St Agnes – Walk Holywell to St Agnes

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

Day three an odd day so it is a walk day, we had a plan to get a bus to Holywell then walk back to St Agnes, however the best laid plans do not always pan out. We were up early and in time to walk up to the bus stop for the 09:32 bus to Newquay. We set out earlier than necessary according to Google maps, I did that thing I have done many times. When you go for the public transport option in maps it includes the time to walk to the bus stop, I have a habit of taking the time as the bus departure not the start walking time.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We were very early for the bus so had a 25 minute wait, but it did turn up which is a good start. We needed to stay on the bus for 22 stops and get off at Cubert Crossroads which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere. It was not obvious where the bus stop was but we decided that walking towards a lay by in the direction of Holywell was the best bet, and it did turn out to be a bus stop. We were a bit late for the bus so we gave it 25 minutes before I convinced Helen we should give up on the bus and walk cross country Perranporth and miss out Holywell. We walked a few hundred yards down the road and lo and behold the bus drove past. Helen was not amused in fact she was hopping mad and I was somehow partly to blame (as logistics manager for the walk). Helen soo cheered up when we spotted some Goldcrest in a tree by the road.

The walk to Perranporth was mainly on a road but not much traffic and it made a change to be in the Cornish countryside rather than a cliff path. We turned towards the sea at the Perranporth golf club and eventually hit the beach and headed towards the town. Helen decided she had walked far enough so I waited for the next bus back to St Agnes with her then headed off up the hill and back onto the coast path, which was a bit of a slog.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

I stopped after half and hour and enjoyed my sandwiches on a sheltered bench with a view. The path then headed even higher and passed some fairly significant mine sites and some very interesting geology, wtih layers of dark rock in a mainly lighter quartz or silica rock. There was also lots of mine spoil so much so in fact they appear to have dug a path through it for the coastal path. The route took me around the back of the Perranporth airport where a plane kept taking off and landing not sure if it was flight lessons or flight tours.

Eventually I came to the path that descends steeply into Trevellas Cove, where a sign suggest no walking around the beach to St Agnes. I threw caution to the wind as the tide was far out. It was a bit tedious stepping from rock to rock but it saved another massive up section then another down to get to St Agnes. Helen was wandering on the beach when I got there looking for the seal she had spotted the evening before, it seemed to like looking at the surfers from a safe distance. We had a regular half, well in my case a pint as I had done 10 miles of coastal path, then we headed back to the hut.

St Agnes – Trelissick and the Roseland Peninsula

Portscatho panorama
Portscatho panorama

Day four even number meant a relaxed non: walking day, our initial aim was Trelissick and National Trust property with extensive gardens, then we would see whare the wins took us. We left the house at 10:00 and arrives at Trelissick at 10:30 perfect timing of the house opening times.

We first headed to the house and had a look around, the contents were quite bear and I overheard some mentioning that all of all the content was from when the hose contents were auctioned off. Then we headed to the orchard garden area where there are lots of exotic trees. By then it was coffee and cake time a fruit slice went down nicely.Finally we walked out to the end of the Peninsula with fantastic views of the Fal estuary.

St Mawes harbour
St Mawes harbour

Trelissick is near King Harry’s ferry to the Roseland Peninsula we decided to give it a go and take a look at the isolated finger of land. The ferry saves a 27 mile round trip. To get on the ferry we left Trelissick and turned right, on to a road that steeply descends down to the river level. We did not need to wait to take the switch back and drive onto the ferry, infact we were the penultimate car on board. The cross does not take long, less than 5 minutes I would say. We headed first down to St Mawes the biggest population center on the peninsula.

We ignored the signs to parking instead choosing the signs to the castle which is an English Heritage property. We did not stop at the castle but carried on round to the sea front and were happy to find a space in the harbour car park. We had a sandwich  in one of the seafront establishments, my crab sandwich was generously filled, bit no cheap at £9.95.

