Cornish Winter Break 1: Setting the Scene

Setting the scene for a series of posts about my holiday in Cornwall.

INTRODUCTION

I spent Christmas and the New Year in Cornwall, staying at my parent’s place. In this post I set the stage for series of posts to come about the things I did while there. In addition to eight places of interest (some of which merit rather more than a single post, or indeed a single visit) I will also be describing the cooking of a meal for six, which will be accompanied by some general pictures from the vicinity of my parents place. In the rest of this post I will set out the order for the rest of the series as an appetizer.

LOOE

Definitely worth a visit if you are in that part of the world.

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EDEN PROJECT

This is a truly astonishing place and one that will repay many visits. I will certainly be devoting more than one post to my visit there this holiday.

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The biomes.
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The start of the trail through time.
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An addition to the project since my only previous visit – this building is devoted to the things we normally cannot see.

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Inside the Mediterranean Biome.

LANHYDROCK

Only a little of this place was open, and I hope to see more of it in due course.

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The gatehouse, once a hunting lodge before the big house was built.
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The main house.

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FOWEY

The least impressive of the places we visited.

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TINTAGEL

An extraordinarily scenic place, will be getting several posts in this series.

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I will be covering this bridge in detail – for the moment suffice to say that it is both superb and very necessary.

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This view from the heights of Tintagel is currently my desktop background.
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The sun prevented me from getting a really got picture of this view.

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The old church

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The bridge from above.

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THE JAMAICA INN

This is well known to fans of Daphne Du Maurier and/ or Rosamunde Pilcher. We stopped there on the way back from Tintagel.

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CHARLESTOWN

I enjoyed visiting this town, though as you will see when I post about it I consider it over-hyped.

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THE MEAL

This was a success.

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FALMOUTH

The last activity of the holiday – and talk about finishing on a high note. I will certainly be revisiting this town

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This splendid mosaic can be seen at Falmouth Docks station.

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The National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
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Views of Falmouth from the look out tower in the museum

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Cornwall for Christmas

An account of journey from King’s Lynn to Cornwall for the festive period.

INTRODUCTION

After a very quiet day yesterday, following a day of travelling the day before I am settled at my parents place in Cornwall, where I shall be spending Christmas and the New Year. This post details the journey down, before ending with some photographs.

KINGS LYNN TO CORNWALL

On Friday night it was the sensory friendly Panto performance at the Corn Exchange, King’s Lynn, which was excellent fun. On Saturday morning, with my packing accomplished I got the 9:20AM bus from just opposite my bungalow to the town centre (my baggage was heavy, so walking would have been very tough), arriving in good time to board the 10:13 train to London. Almost precisely two hours later I arrived at King’s Cross, with 45 minutes to get from there to my pre-booked seat from Paddington to Plymouth. The Hammersmith & City line (the district/circle line station is Paddington in name only) played ball for once, and I was at Paddington in good time. There was a warning that all was not necessarily well on the GWR when the platform information for my train did not come up on the departures screen until 10 minutes before it was due to leave. Ensconced in my seat I poured a cup of coffee from my cheapo travelling flask (it proved up the job) and waited for departure…and waited some more, until an announcement came through that our driver had been delayed on an inbound service and that we would be at least 20 minutes late getting underway. At this point I phoned my mother because even with no further delays that was likely to prove enough to prevent me making my connection at Plymouth for an onward journey to St Germans. I therefore arranged to be collected from Plymouth instead. In the event, it was fully 40 minutes after our scheduled departure time that the train finally got moving. We lost no further time on the journey, although the last section between Totnes and Plymouth felt like it was taking a long time. It would have been about eight and a half hours after I had left my bungalow in North Lynn that I finally got to my parents place.

CORNWALL

A combination of tiredness from the previous day’s travelling and some fierce Cornish weather ruled out doing anything much yesterday. However today we will be going to Looe. In the bad old days of rotten boroughs the two villages of East Looe and West Looe were both recognized as parliamentary constituencies, and each returned two MPs. These days it is well known as a seaside resort.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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A present from Karan – a London Undeground themed storage box.

