>?> Merlin Mystery at Tintagel <?< 

 January 25th - 27th 2002, Tintagel, England.

The meet weekend ran from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th January, as follows:

Friday - meet up at Camelot Castle Hotel:

The hotel is located on the cliff top, looking down on Merlin's Cave and out to sea. For more info about the hotel click on Camelot Castle Hotel.
Sol and 3L (accompanied by Time Traveller, Nipswitch and Football Hooligan) arrived around midday at the very impressive building that is Camelot Castle Hotel. We were welcomed in, and soon met Ted Stourton (the co-owner) who made us feel at home straight away. Very impressive is the Round Table in the lounge...

which Ted said we could use for our discussions. He also asked that we should all congregate in the lounge at 5pm on Saturday for "something special"!

Also spotted in the lounge and the bar... two knights!

Whilst still finishing our sandwiches, the Dutch and German contingents arrived - Coyseeker and Margriet_Seeker, plus Stefan and 3x7 (who introduced himself as "21" which really confused us LOL). Soon after, Cosmic Stardust arrived with Redherring, Aurora and Leatherman. The group was growing rapidly. The party adjourned to the "Excali-Bar" (yes that is what it is called!) for preliminary discussions (and a drink or three). Redherring got out Mrs Redherring's profiteroles, which were eagerly shared among the gathered questors. Next arrival to the Excali-Bar was Amethyst, followed by Cider. Phone calls from Frodo, and Catherwood/Chinkofsun confirmed that they were on the way, but had been delayed, and would join us later.

Some photos from the afternoon:

the arrival of the Dutch/Germans

discussions in the Excali-Bar

Amethyst finally gets to see what profiteroles are like as Cosmic Stardust tries to intercept them as Redherring passes them over

T-shirts were exchanged, and some people decided to pose for the camera!

the state of the Excali-Bar after an afternoon's hard discussions (note the ghostly crescent moons that appeared on the seats!)

As we were preparing to go out for a meal, the first magical moment of the weekend... Jonathan Gunson phoned the hotel and left a message for 3L - his thoughts were with us all.

Evening meal was taken at the B&B where the Dutch and Germans were staying The Bosayne Guest House. A very nice meal it was too! Here Frodo joined us, a little tired from her journey. After dinner we went round the the "Country Club" where discussion (and drinks) continued.

The plan for Saturday morning was to visit Merlin's cave, and re-enact the spell inside. The tide times had been checked, and low tide was set for 9:21am. The weather, however, had been gale force winds and driving rain since we arrived! We were also warned that access to the beach was very slippery, and the bad weather would reduce the time the tide would be out. It was decided that solstice and Redherring would do a fact-finding mission before breakfast, so at 7:30am they unbolted the doors to the hotel and escaped into... gale force winds, but no rain (yet). A brisk walk down to the beach showed that (even at 8am) 4ft high waves were still crashing against the rocks we would have to walk around to get to the cave, and on the (slighlty less brisk) up hill walk on the way back, it started to spot with rain. Discussing with Coyseeker at his B&B on the way back, we said that if it was raining at 9am then we shouldn't attempt the cave. By breakfast at 9am, we were joined by Catherwood and Chinkofsun, and... it was chucking it down again oustide, so it was a little disappointing for all, and especially those who had not managed to visit the cave on previous visits, that the cave visit was abandoned for the day:

Here was the scene through the window at Breakfast time.

It was decided instead, that we should work through the solution, so we assembled around the Round Table with dozens of copies of MM and notes galore.

3L lead the discussions, asking for volunteers to work through it solid at a time - the volunteer was largely solstice, with help from several others for specific points. Some of the people less familiar with the 7-solids approach now understood how it all worked. Next, as the sea cave was not possible, permission was given for us to re-enact the spell on the Round Table itself! Ingedients had been brought from around the world, and it was set up (with paper on the table to protect it from the salt):

The spell was recited by the assembled questors, with the lighting and extiguishing of candles as dictated.

The full assembled questors/spell readers, left to right:
Coyseeker, 3x7, Stefan, Time Traveller, Frodo, 3L, solstice, Nipswitch, Football Hooligan, Redherring, Cosmic Stardust, Cider, Aurora, Catherwood, Amethyst, Chinkofsun

The Pandas of course were toasted! Later sol and 3L heard of a plot by some questors to throw the pandas from the top of the Camelot Castle Hotel, to see how far they could fly in the gale force winds!!!!!!

...then the second magical moment happened...

