We were on the track of my husband's ancestors who had been tin miners in the far west of Corwnall... near the little town of St Just. The mine they worked was Geevor, on a barren and bleak shoreline. I am guessing the miners of old would have walked the several miles to and from their place of work.
The sharp eyed will notice that I used Geevor as a reference point in THE GOLDMINER'S SISTER... although at the time the book is set it would have been known as North Levant. It closed in 1891 and the miners dispersed around the world... South Africa, Canada and South Australia where my husband's family ended up in the mines at Burra.
It was reopened in the early part of the twentieth century and despite still being viable, the tunnels ran under the sea bed and keeping the water at bay made continued operation unceconomic and it closed in the early 1990s.
Today it survives as a living museum and afforded us the chance to go down into the earliest workings - dug by hand, no doubt by my husband's family.
It certainly was a long way from the bleak north coast of Cornwall to the hard scrabble of outback South Australia... they were a tough breed back then!