Holiday 2014 – The Return To Cornwall Part 1

Southbound Again (6-9/8)

It’s funny to think that almost a year later we were cruising down the motorway bound for Glastonbury town. In a slight miscalculation I had missed out on getting a place for several nights in Susan’s home town of Wincanton, so while searching madly for vacancies I chanced upon the Travelodge in Glastonbury and decided that we would spend a few days there visiting family and seeing the sights before the second leg of our holiday in Cornwall.

The journey down was relatively straightforward with little in the way of holdups which was always a good thing. I decided that this time I would change the music I was taking with me and try out something a little bit different. This is where our driving music choices differ, Susan usually likes soothing and calming music whereas I tend to go for something with a driving beat.

In an effort to be different we had the godfather of funk James Brown playing on the first part of our trip. Now Susan, being the kind of girl that she is was only interested in the songs she knows and none of the other material no matter how great it sounded. By the time we reached the 15th track she was all funked out so then slipped some Frank Sinatra which was more well received. By the time we reached Glastonbury we were back in the 60’s!

Glastonbury’s Travelodge is situated on an industrial park which is served with a number of different outlets e.g. Tesco, Dominos, KFC & Subway, not to mention B&Q and Travis Perkins if you should find yourself in need of a 4×2! While a somewhat eclectic combination of stores it served its purpose well. It was not until I was stood in Tesco’s checkout that I noticed Glastonbury Tor in the background and thought it would a picture opportunity.

Unfortunately with a 28-105mm I couldn’t isolate the Tor from the rest of the estate, so in a fit of madness I decided that we would take a little walk to try and get a more unobstructed view. After walking a while we passed the town centre and proceeded to make our way towards the Tor itself. We we then faced with what I can only describe as the climb from hell as we made our way up the steep and winding path upwards.

Now the last time I was at the Tor was some 20 years ago and it was hard then but now on a late Summer’s evening it became progressively harder as I was extremely unfit from my years working in Tech Support and carrying more than a few extra pounds. I was out of breath and sweating like a hog but the views were worth it as sunset was approaching and even while the cloud was obscuring the sun occasionally the sky was quite wonderful to look at. The shots I was looking to get didn’t need me to be at the very top so I waited for the light to be just right and squeezed off a couple of shots before concentrating on the sky itself.

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The following day we ventured into the town itself and saw the spectacular ruins of the Abbey which proved to be another great photo opportunity. Now for the uninitiated Glastonbury is something of a oddity as apart from playing host to a large festival (which is really in nearby Pilton) it also has a population of colourful and slightly eccentric individuals who would probably look out of place in any other town but are a perfect fit Glastonbury’s eclectic, modern day “hippy” feel.

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After our final day of visiting various family members we returned to commence gathering our belongings together in preparation for the second leg of our journey. Later that evening I causally glanced outside our window and saw the trees and leaves take on a “golden” hue briefly for a few minutes before fading away. As I had shot most of what I wanted I was happy to let this one pass me by even though we didn’t quite get the same quality of light the on the Wednesday evening.

 

Windmills of the Mind (9-10/8)

We set off on the second leg of our journey and left Glastonbury bound for the Cornish shores of Mullion Cove. On the way along the dreaded A30 we came across a close up view of a wind turbine and then saw several of them together. What really amazes me is the sheer scale of them when you are driving past them, they were hardly tiny windmills but massive structures stretching out into the sky and the blades were like giant arms opening out to embrace the wind like a long lost friend.

As anyone who has travelled down to Cornwall will no doubt tell you the A30 has something of a Jekyll and Hyde personality when it reaches Bodmin as it switches from being a dual carriageway to a single lane while weaving itself along the contours of the landscape. It can be quite a trying experience for the time that you’re on the road. Once we left the joys of the A30 behind we were on more familiar territory navigating our way from Truro to Falmouth and passing by Helston to arrive at Mullion village where we stopped for some supplies.

This time we had picked the “Puffin” bungalow (through Powells Cottage holidays) for a two week break. On initial inspection the bungalow’s facilities appeared to be just right. However I did notice that on our beds there were some broken bits. I suppose it was too much to ask for after spending 3 nights on Travelodge’s Dreamer bed!

With everyone settled and fed from the Galleon chippy, I decided to venture out and take a quick look from overhead of the harbour. At low tide I could see the scale of the damage caused to the rear wall in January’s storms. Not only had part of the harbour wall collapsed due to the tide but also most of the sand had disappeared leaving just shingle in its place. It was quite sad to see but at the same time a testament to those who build the harbours sea wall that it had survived all the ravages that the sea had thrown at it.

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Despite the Met Office warnings about the remnants of hurricane “Bertha” hitting most of the UK on Sunday I decided that as it was nice but windy that we should go out for a much needed walk. To make things easy we went along the northern coastal path. At one point on the way to Polurrian Bay we came across a small bridge with a clear unobstructed view of the sea, and was it windy!

After stocking up on supplies at the local Spar in Mullion Village we took a look around. As you can probably guess lunch consisted of pasties which were very tasty as you would expect down this part of the country.

Later that afternoon I ventured out again with factor 50 sunblock on the northern trail. This time I made it all the way to Polurrian Bay, it’s quite a pretty cove with a wider beach than that in nearby Mullion Cove. It was mainly a mix of sand and shingle but was still pleasant to walk on.

