Tag Archives: Cornwall

Friday Fictioneers – The Vigil

ff030615From atop the cliffs overlooking Trezawna beach, she watched. It was another near moonless night – nought but a single, distant, silver star cast its reflection upon the dark waters of St. Gorren Bay.

Once still seas were slowly moved to anger by a strengthening, bitter, autumn breeze. Within the folds of her woollen cloak their infant son slept, warm and safe. Eliza wiped away a tear, before beginning the long walk home.

More than half a year may have passed since he’d sailed, but she would still be back tomorrow at nightfall, expecting to see the light of his return.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge. 

Advertisements

Tour De Cornwall – Week 2

At the end of our first week we moved to the north of Cornwall for our second seven night home. This is the story of that week. We will continue exactly where we left off.

Day 9 – Having left Loweneck Barn we made our way north. Destination was Talehay holiday cottages which was south of Liskeard and not far north of Polperro and Looe. We left the barn at around 9:30 and the journey was only scheduled to take around 90 minutes. Not being able to check in till 3pm meant we had time to kill. Therefore instead of heading straight for the cottage we made for Bodmin. Parking was easily found right in the heart of Bodmin. The tourist information centre was only yards away. Just next door was a free admission museum of Bodmin history. Donation was expected but we literally had no money so “sorry” for being cheap skates!

A walk through Bodmin town centre was if truth be told underwhelming. Bodmin had an “end of the line” feel with the high street not what you would maybe expect in a well known Cornish town. It was functional but not a street or indeed town centre you would be rushing back to. Apologies to any locals reading this but that’s just the way we felt. We had no plans to return on our week in the area and we didn’t. After Bodmin we made for Liskeard where we stocked up on our supplies. A bite of lunch and soon time was rolling round to mid-afternoon so we headed for Talehay.

corn13Thanks to the wonders of the web and Google Street View we knew what to expect when arriving at Talehay and we weren’t disappointed. Superb location with an excellent selection of cottages. The owner lived in the main building but most of the property was given over to holiday lets. Ours was called “The Barn” and in the picture to the left is on the right hand side of the building in focus. Lounge and kitchen downstairs with one double bedroom and pleasant modern bathroom upstairs. Small but perfectly adequate for our needs.

After a chat with the owner we settled into the Barn and spent the rest of the day on site.

Day 10 – As with the previous Sunday we decided to leave the engine switched off today and use foot power. A look at the OS map showed Polperro was only four or five miles away so off we set. An enjoyable ramble through the Cornish countryside followed. The now expected narrow single track roads with high hedges. The sun was out and it was a lovely day for a walk. After 90 minutes or so we reached what turned out to be the top end of Polperro. Unfortunately a map reading error convinced us, err me, that Polperro wasn’t straight on (which it was) but right up a hill. Net result of this map reading malfunction was that a five minute stroll down into Polperro actually took us up hill and down dale, through farm land and eventually into Polperro from the other side. In short what should have been five minutes took more like an hour. But hey, it was a nice day and we saw more of the surrounding countryside that we would have otherwise!

corn8Polperro is exactly as it says on the tin. A classic Cornish fishing village. Another description would be a tourist hot spot. Even on a Sunday in early season the village was packed. The narrow streets perhaps make it feel busier than it is but I wouldn’t like to be in town in high summer. Must be pretty claustrophobic! The picture to the right shows Polperro harbour. We sat down close by and ate our well earned lunch.

After lunch we continued to wander round the village. Eventually we decided to head for home. This time we would follow the main road. First thing to note there is a serious lack of pavements around here. The steep uphill hike out of Polperro had to be done walking into the oncoming traffic. Not a problem but not very walker friendly on a really busy day. After a couple of miles we did veer off the main road back onto the country lanes and were grateful to be away from the traffic again. With feet beginning to ache we reached Pelynt and another mile or so later were home. In total something like 11 miles were covered and we had certainly earned our scones when we got back to the Barn.

Rest of the day was spent at home with two dogs fast asleep in front of the fire.

corn18Day 11 – Just along the coast from Polperro is the much larger town of Looe. Talking of large the car park we used must be the largest car park I’ve ever seen. Must have been umpteen football pitches worth. If it ever gets full then Looe would have to be full to bursting. That said I’m sure it probably does get full in summer as Looe like Polperro is aimed firmly at the tourist market.