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Now Assembled (three pictures)

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Pictures from the James & Sons christmas lunch – which took place at a Thai restaurant near HQ in Fakenham.

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Christmas lights in King’s Lynn

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Waiting for the panto to start (three pics)

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A display at Paddington.
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Shots from the living room at Fort Picklecombe, showing some fairly dramatic weather.

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Waves crashing around the lighthouse.

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Sailing in these conditions is either very brave or very foolish.

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Calendars and an Apology

An explanation of my recent lack of blogging activity and a sneak preview of the 2019 aspi.blog Cornish wall calendar (I will receive the printed versions by September 24th).

INTRODUCTION

The principal purpose of this post is to give you all a sneak preview of next year’s aspi.blog wall calendar. I am also going to explain why it has been a while since I last put up a blog post.

APOLOGY/ EXPLANATION

The reason why it has been a while since my last blog post is that I have had a very busy schedule of late, between work and various volunteering activities, and the one day on which I might have done a significant amount of blogging (Saturday) I lost to illness. I was sufficiently recovered by Sunday morning to do my volunteering for Heritage Open Day at the Bank House and to enjoy some of the experience, though I curtailed things somewhat so as not to set my recovery from the horrors of the previous day back. My opportunities will be somewhat limited during the rest of this week as I will be at the Corn Exchange helping to run an NAS West Norfolk stall for much of tomorrow and will be working Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

THE CALENDAR

Here are sneak previews of the 13 key pages of the calendar (not actual size). I decided to make this calendar a celebration both of my pictures and of the fine county of Cornwall…

Front cover

For January we have a picture of Fort Picklecombe:

Jan 2019

February features Brunel’s famous bridge at Saltash:

Feb 2019

For March the focus shifts to the far west of Cornwall, where with the exception of November and December it remains for the rest of the year. This is one of two pictures from a seal colony near St Ives to make an appearance.

March

The April picture is a trio – across the top a view from St Michaels Mount to Marazion, and sharing the bottom a heron at Lelant Saltings and a crab at St Ives.

April 2019

May features a shot of Carbis Bay.

May 2019

June features our second seal picture:

June 2019

July features the seaside garden at St Michael’s Mount, which members of the public can view only from above:

July

August is double-up, featuring a cannon emplacement at St Michaels Mount on top and a panoramic view of the mount and causeway below:

Aug 2019

September is a double up from St Ives showing an old phone box with a an antique Great Western Railway clock attached on one side and a close-up of the clock on the other:

Sep 2019

October features a red admiral butterfly spotted on the descent from St Michael’s Mount:

Oct 2019

November, sharing with July the distinction of a photo taken that month, features the lighthouse picture that is also my desktop background and the reverse side of my personal cards.

November 2019

December, just to emphasise what this calendar is all about features a shot of the Cornish flag.

Dec 2019

Each page of the calendar is 28cm wide and 21 cm high, meaning that when hanging up open and ready for use it is 28cm wide and 42cm high.

Will The 2019 Aspi.blog Calendar Be All Cornish?

Presenting an idea for the next aspi.blog wall calendar and inviting suggestions in response.

INTRODUCTION

Those of you familiar with this blog will know that a photographic wall calendar has become something of a tradition – the 2019 effort when I finally do it will be number four. I have started thinking about and this post is intended to show one possibility.

A CORNISH THEMED CALENDAR

Those of you who saw my “A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall” series (you can access them all from here) will be aware of the amazing scenery I saw while I was down there. Since it was obvious that a number of those pictures would have to feature I then started thinking about how a Cornish gallery calendar might work, and this is where I have reached so far.

THE FRONT COVER

To provide a clue of what is within this is my envisaged front cover pic if I go the “pure Cornish” route:

Christopher Saxton's Cornwall

OTHER POSSIBLE PICTURES

January would be this one:

Fort Picklecombe

The other pictures that I have identified as possibles, in no particular order are these:

The Brunel bridge
This bridge is so iconic that my shot of it would have to feature.

