Archive for the ‘North Coast’ Category

Wild and Windy on the Coast   2 comments


After the calm clear weather on Dartmoor, the next day was a refreshing change. Still plenty of blue sky around but now mixed with some dark black storm clouds and a keen blustery wind. Perfect for a coastal walk. We parked up at Treyarnon Bay, one of our favourites and headed south for an out and back before lunch.


There were some stunning cloud and rainbow effects and some of the clouds looked very angry and full of rain


The stormy seas, crashing waves and winter light make for great photos. I used the HDR setting on my iPhone for these and it takes a damn fine photo


This storm had me worried but it passed us bay


The first stretch to Porthcothan, the next beach along is fairly flat but takes a while to walk as the cliffs are constantly indented by wild, deep and inaccessible coves all with wonderful names.  Pepper, Warren and Fox Coves, Minnows Islands, Will’s Rock


TBH looking happy with a very angry storm sweeping past. Luckily it only rained for a couple of minutes while we were out and we had some glorious sunshine


We hoped there might be a cafe or something at Porthcothan but everything was shut for the winter. We pushed on south towards the headland at Park Head


It was glorious walking if a little wild and windy



Another cove at Porth Mear


And looking back north the way we’d come along Tescore Islands


Time was pressing so we turned around and headed back before we reached the headland


Porthcothan beach was now exposed by the tide and Will’s Rock was framed in the surf


From there it was a race against the weather to reach the YHA at Treyarnon Bay for lunch. We won – just – rain battering the windows as we settled in. It’s a really fine cafe and we had a lovely light Tapas style lunch. A walk of over 8 miles so we’d earned it.


Now the actual plan had been to do some kayak surfing and body-boarding in the afternoon. Sitting in the warmth of the cafe it suddenly seemed like a rather stupid idea. After preparing a detailed list of safety conscious excuses we decided another short stroll along the cliffs and an amble around Padstow was a much more sensible plan



I think the photos justify that decision



Padstow is a tourist hotspot and rammed in summer. In November it returns to being a quiet fishing village with a handful of people. Not a great place if you are on a diet though. Its packed with excellent, restaurants, cafes and bakeries selling pasties and the like. We managed to avoid temptation (other than a sneaky millionaire shortbread) as we were eating out in the evening



The setting sun created some wonderful vistas



The harbour in particular looked rather fine


And to finish off, a couple of photos from our B&B bedroom window. Not too shabby



This is what birthday’s should be about (if you can’t afford a tropical white sand beach anyway)


On Yer Bike – The Camel Trail   15 comments


A walk on the moors, a walk on the coast, a play in the sea. We needed something else to entertain us on the last day. Some cycling was in order. The Camel Trail runs for 17 miles along the estuary and inland towards the fringes of Bodmin Moor. That would do nicely, we hired bikes, packed a picnic and headed off


Its a supremely easy and flat ride, busy and very popular with families. There are wide and expansive views across the estuary








After passing through Wadebridge the character changes and it becomes a wooded trail. Much quieter and in fact for large stretches, deserted


At the far end near Wenfordbridge we came across this rather nice meadow by the river and had tea, crab sandwiches and cake. Very refined




And then back the same way rather than a trip through the lanes. To be honest the inland stretch was a bit samey, just long stretches through the trees with not much in the way of views. I think a road return would have added some variety but there is a lot to be said for traffic free cycling


We returned along the estuary for more fine views and and ever increasing soreness of backside (a problem I find when I don’t have any cause to ride out of the saddle on a longer ride)




A 34 mile trip took the weekends outdoor distance covered to almost 50 miles. Not bad

Camel Trail

Just a final stroll through Padstow and a quiet sit on the harbour to finish off a superb weekend




Getting older has its benefits, lets just hope I have plenty more Cornwall weekends left in me! 🙂

Showers and Sunshine around Padstow   14 comments


Day two of our weekend away in Devon and Cornwall and time to swap high moors for coastal cliffs and beaches. More showers were in the air so it looked like one of those days when waterproofs would be regularly on and off. We planned to repeat a circuit we’d done a few years back when staying in Trevone, cutting across the peninsula and back to Padstow around Stepper Point. The walk across the fields was actually quite pleasant. No muddy corners or overgrown stiles. The first stretch was through a waving field of young wheat or barley


As we caught first sight of the coast we were hit by the first soaking downpour. Only lasted a few minutes but enough to dampen the spirits a little


Just as quickly the sun came out, spirits and waterproofs were dried out as we walked down to the sea at Trevone Beach



Walking out to the headland, we were soaked again!