The town is actually split in half by the East Looe river. On the east bank there seem to be more holiday lets, hotels and residential areas. The west side is where all the chip shops, pasty takeouts, pubs and amusements are to be found. Also on the west is the main beach. Unfortunately this was a non dog friendly beach but the slipway near the lifeboat station provided a spot for a canine paddle. An hour or so of Looe and we decided to head on somewhere else. That somewhere else was just up the coast in a nice spot called Seaton. Unlike Looe the beach here was dog friendly and also unlike Looe it was almost empty. A great place to spend some time. We had lunch here before the dogs had a swim. After Seaton we looked at the map and decided to keep going west as we made for Torpoint.

corn9The reason we headed to Torpoint was that it would give us a good view over to Plymouth. As it happened we got more than a good view. To explain. Torpoint has a busy ferry connection to Plymouth with sailings there and back every few minutes. Not by design we ended up in the ferry queue. As it happens we could have got out of it but decided instead to hop aboard and leave Cornwall for Devon. Glad we did as Plymouth was well worth a visit. A huge place in comparison to anywhere we’d visited so far on our trip but just as fascinating. The place everybody has heard of is The Hoe so that was where he headed to. A parking spot right next to The Hoe was found and with the sun beating down we went for a walk.

After the Hoe we set the compass back for Cornwall. One thing to note. In returning to Cornwall you head over the Tamar Road Bridge. This is actually a toll bridge but only on the way from Cornwall to Devon i.e. not the way we were going!

corn22Day 12 – As this was an area Deena had visited as a child two places in particular were familiar to her. The first was Polperro and the second Lostwithiel. Polperro was done a couple of days ago so today it was the turn of Lostwithiel. Straight away it has to be said Lostwithiel was a beautiful little town. Quiet, not particularly aimed towards tourists but none the worse for it. We spent a good couple of hours here. There was a handy little bit of river where the dogs were able to have a swim. Also nipped to the station to watch the Penzance train arrive and head on it’s way again. After that we bought some lunch and dined out by the river. Really did enjoy our time in Lostwithiel. Somewhere I could imagine living if the opportunity ever arose!

corn24Carrying on from Lostwithiel we made for St. Austell and more specifically the village of Charlestown. Here there is to be found something relatively unique, a dog friendly museum! An interesting collection of bits and pieces from the world of shipwrecks and sea faring in general. Was always on alert that the dogs might bark or “cock a leg”. Thankfully they didn’t and instead were on their best behaviour.

corn19Day 13 – Today we decided to have a car free day. We therefore walked the three or so miles from Talehay to Lansallos. The first part of the route was the same as Sunday but after that it was up hill before the walk down into the tiny village of Lansallos. Why did we walk here? Well it’s simple. A dog friendly beach. Not only that a secluded and very quiet spot. Was a fair trek down from the village and for those with small children or prams forget it. Same goes for anyone with a wheelchair. It’s a long, steep and at times narrow winding path down to the cove. Worth it if you can manage but just to be aware that reaching Lansallos is only half the battle!

Ocne there the dogs loved it. Unfortunately Toby took his bark count to new levels. Fortunately those already on the beach also had dogs so didn’t mind. After an hour or so we had the place to ourselves anyway. Whether this was connected to Toby’s barking is unclear!

corn14Day 14 – With just a couple of days to go we agreed that today would be our last road trip. The destinations were Newquay and Padstow. Had been to Padstow before but Newquay was virgin territory. I’ve described Newquay since we were there to people as  Magaluf meets Skegness with surfers thrown in. As far away from somewhere like Lostwithiel as you could imagine. Extremely tourist driven with sandy beaches, pubs, cafes and amusements galore. Almost a Blackpool feel. Nothing bad about that just not the side of Cornwall we were that bothered about seeing. Probably a great place to go for families with kids. For us worth a visit but not somewhere we will likely head back to. The dogs though appreciated the chance of a paddle. Word of warning the car parking was extremely expensive. Almost £4 for just two hours!

