After he reaches Tintagel the book enters a new phase, in which the author goes into some detail on the history of Cornwall. This section gives a good account of Cornish history, but there is always the danger of its losing focus on the central question: that of identity. Not that it is ever completely lost, but the history can obscure the question posed in the book. There is a good account of Cornwall in the Reformation period which reveals the imposition of the reforms at the Reformation. The author goes into historical detail of the Cornish risings of that period, which are sometimes overlooked by the history books, which concentrate upon English history, which is focused in the south with northern forays needed to explain national issues.
But local risings cannot provide a satisfactory basis for the Cornish identity. There was only a small proportion of the native Cornish involved, and they provided no enduring political consequences. The rebels were thoroughly defeated, leaving us with the usual legacy of failed heroes and a popular folk song, The Song of the Western Men. Nothing to celebrate really. Mining and fishing have been considered components of the traditional Cornish identity, and it is true that Cornish people often gained a sense of identity from their mining traditions, but neither is a major player in the economic game these days, so what would be left of the traditional identity these days.. Abandoned tin mines crumble in the rocky landscape, their engine houses standing with the chimneys of their engine houses standing defiantly against the sky. China clay is still mined, but it is not the basis of the whole economy. Fishing is still a Cornish staple, but the fishing fleet is much smaller than it was and only employs a small proportion of the local populace.
Hannigan's hike took him over the granite upland of Bodmin Moor, where the famous Jamaica Inn, renowned for its place in literature and feted as a den for smugglers, is sited. The reputedly haunted site is associated with participants in another of Cornwall's historical customs, smuggling, makes its impacts on Cornish historical tradition, but smuggling is not a socially acceptable activity these days and no one would admit to being involved in it.
Hannigan toys with Cornish identity's being tied up with granite, for a batholith of this enduring stone underlies Cornwall, but it only breaks through to the surface at six places, not all of them large.
His route takes him through tourist towns, Polperro, a popular resort which still has a fishing fleet of inshore boats. He finds a liking for Polperro, and feels that it is preserving something of traditional Cornwall while still recognising the importance of tourism. But even at delightful Polperro he is forced to refer to the problem endemic to the county, the problem of second homes, which are squeezing local people, native Cornish, out of the housing market. He sees these as a threat to the enduring population of Cornwall, which is being driven elsewhere by rich people buying up properties. This is undermining the Cornish identity by destroying the longstanding community on which ethnicity depends.