As shortest day approaches inevitably there are days when it really doesn’t seem to get truly light at all. Winter can bring us gloomy numpty days of dull half light and moody shadows but Cornwall has the perfect antidote to these days – an escape to the sea. Walk along the sea shore as white rimmed waves dissolve at your feet amongst fleeting scats of foam and you will feel invigorated and renewed. On the beach the light is magnified as it bounces off of the water, the gulls’ wheal overhead in their eternal dance with the breeze shrieking their defiance to the waves and more importantly for us the gift of negative ions to lift the mood and soothe the soul.
If you are planning to visit just one fishing village in Cornwall then make it Cadgwith sheltering in the lea of the most southerly point of The Lizard.
There is a timeless air about the glorious jumble of thatched cottages hugging the slipway to the sea where the fishing boats lay on the shingle beach waiting for the tide, just as they always have been over the centuries.
Two rough hewn granite posts topped by jaunty ovoid boulders mark the entrance to Cadgwith giving it a sense of stepping back in time to a carefully guarded community unchanging with the centuries.
We visited St Ives at last this week and found summer seemed to linger on within the bustling streets and thronged harbour even though it was late in October.
The bustling tourist destination of St Ives is so different from the quiet, laid back, world of Mounts Bay and so we eased ourselves gently into the visit by taking the Train from Lelant Saltings. The train runs from here about every thirty minutes so there is never long to wait and the ten minute journey has spectacular views
We made a long planned visit to St Michael’s Mounts this week, finally taking advantage of the gentler pace of life that arrives with autumn in Cornwall. Autumn is such a special time of year – the days are still warm and those special spots are far less crowded – just right for a visit in fact!
St Michael’s Mount has an ancient Cornish name – “Karrek Loos yn Koos” referring back to a time before the swampy forest in what is now Mounts Bay was submerged under the seas. The journey to the St Michael’s Mount today encompasses the long history beginning with the pagan legends of giants, with a causeway at low tide that follows a pilgrim’s path towards a monastic island where the archangel St Michael’ was said to have appeared to the fishermen.
Autumn days brings those glorious days of bright sunshine and cool clear air, days of racing waves trailing plumes of vapour and the thoughts of cosy warm suppers tucked beside the ancient inglenook of a pub high on the moors.
The country lanes are filled with tawny leaves drifting underfoot, the high warm banks dressed in russet bracken now with rich red berries spangling the hedgerows occasionally I meet the occasional walkers clasping an Ordnance Survey map in lanes softly enveloped by autumn at its best.
The changing pace of life of the autumn has finally given us a chance to purge the debris generated by “The Beast from the East with bonfires sending lazy plumes of smoke up into the air.
“Away down to Lamorna” is chorus of a famous Cornish song and I had forgotten just how beautiful Lamorna Valley was, until we drove down through the valley to the harbour again this week.
The tinge of autumn was yet to touch the luscious green of the all enveloping trees in this sheltered valley and summer lingered on for a perfect late autumn day.
We had planned a lunch at the Lamorna Wink before a visit to Chygurno Gardens on one of its last open days before the winter. As the season slips from summer to autumn we’ve already revisited several gardens this year – gardens that we first visited when planning our own gardens and we previously visited the terraced Gardens of Chygurno back in about 2000 just as the first Tree Ferns were planted.
The sea has never seemed bluer than this month as the heat wave changed our lives to a Mediterranean rhythm, as day after day of endless sunshine spread before us. We abandoned work in the afternoons to settle at the seas edge below the red baked clay cliffs of one the little coves that flank the sand of around Perranuthnoe Beach. The tranquil rhythm of the waves slipping idly on to the beach and slight breeze from the sea has been blissful this month in Cornwall with the delicious promise of a swim in the evenings in the mirror calm waters.
I’ve watched the bluebells spring up around the country lanes of Cornwall this week and I spotted the first House Martin, back from its long migration to Africa. These twin augers were enough for me to feel spring was at its peek and summer fast approaching and I knew it was time to visit the fabulous swathes of bluebells in the National Trust’s Godolphin estates ancient woodlands and maybe climb to the summit of Godolphin hill to see the landscape of West Penwith stretched panoramically below me.
Mention Penzance and “The Pirates of Penzance” comes to mind and for sure the Barbary Pirates were still snatching the good citizens of Penzance well into the seventeenth Century, yet explore the solid town of Penzance today and you will find a solid matron of a town, rising above the harbour. Penzance is more of solid, middle of the road, type of dowager, compared to the fashionable thirty something of St Ives but explore and you will find a rewarding companion in the sleepy granite streets, still echoing with memories a whisper of the Medieval town, the seafaring pirates and smugglers and the solid dignity of a former stannary town shaped by the Cornish Tin Industry.
Continue reading “Explore Penzance – Stanary town and harbour” »
Today I’d like to share three of our favourite walks with you – just snaps and impressions but wonderful memories that I’ve treasured over the years.
When a fabulously bright and sunny day dawns in wintertime, the Cornish have a special name for it: – “A day lent from summer” and those balmy sun filled days are perfect for walking in Cornwall and of course making wonderful memories along the way.
Over the years we’ve walked the coastal footpath around the peninsular from Perranuthnoe to Land’ End and then around to St Ives in easy stages and they were a powerful tool in making the winter seem shorter and now, looking back through our albums storing memories to treasure for a lifetime.