3L received a fax from Jonathan Gunson:
"Best wishes, and may the Pendragon Alchemy be with you! Merlin"

Next the questors adjourned for lunch..

at the King Arthur's Arms.

As some of the questors had never seen Merlin's Cave it was decided (as the rain had stopped a bit) that we would visit the cliff top where we could see the cave (but not go down onto the beach). The power of the sea was amazing...

here, the waves can bee seen crashing into Merlin's Cave (centre of the photo).

The rain began again, and people returned to the Hotel, in readiness for the 5pm "something special"...

At 5pm, Ted Stourton summoned us to the Round Table,

turned out the lights, lit some candles, and put on some atmospheric music.

He then revealed he had something for the gathered knights from no other than Jonathan Gunson. First there was a "Merlin's Brew" cocktail, and another called "Camelot", these we sipped as Ted read out a message from JG.

(We have now had permission from JG to publish his words here:)

Ted said "I have a message from Merlin for you all... or from Jonathan Gunson if you please! He apologises for not being able to attend, would love to be there but says he did at least promise some 'whisperings'. He says you will know what he is referring to and has asked me to personally deliver this to you:"

(he then read JG's message...)

Welcome one and all to the Camelot Castle Hotel. And welcome to the table round, especially 3L for drawing all these 'Knights of the Magic Realm' together at this marvellous place. I am not sure what the weather is like at the moment, but remember, it IS January.

I am truely sorry that all good things must pass, that 'The Mystery' is no more, but like the moon and the night, the sun and the day, many other new delights are sure to cross your paths.

I reckoned you would need at least one more piece of magic for this evening, so I have put together a spell - as a toast, the very last spell I shall write. It is just for you, just for here tonight. I guess it is not bad piece of 'doggerel' as far as doggerel goes, but here goes anyway!

With my very best wishes to you all.

Welcome one, and welcome all
For frienships ye have found
Here at Camelot Castle Inn,
Here at the Table Round.

With Alchemy and Dragon's fire
The fortune did unfold,
For with each book the prize did grow,
Grain by grain of gold.

But now yon valiant knights so bold
Must leave behind this quest,
And dream of the friends and the fun you've had
Oh some of these times were the best!

So thank you all for this wonderful moment
It was YOU made the magic for me
So take up your glass and make a toast
The the Pendragon Alchemy

It was wonderfully moving, and Ted read it so well (thank you Ted).

Just as we thought it couldn't get better, Ted then announced that JG had also asked that we should all have something to take home with us - one of Ted's paintings each - some a small original painting, others mounted prints from his paintings. Then finally one more surprise, a special present for one who JG called "The leader of the Knights", 3L. Ted presented her with a large original painting:

as Ted presented the painting, he also read 3L some mystical words of his own. Later he signed the painting, and wrote his mystical words on the back...
"As the sun sets on the mystery,
then surely as light follows light,
a new game must emerge,
you can only free someone into a larger game,
is that not a form of freedom"

We then read out messages from questors who wanted to be with us, but sadly couldn't make it. We toasted each of them in turn. 3L particularly thanked those who had made so much effort to travel to the magic realm from far reaches of the world. We then also toasted all questors who we could remember (a good excuse for a few more drinks). We had another surprise - Martin had sent a parcel of MM related items via Stefan, to be shared out among the gathered questors - thank you Martin! They included "Panda" sweets, MM chanpagne, Butterfly flower pots, and framed plants!

All that was left was for us to eat that evening...

...Ted even gave us permission to eat a take-away on the Round Table!!!!!!

The rest of the evening was spent talking about all sorts of things, including another treasure book "Hidden Treasure" which Coyseeker, Stefan and 3x7 had been working on earlier in the week. The questors drifted to bed.

Sunday morning, and Frodo had to leave before breakfast for her return journey, and others went on their way. A "maybe" was considered for a trip to the sea cave, but alas the weather was worse than the day before. Tears all around as people said their goodbyes, but a few of the hardened questors decided to stop off at Avebury on their ways home:

the weather was wet, but the Red Lion pub served a good Sunday lunch!

A quick trip amongst the muddy stones, and 3L recited a new binding spell, changing the words, so that she bound together the friendships that had been made over the length of the mystery:
"Deadly nightshade shall ye see
'Tis time for the end of the Merlin Mystery"

A quick trip to Chateaux Aurora's before most departed, just sol and 3L plus kids stayed the night, before returning home Monday.

The end of the Mystery, but the start of lasting friendships - hope to see you all again soon!

the quest concludes...
rip the quest

Further details of the meet

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