Penny was a Connemara donkey that was shipped to the UK via Fishguard. Then transported to Exeter and sold at auction going on to Camelford then to Scorrier.
Derek and Jeannie had been in The Plume of Feathers having a drink when they had got talking with Roy Teague, who was both the publican and an animal dealer. She had expressed a wish to have a donkey and Roy Teague had taken her at her word and found one. They had more of a surprise when Teague then told them after arriving to see Penny that she was pregnant. His persuasive style made them decide they had to have her else, Teague had indicated, it was the 'knacker's yard' for them both at some point. Penny was bundled into the back of the Land Rover and they headed home to Minack.
The walks along the cliff tops with the donkeys, first to Carn Barges then inland to the far feeding grounds, above Lamorna Cove, as they called them, gave birth to the walk we now know as 'The Donkey Walk'
When Penny arrived at Minack she was about four years old at the time, a gentle trusting donkey, small but beautiful.
She passed 1st January 1976. She is buried in the Stable Meadow, beneath the elderberry tree, which she loved to stand, in the Stable Meadow.
Ten months after Penny had passed and Mingoose Merlin, a large brown 18 month old registered gelding, born 5 April 1975, by Romany of Hunters Brook, he arrived from Skinners Bottom, in what Jeannie described as Penny's land, near to where they had found and bought Penny.
He had a long woolly brown coat and it covered his legs to that he looked like he was wearing old-fashioned plus fours.
Merlin, after whom the Onion cliff meadows were renamed Merlin Cliff meadows. It followed an incident where they had taken the donkeys for a walk along the path towards the Onion meadow. Both had been let off their halters and Fred, being older and wiser, ambled along while Merlin decided the time was right for an escapade. After much searching he was found standing halfway down the cliff, quivering with excitement watching the Scillonian sail on by.
Merlin was moved with Susie to The Donkey Sanctuary following Derek's death and passed away in 2002.
Susie came from Bodmin. She was around 5 years old and arrived at Minack on 26 March 1986, three days after what would have been Jeannie's birthday. Not wishing to leave Merlin alone Derek had proceeded to occupy himself with the task of seeking a companion for Merlin following Fred's death in January. Susie was being sold by someone in St.Tudy near Bodmin. Merlin's reaction to her arrival was one of utter excitement and joy. She was a small but neat looking donkey, with the black cross on her back clearly showing. She had a loud hoot and was always eager to meet people, especially if they had a carrot or backpack with something delectable inside it!
Like all the donkeys she enjoyed the walks to Lamorna or along the donkey walk to the far feeding grounds.
Susie gained a reputation for being a bit 'boisterous' for which I can vouch but never nasty just a pair of playful happy donkeys.
Susie went to The Donkey Sanctuary with Merlin and she passed in 2008.
Visitors would often bring carrots and chocolate biscuits for the donkeys. Fear of laminitis brought on by lush grass had Derek locking them in the stable, (it turned out it was a pebble in Merlin's hoof) but before he found out he had put them on a diet!