After Newquay we headed up the coast to Padstow AKA PadStein after the famous TV chef. Like Newquay, Padstow is also aiming very much for tourists but is a more traditional Cornish fishing village. More our cup of tea. A check of the watch showed it was approaching 2:45. Rick Stein’s chippy closes at 3:00 in the afternoon. Not to worry. Plenty of time and soon we were munching on our second Rick Stein fish supper of the holiday. As ever it was delicious. A walk round the village and when done we headed for home. The end of our last big day out of the holiday.

corn20Day 15 – As with our last day at the first cottage the plan was to stay close to base. Allow some time for a tidy up and to begin packing. Therefore we made for Fowey. This involved a loop round through Lostwithiel for the last time. Said it before but we really liked Lostwithiel. Fowey was similar to Padstow without the Rick Stein outlets everywhere. Enjoyed a pasty and coffee by the water. Confession time. This was actually our one and only locally baked pasty of the holiday. We did have a Ginsters effort in week one but this one today was the only pasty consumed that wasn’t out of a packet. I went against tradition and had Chili in mine while Deena stuck to the tried and trusted ingredients.

Rather than going back via Lostwithiel we instead took the car ferry over to Bodinnick. Takes about a minute and runs all day back and forth. From here we took what is known as the Lanteglos Highway. In rural Cornish terms it is indeed a highway with two lanes and a dotted white line! Extremely rare for these parts but perhaps to do with it being the road to the Fowey ferry. Soon we were back at base and other than one more night in the cottage our holiday was almost at an end.

Day 16 – Up bright and early. Breakfast, one last hoover of the cottage, a chat with the owner and we were off. Took us about eight hours to get back to Larbert and reality. Cornwall seemed a long way away. I think we’ll probably be back!

Tour De Cornwall – Week 1

This year our summer holiday took us to Cornwall. Have been before in our motor-home but with that now for sale (contact me if interested, no really!)  we opted for a holiday cottage. Well two holiday cottages as we split our two weeks just as I am going to split this blog about the holiday. Cottage one was in the extreme southwest, almost at the end of the UK map. The second cottage was nearer the border with Devon. More on week two later. For now here is what we got up to on our first eight and a bit days.

corn21Day 1 – Travelled from home to just north of Bristol. Stayed in a Travelodge in what seemed to be a industrial estate/retail park called Cribbs Causeway. The reason we stayed at a Travelodge is because they allow dogs. As it happens the dogs cost more than us! The accommodation was basic and a touch shabby but for one night you can’t really complain.

On first arriving at the hotel we took the dogs for a walk. In doing so we passed several rooms, which with curtains fully open, gave us a clear view of what was going on inside. Nothing too controversial other than the sight of one guest with one of these in their room. Not sure if he was cooking a chicken but I thought it was worth a mention!

Day 2 – Up early and enjoyed a full “English” at the pub/restaurant adjoining the hotel. For non Brits reading this a full English breakfast is a plate of fried things such as eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms etc i.e. very calorific but sets you up for the day as a one off treat! A lot of the British motel type places are built next to a chain pub such as a Brewers Fayre or a Harvester. This was the latter and the food was most enjoyable. After breakfast we set off south on route to our first cottage.

corn1

After a couple of hours we reached Penzance. Our cottage was another couple of miles south but we fancied a walk around town as it was such a nice day. At this point it’s worth adding that our holiday was taken while UK schools were still in. The Scottish schools traditionally stop for summer at the end of June while in England it’s around the third week of July. This meant Cornwall was likely to be a lot quieter than if we’d gone a month later. This is why we tend to take UK based holidays in June! A walk through the bustling streets of Penzance was followed by a trip to the nearest supermarket to get in provisions for the first few days.

corn7With the clock ticking past three in the afternoon we made our way to cottage number one. Loweneck Barn was to be found down a series of narrow country lanes. Be warned, once off the beaten track in Cornwall most roads turn into single track with surrounding high hedges. Not for the faint hearted but once you get used to them it’s not a problem, as long as you are good at reversing! We were met by the barn’s owners who lived in the beautiful looking house next door. It was a very quiet spot with only the occasional passing tractor to disturb the peace.

A dog walk down by the stream across the road and after that we just enjoyed a relaxing first night in our home for the week.

corn2Day 3 – Due to the travelling of the previous two days we decided to leave the car alone for the day. Instead we went on a walk around the local countryside. Nothing too testing. A few miles to breathe in the fresh air and get the legs moving. When back at the barn thoughts turned to where we would go on our first trip out.