Portscatho limpets
Portscatho limpets

Next we headed to St Antony the end of the less popular peninsula, where there is a gun battery from the war which we found out includes a bird hide. We walked out to the bird hide via a walled path, presumably to protect the soldiers. From the hide we the view was of a cliff opposite, which  we thought strange but then we realised that we were probably looking for a Peregrine Falcon, and we did manager to see it dive after prey. After a look around what was left of the gun battery then we drove back up a different road up the peninsula to a village called Portscatho which has a history of artists living there/ It was a quiet place and we had a walk around and a look at the beach.

It was time to head back to the ferry where I took to the opportunity to get a couple of timelapse sequences. The queue for the ferry was pretty short as one was half way across when we arrived. Truro traffic was busy, we went to Waitrose for some salad for tea, and got back to the hut just oafter 18:00 with plenty of time before Back Off started.

St Agnes – Trerice NT and metal detecting

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

A high was pushing away a bank of rain overnight but it had not done its job by morning. We decided a more less energetic day was in order, so we would start at a National Trust property called Trerice less that 30 minutes drive. It turned out to be an interesting drive as the satnav insisted on a single track lane for a significant part of the journey.

We arrive just before the house opened which was perfect timing. The house has quite old original bit is a very good state of maintenance. Quite a small house but interesting stuff within. I had to sample the famous lemon meringue pie in the café which went down nicely with an americano. We killed time a little writing postcards, to get that holiday task out of the way and to give the weather front a bit more time to move along.

Portscatho view
Portscatho view

We had a look around Newquay and parked up at Fistal beach to see if there were any surfers out, it was raining and wind swept there were not a lot of surfers out. Then we headed to Crantock beach stopping off at the village shop for some metal detector batteries, then parked up at the beach and headed out with the metal detector.

It took a while to get our hand back in but we did eventually find some stuff including a tent peg, a couple of screws, some tin cans and a few bottle tops, we are not going to get rich. Next we headed to Truro to get some provisions, from the Cornish shop at Waitrose this time beetroot salad and a mushroom salad. Back at the hut we headed down to watch the surfers taking advantage of the last of the summer, then had a half at the pub.

St Agnes – Walk to Chapel Porth and back

Stuff at St Agnes harbour
Stuff at St Agnes harbour

Our first day on holiday so we thought we would be better to go easy to test our legs, although I had been walking a lot this year most of the walks had been flat, the Cornish coastal path is far from that. Our plan was to walk to Chapel Porth and back trying to make a circular route.

We started by walking down the road to the beach but took a left at The Driftwood Spar freehouse. The road was very steep and we eventually came to a twee little mobile home park in which the homes were all like large sheds or chalets. We joined a foot path there and then a track. There is quite a lot of activity at the top above the village of St Agnes, there is a rugby and foot pitch probably because it is the nearest flat piece of land. There was also a lot of building work going on with some new houses being built and others being renovated.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We find that the foot paths in Cornwall are not that well sign posted and we eventually could not find the path we wanted so we ended up walking along a road but found a convenient bench with a view for a rest. Whilst sat there we saw lots of modern Jaguars drive past the turned towards the sea and the car park near the coast watch hut.

We headed in land too but took a footpath that took us west and closer to the sea. The path became quite steep at loose under foot at one ppoint but we made it to the bottom of the valley where there was a National Trust car park, WC and importantly a small cafe shack where we got a drink and a flapjack to share. We consumed out beverages down on a large rock on the edge of the beach, then we went for a wander to look at the rock pools.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We headed back keeping to the offical coast path all the way, it was steep exiting the valley but we took a rest halfway up at a tin mine building with a bench next to it. The sandwiches we had made earlier went down a treat, and a view over the sea to go with it.

The final stretch down towards St Agnes was tough on the knees which were out of practice for hill, note to self do the Ridgeway path with all it’s ups and downs to get your knees in trim. Just on the edge of St Agnes we came across a group of 4 just about to launch a small drone with a very sophisticated controller, the strap told me it was Parrot gear. I sat and watched it being lauched then I looked over the bay, next thing I know I heard the bloke flying it saying “It has never done that before” as they all looked over the wall then climbed to look down the cliff. They had lost the drone some how, I did a good job not laughing as I left hem to it and headed down into the village.