Heron, Lelant SaltingsCarbis Bay IIOld phone box, St IvesOld GWR clockCrabseal waves a flipper IIswimming seal

St Michael's Mount panorama
After a number from St Ives, we move on St Michael’s Mount and its surroundings.

Harbour, causeway and Marazion from aboveSeaside garden IIFarewell to the cannonsCornish flagRed Admiral IV

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Do you think the “pure Cornish Calendar” idea works? If so do you have any other of my Cornish pictures that you would like to see featured? If not feel free to suggest others of my pictures that should be there.

 

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 7: Walking to St Michael’s Mount

Continuing my series about my visit to Cornwall, with the first of several posts about St Michael’s Mount.

INTRODUCTION

This series has been widely spread out – the trip it describes took place between July 12 and 16. Here is a listing of the previous posts:

  1. Getting There
  2. St Germans to St Ives
  3. A Visit to a Seal Colony
  4. The End of the St Ives Day
  5. Crossing the Cremyll Ferry to Plymouth
  6. Historic Plymouth

Having covered Thursday, Friday and Saturday in six posts we arfe now dealing with the Sunday, my last full day in Cornwall.

THE PLAN

As all five of us (my parents, my sister and my nephew as well as me) were making the visit to St Michael’s Mount we travelled in my parents camper van instead of using the train. We wanted to be underway by eight and achieved this. We were planning to explore St Michael’s Mount in full and then have lunch at an establishment there. Things panned out pretty much as intended. The road journey is a lot less scenic than the rail equivalent, so I am going to recommend unequivocally that anyone else planning to do this use the train – the walk from Penzance (all of which is familiar to me, although we started part way along it, having located a parking place just outside Penzance) is very scenic, while there is a longer walk available from St Erth (inland for most of its duration, instead of along the sea front). Here are a couple of satellite views:

Penzance - St Michael's Mount
The coastal route starting from Penzance.
St Erth to St Michael's Mount
The longer and mainly inland route starting from St Erth. This map also features what is in alphabetic terms the last place in Britain.

St Erth to St Michael's Mount

THE JOURNEY IN PHOTOGRAPHS

This section ends the post, taking us across the causeway to the base of the mount:

View from the van
The only shot I managed to get from the van on the way from Fort Picklecombe to Penzance.

Culvert ICulvert 2Welcome to PenzancePlastic FreeLooking towards PenzanceSt Michael's Mount ISt Aubyn's AbbeyGulls and signal boxView of PenzanceThe line towards St Erthtrack sideWarehouseSt Michael's Mount (1)St Michael's MountBeach sceneMastChurch TowerSailing boatsTrain coming towards PenzanceApproaching trainTrainRear of trainTrain heads for Penzance (1)Train heads for PenzanceAlmost out of viewTrain in foregroundblue plantGWR depotRolling stockThe MountThe abbeyLookingb towards the mountThe Mount IILooking towards the mountCommemorative benchThe Station House, MarazionMarazion station signMarazion stationSt Aubyn's Abbey from Marazion

People crossing the causeway to the mount
A first glimpse of the causeway.

People on the causewayWelcome to Marazion MarshMarazion MarshBird in the nature reserveLooking up at the mount

In the shallows
From Marazion the quickest way to the causeway is straight across the beach, and in the heat walking barefoot through the shallows was the way to go.

St Michaels Mount from Marazion beachLooking across at the mountGullsOutcrop observation point near start of causewayThe mount from near the start of the causewayThe abbey from near the causeway

The causeway and the mount
The causeway.

The mount viewed from the start of the causewayThe Abbey from the causewayLooking out to sea from thje causewayapproaching the Mount

 

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 3: A Visit to a Seal Colony

INTRODUCTION

My previous post in this series covered the journey from St Germans to St Ives and hinted at the feature of my time in St Ives. This post picks up the story. The Cornish Maid has produced posts giving a more local take on St Ives in her blog.

SERENDIPITY IN ST IVES

From the station I headed in the general direction of the sea front, taking photographs along the way.