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Sensing that time was passing I decided to head back to Mullion and made the long upwards climb on the steps back to the main coastal path.

That evening I went out in search of some sunset photo opportunities. While the “golden hour” was in full swing I didn’t manage to catch a proper sunset as some clouds on the horizon got in the way.

Undeterred however I still managed to get a few shots of the rocks in Mullion silhouetted against the slowly sinking sun. By that time the wind had picked up a lot and I decided to call it a night and retire with a few beers.

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500 Miles (11/8)

This morning Susan decided she would like to return to the Lizard. Who am I to argue, it’s the most Southerly point on the map and home to some of the most scenic coastline in the whole of the UK. It was bright and sunny with a slight breeze. We made our way to Lizard village some 7 miles away and parked there around 10am before taking a “route march” (her words for anything more than a short walk!) to the Lighthouse. When we got there it was still closed (opens at 11am) so we made our way down the trail to Lizard Point which was fairly busy with some birdwatchers with their spotting scopes. Me and Alex walked right down the steep slope to the base of the old lifeboat shed and looked around. By this time it there was quite a stiff breeze coming in so the girls waited further on up.

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It was funny to see so many tourists with their digital cameras and there I was with my Olympus Trip!

After stopping for some refreshments we stopped briefly at the Lighthouse, I was expecting some ice cream but noticed that my daughter has suddenly become sulky for some reason so we walked back into the village. I then learnt that while we were having a drink we has teased her a bit too much which explained her mood. Both me and Alex received several punches from her and it cost me £4.99 and an ice cream to make it up to her. The moral of this story is if you upset a woman expect to pay up to put things right again!

Now no trip to the Lizard is complete without trying out a pasty. So we went to Ann’s Pasties and had some meat pasties which were *very* filling indeed and surprisingly hot even with the wind blowing.

One of the other Cornish treats you have to experience is that of ice cream. Now forget your Haagen-Daas and Ben & Jerrys offerings I’m talking the real deal here. Only in Cornwall can you get such a diverse range of flavours. I had Bubblegum and New York Key Lime Pie flavours which cost me £3.40 (yes I know but that’s the price you expect to pay when on holiday!) but they tasted fantastic and it took a while to get through it.

We had another look around the village and went down a path that went past “Henry’s Campsite” which I believe is slightly “eclectic” in its choice of decoration. From there we followed the public footpath leading to the coastal trail. Along the way we were treated to some of the most stunning views of the coastline. Once we reached the main trail the girls stayed back away from the wind while me and Alex went further on and found even better views of the coast as well as Kynance Cove in the distance. By this time the wind was blustery so we decided to make our way back to the village the same way we came.

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We were now walking a bit slower than before after several hours and Susan thought it felt more like 500 miles. While I’m sure it wasn’t all that far my feet were sore and my calves were aching in a way I haven’t noticed in a long time. I don’t normally walk anywhere this much back home so it must be a Good Thing (TM)! All in all a very exhausting day out!

 

Lazing on a sunny afternoon (12/8)

After all the previous day’s activities we decided that a lazy day on the beach was in order. Everything was a bit haphazard and not exactly thought through just more “spur of the moment” kind if thing. I thought that Polurrian Bay would be an ideal spot so we made an attempt to drive there.

Unfortunately the closest we could get was the Polurrian Hotel car park, and seeing as we weren’t residents I though it wasn’t worth taking the chance. Today seemed to be a day of sat-nav misdirections. I tried looking up Poldhu Cove but wasn’t on the map. As we were just near Mullion Cove I saw a sign for Predannack which was a mile away, so off we set in search of a beach. When we got there we faced another trail which led to the coastal path but sadly there was no beach. There were however stunning views of the coastline which did make up for it a bit seeing as I had left my camera in the car and had to walk back to get it but it was still worth it.

We returned to Mullion village to pickup lunch which was made up of several cheese & onion pasties which we ate in the nearby park as it was a nice day. Half the day had gone and we still hadn’t found a beach. Off we went again this time I saw Kennack Sands on the sat-nav so we headed towards the Lizard and then went on the wacky trail to Kennack Sands. I swear there were more twists and turns than a corkscrew!

At last we found a beach! We parked just outside of the beach which was handy as they were charging £4 for the day and we had only just arrived. The beach itself was of fine sand which was the sort that can get everywhere if you’re not careful. While there were many families just sunning themselves and eating ice cream there were quite a few people and children with their wetsuits and body boards. The kids enjoyed playing in the rock pools as well as wading into the sea albeit briefly as the tide was starting to come in.

We rounded off the day with a trip to the Cornish Curry Company’s trailer in Mullion.

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The prices were probably a bit higher than back home but the food was excellent. We went for Chicken Vindaloo and Balti as our curries. In comparison to northern curry houses the Vindaloo was not as hot as it could/should have been. The curries themselves were very tasty and flavourful, the chicken was really fresh. A meal for 4 persons with poppadum’s and two dips came to around £33 which I know for some may be considered steep but when you’re on holiday you should be able to enjoy yourself and not sit there counting the pennies!

I rounded off the evening by going out for a walk along the coastal path trying to get a sunset shot.

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As you can probably guess those blasted clouds beat me to it yet again. I did manage to get a few shots in just before the sun disappeared behind the clouds so it wasn’t a wasted trip out.

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