Only other thing to add is the absolute thrashing I handed out to Deena at Scrabble. To be fair I did get all the good letters and in actual fact she did well to keep it as close as she did!

corn3Day 4 – First place we decided to visit was the Telegraph museum at Porthcurno. Fascinating collection of artifacts from when Porthcurno was known as Cable Valley. Excellent presentation from a member of staff is included in the entrance price. Good for children too as there were plenty of buttons to press and bits and pieces to play with. As it was a wet and fairly miserable day the dogs were happy to snooze in the back of our van while we wandered round the museum.

After Porthcurno we went on a drive around the coast through the likes of St. Just, Pendeen and eventually St. Ives. Having bought something to eat we eventually parked in the neighbouring town of Hayle and chewed on our sandwiches. It was now dog time. They needed to run on a beach and have a swim. Unfortunately as we were to find out a lot of beaches in Cornwall have restrictions on dogs. Some they can go on, others not at all all and others only at certain times of the day or year. Today we seemed to find only ones where they weren’t welcome. Eventually we found a small stream leading into the sea which had a bit of sand. Almost like a mini beach and the dogs were happy enough.

If planning to visit Cornwall with pooches then this website shows you which beaches you should head for.

Day 5 – During our trip through Pendeen the previous day we noticed Geevor Tin Mine. The mine closed after an abortive attempt to recommence operations in 1990. Open since 1911 it produced over 50,000 tons of tin in its lifetime. What is now left is in essence a time capsule of the day it closed. At points it feels like the workers might walk back in at any minute. Fascinating place to visit.

corn4Towards the end of the site walk-through you are given a guided tour down an old mine-shaft. This shaft was not part of Geevor and is one which was only discovered when Geevor actually closed. Be warned it is an extremely narrow and low ceilinged series of tunnels so if you are either claustrophobic or larger than the average person you may want to think before entering!

corn5After around three hours our trip to Geevor was complete. We then had lunch on a picnic table in the grounds before a coastline walk to some more mine workings nearby. You can easily fill a whole day in and around Geevor and if you are visiting this part of Cornwall it truly is a “must see” attraction.

Day 6 – Today was the first of two days upon which we went to Falmouth. Somewhere which looked very interesting and well worth a visit was the National Maritime Museum. However, as it would involve leaving the dogs in the van we had to hope for a cool, wet day. As it happens it was probably the sunniest and warmest day of the entire holiday! We consoled ourselves with fish and chips from Rick Stein’s Falmouth cafe which was located near the Maritime museum within Discovery Quay.

Falmouth showed up well in the sunny weather and is somewhere well worth spending a day to fully explore. A brief stroll through the town and it was soon time to return to the car. We hadn’t finished with Falmouth yet as we drove up to a car park sitting just below Pendennis castle. From here you were rewarded with unbroken views over the English channel.

corn16Day 7 – Rain was forecast so we decided to head back to Falmouth. When we got there it wasn’t raining but it was overcast and considerably cooler than the day before. Therefore it was all systems go for the National Maritime Museum. Was well worth the return to Falmouth as the maritime museum was a superb collection of items. A good couple of hours was spent touring its various sections. As we made to leave the heavens had truly opened. A quick dash around the shops within the Quay saw us purchase some much needed scones for the now obligatory daily cream tea.

On the way home we took a trip to Lizard but by this time the rain was bouncing off the road so we turned tail back to the cottage.

Day 8 – Our last full day at our south west base. Decided to not travel too far so first we headed for the village of Mousehole. Located just south of Penzance this village is an extremely popular destination for tourists. If coming by car best to park outside Mousehole and walk down as the streets are very narrow and likely to be filled with people. As we had just recently found out Mousehole was the home village of the Penlee lifeboat crew which was lost with all hands in 1989. We spent an hour or so walking round the entire village. One or two sea front houses caught our eye but not ones we’d be likely to afford! The harbour beach is not dog friendly so just outside of the village we were pleased to find a little cove which did allow the mutts a chance to paddle.

corn6After Mousehole we made for Cape Cornwall which is to be found south of St. Just. This location felt like the end of the road in every sense. A climb up to the Heinz Monument provided stunning views out over the sea. A walk down the other side brought you to the volunteer run National Coastwatch lookout point. From here the seas are scanned for any signs of trouble. From Cape Cornwall we drove back through St. Just and Pendeen before heading home to the barn.

Day 9 – After breakfast and a tidy-up we left Loweneck Barn heading for our second cottage in the north of the county.

The second part of this holiday blog will detail what happened from here until we headed for home.