This was a short sharp shower and luckily for us the last one of the day. The flowers in the coastal meadow are always a delight in the SW


We circled Trevone Round Hole, one of several sea caves with a collapsed roof in the area



The coastline along this stretch is dramatic and the path twists and turns around the small headlands, revealing numerous caves and sea arches. This is Porthmissen Bridge




This dramatic feature near Gunver Head doesn’t seem to have a name on the map although the parcel split off from the cliffs does, Middle Merope Island



From there to Stepper Point and its abandoned lighthouse its a less dramatic but glorious walk across wild flower be-decked meadows along grassy paths. In the warming sunshine its was marvellous





From the headland you get grand views across to Polzeath and back inland along the Camel estuary towards Padstow (hidden from sight)



The wild flowers in the hedgerows along the path prompted me to take a photo


We took to the beach at Harbour Cove to walk back towards Padstow.


The sun came out in full effect and with the gentle clear waters in the sheltered estuary and the pale sand it felt almost tropical



Without shades, the light was blindingly bright but the scene was a happy one of people strolling and enjoying the simple pleasures of playing with various dogs and kids. I enjoyed this stretch immensely



Sadly the beach finishes among the rocks and you are forced to rejoin the crowds as you head back into Padstow. It was as busy as always but in a nice way. We enjoyed a pasty from the Chough bakery (the best in Cornwall that I’ve tried) serenaded by a half decent busker


A pretty decent 8 miles for half a day but that day wasn’t yet over


Time for some water based fun for TBF at least. Treyarnon Bay is one of our favourites and we headed back again. One of the reasons for visiting Cornwall for my Birthday is for me to catch some waves. Bad news was that my car was in for repairs and I had no way to carry my kayak on the roof of the loan car they gave me. I also had a bad cold and didn’t think splashing about in cold water was a good idea. Last time I was dumb enough to do that I got a nasty sinus infection that I wasn’t keen to repeat


I took on the role of photographer and beach potterer in chief and spent a happy couple of hours poking about on the sand in the caves and watching TBF body boarding







I took a final stroll along the path watching a newly wed couple (the bride in a backless dress) having their wedding photos taken in the strong chilly breeze. She looked very cold!



A superb day finished off with another fine seafood meal at the excellent Prawn on the Lawn

Storm Clouds over Dartmoor   12 comments


My Birthday treat was a weekend away in Cornwall for some fine dining, walking and wave based fun in Cornwall. A heavy cold put paid to entering the water so plans were amended slightly but we kicked off as before (for TBF’s birthday weekend) with a fine lunch at the Cafe on the Green in Widecombe in the Moor and a walk on Dartmoor. Thanks to the writings of the excellent blog over at Treks and Tors I have an endless list of very fine walks on Dartmoor to experience and this one was based on one of the more recent posts. Its a great blog and well worth checking out.


The forecast had looked promising with mention of sunshine and “isolated” showers. From up on Dartmoor they were a lot more than isolated! We had a Tor-tour planned and first was Rippon Tor. The views across to Haytor, Dartmoors most famous tor derw us onwards





First we passed over Saddle Tor, appropriately populated with wild ponies


All the while the storm clouds gathered, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed


Haytor was always a favourite spot when I was a kid. We spent many family holidays up at Westward Ho! (only place name in the UK with an exclamation mark) and often came down to Dartmoor for a day out. I always insisted we come up here so I could climb to the top


I love granite tors with their weathered shapes and weird formations


Haytor looked especially dramatic today backed by dark storm clouds. I rekindled childhood memories by climbing to the top but decided not to linger, feeling rather like a lightning rod on the exposed summit


As we passed Haytor quarry in bright sunlight the dark clouds provided an amazing contrast



The clouds all around were bubbling and boiling and we seemed to be just yards from a soaking



We found a fine sheltered spot on Smallacombe Rocks for a cuppa and a slice of cake. We didn’t hang around as our luck was running out and spots of rain were in the air


We walked over one of Dartmoors numerous and very quaint clapper bridges over the Becka Brook


And then up towards and past Greator rocks.



