Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Holly Days

This time last week I was in one of the most beautiful places in England and, in my opinion, possibly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I'm so fortunate living in Somerset, I'm surrounded by gorgeous countryside and stunning coastlines but my heart lifts just a little every time I cross the border into Cornwall.

This post is about our holiday but it's also for Holly who, although she now lives in Canada, spent much of her childhood not far from where we were.

Here's a little reminder for you Holly:

Originally we had planned to start our holiday on the Bank Holiday Monday, travelling down mid afternoon in the hope that most of the traffic would be north bound but, as in the way of the English Bank Holiday the forecast was dire so we postponed for a day and set off late morning on Tuesday.

The weather was GLORIOUS and the closer we got to Cornwall the better it was.

We stayed on the same campsite as last year.  If you want to read about last years holiday, how Miss Mac broke my nose, how I got my revenge by dying her blue, vegetarian road kill and learn a little Cornish dialect then take a look here and here.

This year Miss Mac brought a friend with her.  The part of Cornwall we stayed in is fairly remote and the campsite, although beautifully maintained and in a gorgeous setting is basic (which is why we chose it).  There is no club house, pool, evening entertainment and there is no WiFi so it only seemed fair that she had some company other than us.

We set up camp fairly quickly wanting to make the most of the day and then headed down to Porth Curnow beach.  The walk from the carpark to the beach takes you down a winding lane past beautiful houses and this:

Gunnera manicata or giant rhubarb

This is one freaky looking plant!  Bear in mind that I'm 6ft tall and this stuff towered above me.  Some of the leaves are 4ft across and the giant spiky flowers that look like something out of a twisted fairytale are 2/3ft long.

Part way down the path SD and I detoured to the right and, rather than taking the path to the beach we headed for the cliff path and the Minack Theatre.

The Minack is an open air theatre set in the cliff, you can read a little of it's fascinating history here.  There was a performance on that evening with several hundred people queueing at the top to get in so unfortunately we couldn't go for a wander around this time but here are some photos taken on the way up:

Me trying not to look terrified (although I am a complete woose when it comes to heights!)

And again with Porth Curnow beach in the background
It was a beautiful evening and we ended it eating dinner outside at the Cable Station.  Porth Curnow itself also has a fascinating history, as a major submarine communications station (hence the name of the pub). You can read about it here if you are interested.

Our second day was spent in Penzance, preplanned as the forecast had been for cloud and showers.  In the end the weather wasn't too bad and we had a lovely day wandering the streets and drinking coffee in a great little cafe that couldn't seem to decide if it were Hungarian, French, Dutch or Cornish.  On the menu was traditional Cornish cream teas, breakfasts of croissants, goulash soup and the most amazing looking French pastries run by a lovely Dutch couple.

I'd given Miss Mac some spending money and sent her off with her friend to do their own thing.  Miss Mac's favourite purchase of the day?

A loaf of white bread!

She's always complaining that I only buy wholemeal or seeded bread so she bought her own.

The following day we woke up to wall to wall sunshine.  SD and I headed left on the cliff path to Lamorna while Miss Mac and friend headed right back to Porth Curnow.  To be honest, I really didn't expect them to make it the whole way there.  It's only about 4 miles but anyone who's ever walked the cliff paths of Cornwall knows that distance means nothing on that kind of terrain.  Miss Mac had walked it with us last year but I was worried that she had forgotten just how hard it was.  In the event I had misjudged them and they DID make it all the way calling in at several coves on the way and then they got the open top bus back to the top road and walked the last mile back to camp.

I've been to Lamorna before but I've never walked the cliff path there, it was BREATHTAKING!


High up on the cliff - we had walked from the second furthest point you can see and still had a way to go.

One side of Lamorna - it's impossible to photograph the whole thing in one shot as the bay is almost U shaped.

We sat and drank coffee for a while and then headed back via the road and bridle path, a much shorter and easier route.

The path took us past the Merry Maidens, a circle of standing stones that are almost as well known as Stonehenge and, just past them we came across this new and very odd garden.  It's a beautiful walled garden in the middle of nowhere with no house attached to it.  I've no idea why it's there, it wasn't last year and there is no sign of any building work but someone has spent a lot of time making this garden.

Friday was our last day and we packed up camp and headed for Sennen.  This beach is MASSIVE and well known for surfing.

But there's so much more to see at Sennen:

It's still has a small but active fishing community

The Roundhouse and Capstan gallery

Lovely old cottages many of which are holiday lets.

Possibly the only downside to Sennen is the very steep walk back up to the carpark:

The perspective isn't great in this photo but those tiny dots on the right are people on the beach and the black square is actually quite a large building.

It all proved a little too much for these two and they finished the climb on their hands and knees!

We had, as ever, SUCH a good time in Cornwall.  If the weather holds (and I here tell of an Indian Summer!) then we will try to get one more weekend down there camping this year or, failing that, head for Newquay in the October half term and stay in a B&B.

So, that was just a part of my Summer, so much else has been going on and hopefully I will find some time to tell you about it.

Hoping your summer was as great as mine!


K Ville said...

I love Cornwall, I really do but I can never bring myself to book a holiday there because of the unpredicatable weather.

That was a lovely read. I good diary for you to look back on.

Sarah said...

I know what you mean K - Cornwall's micro climate means the weather is often better there than in the rest of the UK but it can be a risk. We are lucky being only a couple of hours away so worse case scenario, we could come home again (luckily it hasn't happened yet!) and we don't tend to book ahead, we just call to check availability.

joeh said...

That does indeed look like a beautiful area...love the ocean, and those plants are huge...unless as I am sure has already been suggested, you are really tiny.

Sarah said...

It really is Joe - the sea is often green and turquoise and so clear.

Ha ha, in the words of Father Ted (pointing to some toy cows) 'These cows are very small and those cows (pointing to some in a distant field) are far away ..'

But in this case, I'm tall and the plant is bloody HUGE!

ann said...

Wow stunning photos.
Sounds like you had a great time. I am off to check out last years disaster/holiday!!

bettyl-NZ said...

What lovely scenery of the ocean. And I adore those old stone buildings!

Sarah said...

I had a fantastic time Ann - slightly less disaster ridden than last year fortunately!

Cornwall is full of beautiful old cottages like that Betty, it really is the most stunning place.

Holly Nelson @ English Girl Canadian Man said...

I know that hill back up from sennon very well! Better than paying the premium prices in the car park below though! Those cliffs are so familiar! It makes me happy. I am glad you got to see t he merry maidens, I loved seeing them!

Sarah said...

It's a hell of a walk back up Holly but so worth it, glad you like the photos.