. Ironically, the Valency River that looked so sedate when I took its picture caused a problem the day of the flood. The village bridge over it constricted the flow of water and made matters worse.
Now completely restored but with fewer attractions, Boscastle remains one of the few harbor villages in Cornwall. It is a fine base for exploring the area, and the South West coast path that winds from Boscastle to Tintagel is a highly rated experience but, we heard, time-consuming and difficult in places. Many veteran walkers hike to Tintagel from Crackington Haven, which was also devastated by the flood.
My favorite thing about Boscastle was Tintagel ale. Most of its pubs survived the inundation and the Cobweb Inn served it. Several men but no women told me that it was the best ale the world, and it was pretty close to perfect even though I prefer the American way of serving beer and ale chilled.