Flower closeup
Flower closeup

We stopped at the pub and had a swift half, before heading back to the hut, where I polished off one of the scones that had be on the hut when we arrived, the clotted cream from the fridge went nicely on top followed by some strawberry jam. We lounged about for a bit before heading back to the pub for some more beer and something to eat.

I had a pint and the baked skate wing special which was very nice. We shared are table with another couple who were interested in my map app. After eating we went to look at the sea and there was another man flying a drone, however this one came back to him.

St Agnes – The journey there

St Agnes beach view
St Agnes beach view

September is a traditional late year holiday, and this year unusually the the family get together was not happening so rather than two weeks we are only taking the one. We were off to St Agnes in Cornwall. We have never been there before but we have been further north and further south up the Cornish coat before.

We planned to leave about 08:00 but I was up earlier than anticipated and we got away at 07:30. I had been saving Archers episodes for the journey so we had the hour long special and the 5 following episodes to watch. We weren’t that impressed with the trial episode probably because with the Archers you get to know the characters but this episode was with a jury of unknown characters, even if some of them were familiar actors. We decided taking the A303 because it avoided the M4/M5 junction at Bristol. We were happy with out decision because we got to Killerton National Trust without any traffic issues.

Wheal Coates near St Agnes
Wheal Coates near St Agnes

Killerton is a smallish house and had an exhibition around the craft of weaving and making wool, which has links to the property. We had a look around the house then some lunch in the cafe and made our way on to Cornwall our planned destination Trelissick on the south of Cornwall.

Things however did not go to plan when we got to the A30 there was a sign suggesting that we should take the North road to North Cornwall instead. Helen did not feel that that was the best course of action, and convinced me, so I turned back and got on the A30 which  looked OK with light traffic. We made good headway until we got to the road works for the new dual carriage way across Bodmin, where we  spent 45 minutes in queuing and very slow traffic. It looked like we would nboit be able to take in Trelissick and in fact Helen needed to phone the people and let them know we would be later than anticipated.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We stopped off in Truro for some provisions, we got some great salads from Waitrose Cornish section. Strangely you have to pay for the Cornish stuff in the Cornish section, we did not know that and at the till we were told we needed to go back and pay for it.

We got to the cottage at about 16:45 it was fairly easy to find, and the owners who live next door were very welcoming. We unpacked and then went for a walk down to the sea, where we found a fish and chip shop as well as a pub that sold real ale. There was no beach to see but the tide was fully in. Everything looked good for an excellent week on holiday.

Body boarding in Croyde Bay

Relaxed start to the day for me but three of the party went down to the beach at seven in the morning for a swim. Well I say seven but in reality even though Helen had prepared her stuff, she was still ferreting around and rustling about in our bedroom at 07:30! I got up at about 08:30 and made myself some breakfast, black cherry jam on toast and a mug of coffee.

The other came back at about 09:00 they had managed to get wet up to the ankles (ed: it was above the knee!) and complained that the water was cold. We sat around deciding what we should do with the rest of the day and someone suggested some body boarding. Great idea, so C & T and I got into our swimmers and headed down the lane to find an establishment that would rent out the kit. Our first stop was Baggy Lodge Surf Hire but there seemed to be no one on duty, so after trying to get some attention we headed down to the Croyde Surf school.

The surf school did not hire out kit without lessons but they kindly pointed us in the direction over the other side of the road where the caravan park shops are. We headed over and were soon kitted out with wetsuit, boots, gloves and a bodyboard each. We used the shops changing rooms to squeeze ourselves into the wetsuits, then wandered back across the road to the beach. We left Helen looking after the kit on a handy rocky outcrop and headed to the waves.

Surprisingly in a wetsuit the keeps you warm in the sea, unless you put your back into the wave then the water goes right down the neck and through the wetsuit giving you an all over chill. Being novices we took some time to figure out how to catch a wave, but after about half an hour we had figured that you needed to be not too far out, and wait for the wave that sucks you in before you launch yourself forward using the purchase you get from your feet on the sea bed.

Rather than go back to the shop we walked back to the hut to have a shower and extract ourselves from our wetsuits. Then I drove down to the shops with Helen and dropped off the gear. We had also decided to stay in and I had volunteered to cook pasta for dinner.