As we passed into Holwell Lawn we came across one of the most stunning displays of bluebells I’ve ever seen



All across open hillside they carpeted the floor in a swathe of purple-blue. Its rare to be able to catch the real sense of colour in a photo. They never seem to be as dense through a lens as they are to the naked eye


Here, that task was easy




We pressed on for more tors over at Bonehill Rocks



Leaving them behind we set off for our final tor, Top Tor


We got a proper soaking in a heavy rain and hail shower that dusted the hills we’d walked on earlier in drifts of white while thunder rumbled and crackled around us. Short-lived, and sunny spells returned for the top and while we finished our fine 6.5 mile back to the car


My second Dartmoor walk in the past year and its wonderful, packed with interesting stuff and a huge variety of landscapes. It deserves a full weekend or holiday all its own or a wild camp to appreciate its austere charms


Satisfied and in need of a little luxury, we headed off to the Althea Library for our weekend stay, with same wonderful room and warm welcome as before



I took a brief stroll around Padstow before our evening out to clear my head (I had a bit of dizzy spell when I arrived) and to enjoy Padstow without the the crowds when it reverts to a peaceful fishing village rather than a tourist fleshpot




Ending the day with a fine curry at The Journeyman restaurant was the perfect finale to a fine first day of my Birthday treat 🙂

Funster Birthday Weekend – Padstow, Tintagel and Rough Tor   14 comments


Onto our final day of the birthday weekend. A much soggier and wet outlook plus the need for a waterproof for me, having forgotten to bring one, saw us head into Padstow.


Despite the commercialism I like Padstow and out of season it returns to being a quiet Cornish fishing village


We took an easy stroll around the harbour and up towards the war memorial. The views over the Camel estuary, Doom Bar and Daymer Bay were superb


Dark clouds were billowing and heading our way so we had to turn and flee. Not before this rather fine shot of storms approaching while we grabbed the last rays of sun



My new cagoule got a try out but heavy rain put a stop to Padstow fun, so we moved on, figuring driving through the rain was better than walking in it. On  whim we went to Tintagel as I’d not been there since I was a kid. By the time we got there the sun was out again and all was fine. We declined the offer of over £20 to look around the castle. Whilst the position is dramatic and evocative the word “castle” somewhat overplays the hand of English Heritage. Lots of steps and a few sparse walls sums up this monument plus a few “King Arthur had a pee against this rock” plaques is pretty much all you get. The views and the coast are undeniably superb but so is the coastal path to the north which is free so that’s where we went




Its a magnificent walk around Barras Nose to Willapark



These are The Sisters


Willapark was superb and completely deserted, we had the whole place to ourselves


The views north towards Boscastle were especially fine


The cliffs on the south side are frighteningly sheer, one of those places you feel you could step off the edge and fall straight into deep water. We stayed dry as well, always a bonus


Afternoon was pressing on and there were showers in the air. Most people would have decided to head home but we are better than that. Never ones to waste precious winter daylight we took a short drive to the edge of Bodmin Moor with a view to a final walk up Rough Tor. We pass by this summit on our way to and from Cornwall holidays so I was keen to take a look. We brewed up in the car waiting for a window in the weather which duly arrived


It was memorable walk to finish the weekend, just a short walk from the car to numerous granite tors that spread across the summit


The light was fading and not easy for photography but I was able to capture some nice shadows and spooky outlines





I was in my element scrambling about the rocks but the light was fading fast and the cold seeping into the soul. We enjoyed a few more shafts of sunlight and brooding views before we headed down to begin the long drive home



A weekend that started on the granite tors of Dartmoor finished with an equally fine walk on the Bodmin variety


We had one final treat in store. As we drove away from the car park we noticed that a huge flock of starlings was gathering in a nearby wood to roost. We pulled over and watched mesmerised as thousands of birds swooped no more than a couple of feet over the car and swirled above our heads. They put on show for 10 minutes or so and we were so entranced it never occurred to me to take any photos or video.

A birthday treat for TBF to remember and I quite enjoyed it as well

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