In previous years when I’ve taken the little blokes on a brief cultural tour of the UK I’ve posted a daily blog on its own page. Admittedly this is for my own entertainment and with a nod to posterity, but its also a good way of sharing some pictures and sharing some links for local industry.
This year we when to Cornwall and in a one off point of agreement with our beloved leader, Mr David Cameron, it’s true that mobile coverage in the County sucks. It took me a day to discover this and I resolved to spare the children from my swearing and grumbling and wait until I got home.
So, her it is. Briefer than it might of been but illustrated appropriately I hope.
We stayed in an area called Widemouth Bay (thats wid-muth, not wide-mouth, I made that mistake once, not good). It’s on the North Cornwall coast near Bude, just across from the Devonshire boarder. The coastal area is cliff heavy with many stony bays. Its popular with surfers and very dramatic. Bude itself has a wide beach bay with a very shallow tidal area. There are surf schools and a sea pool and its very popular. Unlike many British sea side towns theres a complete absence of arcades and the normal riffle of holiday towns. There are boating lakes in the river lock and some large constructed rock pools with brave kids ‘tombstoning’. Evidence as follows;
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The weather stayed clement for the first two and a half days before English Summer Time took hold. On the Wednesday I persuaded the boys to indulge some English Heritage culture with a visit to Tintagel Castle. Tintagel is a small village (again on a cliff top) but with a dramatic bay and the historic site on the nearby cliff structure. The castle probably dates back to around 1000AD and is one of the few clearly traced sites of Arthurian Legend. I’m very fond of our ancient history and tracing the Arthurian Legend is fraught with speculation. Tintagel claims to be the seat of Uther Pendragon, Arthurs father, and the site of many battles, and the mysterious and impressive Merlins Cave. Its one of those places with human activity writ large on its collapsed walls and unique for it. The landscape is incredible and as with many neolithic & bronze age sites its evident that our ancestors really appreciated a nice view.
The Eden Project was a Millennial scheme that took an ecological and world view to renewal and developing technology. I visited there around 10 years age and its great to see how the site (an ex open cast mine) has flourished in that time. It was a very rainy day when we visited so also quite crowded. The organisation was however quite professional and we managed to enjoy the many interesting features of the project.
The Hurlers are a unique arrangement of three neolithic stone circles arrange in a line. They exist high on Bodmin Moor and on the day we visited we found a quite scary cloud of…..cloud which could easily have lead to numerous lost children and potential Hound of the Baskervilles terror. I took the best pictures I could in circumstances and in retrospect it was quite an experience to see the artefact overwhelmed by the environment. As an aside I was able to engage the smaller child’s attention to this trip on the basis that the nearest village is called ‘Minions’.
St Ives & Porthleaven
Whilst geographically St Ives is maybe 40mins from Bude, given local roads and holiday traffic volume the trip took 1 1/2 hours. Still worth the trip. Another town with a very individual identity and locality. As with many Cornish villages, originally tied to the fishing industry it now relies on its natural beauty, coastlines, dudelicious waves and the wonderfully placed Tate St Ives. Always busy and shifting a million calories worth of Cornish Pasties a day in peak season. I didn’t have the heart or parental strength to take them around Barbara Hepworths studio but if you are ever down that way, I recommend it.
We also took the opportunity to drop down across the peninsular to Porthleven, another scenic fishing village with great coastal views and the remnants of local industry, now threatened with big city seasonal investment. A very pretty place non the less.
So, essentially – Cornwall = Good. Shoddy mobile coverage, beautiful landscape, road infrastructures that defy sat nav predicted eta’s, generally friendly locals, great (really great) local food produce, totally stuffed with historical points of interest, scenery that makes any amateur photographer look good …..and above, miles away from the day job. 5/5 whatever the weather.