I was lucky enough to receive some invitations from some friends to go and spend some time in the far and distant (and opposite from the North East in every way) South West of England. First stop – Cornwall!
I almost missed the train because of a silly fault with the Metro, but happily I’d set off far too early and made it! The train took around nine hours (no changes until Plymouth when the train withdrew itself from service…)
After a warm welcome from Jon and his family and a good sleep, the next day we headed off out. First stop, St Ives.
Now as someone who has always had the sea firmly under control “in the East”, the geography of St Ives struck me as all wrong. You’ll see what I mean in the next picture. See those two beaches? I don’t even know what direction anything is in any more.
However if you do look at just one of the beaches it is very pretty. Jon had promised rain! Would you think this is November? So pretty. Just be careful not to share this with too many people – Cornwall has completely escaped tourists so far and I don’t want to be accused of starting anything.
We stopped off briefly by the Tate, which I had not expected to find in St Ives. I assume it was also on holiday. By the time we got back to the car, it did rain a bit!
Along the road we paused at this old engine house which was part of the old Giew mine works. Jon told me about one-legged stools. I had a suspicion that this would be a good place for a geocache, so after we looked around the building I checked my phone and I was right! A jar of fruit (GC41YFZ) was hidden nearby. It was a quick find, and my first in the south. I dropped off a travel bug too as it was a huge container.
Back on the road, we drove through Newlyn via Penzance. As we drove in we saw the weird Penzance rail station, where all the main lines literally stop. You’d think they’d run out of country. In Newlyn we had some fish and chips and made a friend.
In the far background of the picture above you can see St Michael’s Mount, which is very similar to Mont Saint Michel off the Normandy coast. You can get to the island via a causeway at low tide.
The next stop was Mousehole, a very picturesque village with a tiny harbour, with an even tinier gap for you to bring your boat through.
The lights along the coast are maintained entirely by volunteers, and donations are collected for the upkeep of the lights and for charity.
Could this be the West coast of Scotland?
Mousehole also has a plaque to the last recorded native speaker of Cornish, Dolly Pentreath, who lived there.
We drove back up to Penzance and had a quick drink at the Admiral Benbow, which wins the prize for the most idiosyncratically decorated pub I’ve ever been in. It’s spectacular inside! You can see some pictures inside here. We were shown around upstairs too. It’s definitely worthwhile dropping in.