“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” –– Marcel Proust
Rarely out of view on the horizon at and around both of the homes I grew up in, the Brisons in a way feels like the closest thing to a guardian angel I have had all my life. The twin peaks of these distinctive rocks stand about a mile off Cape Cornwall and keep watch over the coastline of the St Just-in-Penwith area.
By all accounts ‘Brisons’ comes from the French ‘Brisant’, meaning breaker or reef, and the story goes that the rock resembles, and therefore represents, General Charles de Gaulle lying on his back. Why he’s out there, taking a bath in the icy Atlantic, we can only wonder…
The Brisons has been the closest thing to a guardian angel I have had all my life.
During the annual Cape Sports Day held at Priest’s Cove – one of the small rocky beaches beneath Cape Cornwall – brave swimmers undertake a daunting one-mile race from the Brisons back to the beach. The event, which has taken place for decades, tests the metal of the strongest and most experienced of swimmers, several of whom have been carried off to distant headlands in rip tides, or rescued from exhaustion by accompanying boats, over the years.
For those wanting a more leisurely (albeit windblown) way to get close to the Brisons on Cape Sports Day, there are opportunities to take trips from the beach out to the islet with local fishermen in their trusty wooden boats. Growing up, we were aware of a solitary sea lion having made the Brisons his home and we used these trips to try an spot him. Only recently when asking how the old critter was doing was I sad to hear that he’s no longer with us.
There is a great walk you can do where The Brisons doesn’t often leave your view, details below.
–– Rosie Pentreath, April 2018.
Walk: St Just to Botallack, via Cape Cornwall
TIME: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES ONE WAY
SOUNDTRACK TO THIS POST: ‘OAKWOOD’ BY ANGUS & JULIA STONE