I had seen a recipe in the Tesco magazine for baked chick peas and J had purchased some while they were out for a walk near Appledore. You bake them with a teaspoon of olive oil and smoked paprika to which you add honey and seeds for the second part of the bake. It took a lot longer than the recipe but I think it was a combination of the oven and the fact I did double the quantity. I will try again at home, with my own trusted oven. They tasted fine with extra time in the oven.

I had a portion of the cheese cake I made earlier in the week. The middle was not divine but the edges were still split, so the fridge is not the answer. We watched the bake off then went to bed, C, T & J were going on a Lundy boat trip on Thursday the rest of us were undecided.

Pirate golf at Woolacombe and a long walk back

Grey start to the morning and another leisurely preparation for the day. We left in two cars to drive to Woolacombe for a round of Pirate golf. We took the really small lanes via Georgeham to Woolacombe, I suspect there may have been a longer but takes the same time route further in land. We had to do a lot of giving way, and had to reverse once. Confusion with  a cyclist meant we had to sit behind them as they cycled up the road. The cyclist waved us past but in the confusion we missed the opportunity to pass and then the road narrowed, the cyclist shook his head in disgust!

At Woolacombe we parked up they have a car park where you pay £3 if you leave before 13:00 and £5 if you leave after 13:00, which means if you turn up at 16:00 and park for even 5 minutes it will cost you £5, is that the most  expensive parking around? The pirate golf is an unusual 15 holes, and although it has a pirate theme that is more the surroundings than the golf itself. Each hole is basically a straight forward rolling patch of green carpet, some of the holes are in dips which makes getting a hole in one fairly simple and keeps people moving on. T was winning most of the time, until C awarded him a 7 on one hole, then I got a hole in one at the penultimate hole and pipped everyone for the win.

We grabbed a pasty from a little bakery on the front then headed down to the sea front benches to meet the non-golfers. Next activity was either the slot machines or a walk back. I opted for the walk back. We wandered down the beach along Woolacombe Sand towards Putsborough Sand. On the way we saw a dead young seal washed up, and a plastic crate that had what looked like mussels on stalks, they were still alive and were putting out tentacles as if they were trying to taste the sea. A look on Google when I got back but could not figure out what they were. At the Putsborough cafe I had a coffee and a slice of Banana Cranberry and Orange cake which was nice. At one point a squall passed over so we waited for the rain to stop, people taking shelter by returning to the cafe.

Next was the slog up out of the bay and onto the coastal path towards Baggy Point, about half a mile round we were hit by another squall and I had to get the poncho out, but it has seen better days and only managed to keep the worst of the rain off, luckily it was windy so we dried out quickly once the rain stopped.We decided not to go right round the point and took the route over the top that comes down into the national trust car park, but we sneaked over a field and came down just above the hut. The others got back an hour later. T ran back to Woolacombe to pick up his car!

For dinner we grazed on the contents of the fridge, most of it healthy.

A gentle walk from Saunton Sands to Croyde Bay

We woke a a reasonable 08:30 to rain, as expected, so we took our time with breakfast, followed by some card game version of Monopoly. By about 11 the rain had stopped and the weather looked good for taking photos. C&T were planning a bike ride and the others were going to Saunton Sands, so I hitched a ride.

I walked for a while on the beach at Saunton there were some surfers and bodyboarders. There was also a kite surfer, I think because the beach is not  patrolled by the RNLI and as such kite surfers are allowed. It seems that kite surfers are often not welcome on beaches.

We walked about half a mile down the beach and then the others decided to head into the burrows, I chose that moment to head back to Croyde on foot, the burrows are sand dunes and therefore hard going under foot. I purchased some Polos from the souvenir shop, then headed up the stepped path to the famous hotel, and sneaked through the car park. Rather than the coastal path which heads high up above the road, and for a good part of it the view is obscured by the bushes. I thought it might be possible to walk below the road on the field.

It turns out you can’t walk in the field despite what looked like a path, so I ended up walking up the road. There are a few parking spaces along the road and I stopped and sat on the wall and took a time lapse of the view across Saunton Sands. At the end of the road the coastal path crosses and I was able to get down to the sea, for another time lapse. The tide was out so  was able to walk straight across Croyde Bay which saves a lot of time. The hut is across the bay and up the coastal path, and there is a jetty you can take to get just about 100m from the hut.

Dinner was to be a fish and chip supper from the best chip shop in Braunton, South Sixteen fish and chips I volunteered to go and collect. After dinner we were planning some card games.

Walking to Baggy Point and cooking dinner

Early but slow start with a leisurely breakfast. Some of us left the house at about 10 for a walk to Baggy Point and round to Putsborough Sands for a coffee before heading back over the top. The weather was a bit grey so I put my 50mm on the camera which forces you to think a bit more, rather more than I do when I have my favoured wide angle lenses. Part way round we lost two of the walking party as they headed over the top to get back to watch the Davis cup matches.

At the Cafe there was a rush on and it took some time to get J and I a coffee and a portion of chips each. The trouble with going to the Cafe us that it is a long descent so to get back over the top we had a fierce hill to climb, however once tackled the rest of the way back to the north end of Croyde Bay is level or down hill. The path follows old farm tracks where you can see the way carts have worn ruts in the bedrock just below the surface. We also had to follow the path of a stream which had been paved with breeze blocks to make walking dryer.

The tennis finished Murray won but not without making it look difficult, then we turned over to watch rugby world cup matches. I had volunteered to cook and spent the afternoon in and out of the Kitchen. On the menu was my usual tomato pasta sauce, my new favourite roast cauliflower and hazelnut carbonara, and a BlackBerry baked cheese cake, with the berries coming from the bushes just up the lane from where we are staying. There were plenty about but not at the edges, they grow low so it was easy enough to kind of walk on them without getting too scratched by the brambles.

Timing for dinner went well with everything ready within 5 minutes of of the predicted 19:00. All the dishes went down well, I was pleased with the  cauliflower dish I seem to have cracked it, so it will now be part of my small repertoire. The cheese cake was not as good as I thought it might be perhaps it was still a bit warm but it seemed a bit split. Not sure what I need to do to fix it?

Downton starts again tonight so it will be a late night all of 22:30 before it finishes, so a lay in tomorrow will be the order of the day.

Holiday centre change from Cornwall to Devon

Holiday change over day, from Cornwall to Croyde in Devon, and from just me and Helen to Helens family and hangers on. We were up early and ready to leave the hut at 09:30 without any trouble at all there was not much to tidy, so we had time for a leisurely breakfast.  Helen prides herself on leaving holiday properties tidily, today was no exception, ensuring the mantle piece items were repositioned where we had found them.

We took the coastal A39 which winds through the Cornish and Devonshire countryside, the sun was shining and the atmosphere pretty crystal clear, so the drive was a pleasure. We passed through quite a few familiar places from holidays past. At Bideford we passed the turn off to Croyde but we had planned a detour to the National Trusts Arlington Court where our first priority was coffee and cake in the Cafe. The gluten free lime and coconut cake went down a treat with a large americano.

Arlington Court was or is home to the Chichester family which are related to Sir Francis Chichester who sailed around the world single handed at a time without GPS. (ed: bloody good book). The house itself is full of shells, stuffed birds and model boats, it seems that they were a family that liked collecting stuff. The last of the house even had a museum wing to store all of it that somehow there was no room for on the house itself. We left Arlington Court at about 13:00, time for a supermarket sweep before our anticipated arrival at the new holiday venue in Croyde at 15:00.

I hadn’t banked on the amount of shopping that would be required at the Braunton Tesco we needed provisions for 7 for a week, almost £300 and a trolley full. The very helpful store manager asked if we had picked one of every item they sold! The shopping took about an hour, we wondered why people bothered doing that every week, we get Tesco to deliver which is far more convenient.

C&T were already at the hut when we arrived and five journeys later I had unpacked the car of luggage and shopping. Everyone was accounted for by 17:00 and we all settled in, some resting on the lawn others taking a stroll on the beach. Dinner would a simple affair preprepared salad stuff from Waitrose. Bring Devon on.