SculptureSt ives Bay lineSt Ives Bay lineBeach scene St IvesSt IvesChurch towerclock face

Old phone box, St Ives
This olde-worlde telephone box caught my attention, while the attached clock had all the appearance of being an old railway clock…
Old GWR clock
…soon confirmed by my zoom lens.
Panel set into wall of RC church
This panel is set into the wall of the Roman Catholic church
St Ives Guildhall
St Ives Guildhall, a handome building, though not quite in the class of King’s Lynn’s 15th century masterpiece. It is home to a tourist information office but they evidently have staffing issues as it was closed and locked that day (a sunny friday in July)

Bronze sculptureSt Ives map and pictureBeach scene, St IvesLighthouseWall with porthole windows in itLooking across the bayspeckled gull

Church
This is the main Anglican church

As I hit the sea front area I encountered a man selling tickets for boat trips to a seal colony. Knowing that I was operating to a time limit (the connections back being less good than those for the outward journey I needed be back at the station around 3PM to be sure of getting back to St Germans at 6PM as I intended) I made enquiries about departure times and the length of the boat trip. I benefitted from being a natural born singleton – there was exactly one seat remaining on the Sea Horse, which was departing at 12:00 and would be back around 1:15, and that was the decision made (there is a seal colony at Blakeney Point in Norfolk, but this seemed likely to be an improvement on that). 

One takes a small boat out to the main boat one is booked on, and at low tide (as it was for my outbound journey) one has to walk out into the sea to about knee depth for the first pick up. The water was cool but not shockingly so, and it was actually very pleasant standing in the shallows. 

Small boats taking people out to the bigger boats for trips to see the sealsCrabWaiting for the SeahorseSwimming gulllooking out to seaHeadland and rocks

OUTWARD BOUND

I managed to board the small boat taking me and others out to the Seahorse (a 12 seater boat, so still not huge) without incident, and the transfer to the Seahorse also passed without incident.

Looking back from the boattour boatCornish coastCoast from the searocks with birdsrocky coastlineMoss and rocks

rocks in the sea
The rocks in the background of this shot are the near edge of the seal colony.

AT THE SEAL COLONY

I will let the pictures tell their own story…

A first glimpse of sealsSeal rockstwo large sea birdsseal rocks IISealsthree sealsSeals IILots of sealsSeal about to be submergedSeals on rocksSeal in the water

seal waves a flipper
Some of the seals, like this one waved flippers at us.

Seal wavesSeals on the rocksseals IIIseals IVseals in numbersSeals VISeals VIISeals VIIISeal about to be waterbornelarge sealseal waves a flipper IISeals IXSeals Xseven sealsSeals XISeals XIISeals XIIIseals with yacht in backgroundmossy rockfour sealsSeals XIVswimming sealSeals XV

BACK TO ST IVES

The start of the return journey featured the bumpiest sea of the entire trip (fortunately there was a breeze rather than a serious wind blowing, so the sea was choppy rather than actually rough). I imagine that in a winter storm (I encountered Cornish winter storms and their effects in 1989 on a christmas holiday when we stayed in a Landmark Trust cottage. I believe that the enitre village was actually owned by Landmark Trust, but the perimeter fence of RAF Morwenstow was within walking distance for those looking to place it). Fortunately the tide had risen to the point that the transfer boat could get right up to the quayside, so no further paddling was required.

ruinBeach from the boatIsolated housePassing a beachBeach shot797798Beach sceneThe seas edgeApproaching landLanding areaLooking across the bay IIApproaching land II

Standing tree stump circle
This put me somewhat in mind of Seahenge, now on display at The Lynn Museum.

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 2: St Germans to St Ives

The second post in my series about my visit to Cornwall, in which I cover the journey from St Germans to St Ives.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the second post in my series about my recent vsiit to Cornwall. As mentioned in the opening piece in this series I am breaking my coverage of my day out in St Ives into several posts. This post deals with the journey there (for the record, a day return from St Germans to St Ives costs £10.80), which is very scenic. For a Cornish perspective on St Ives check out this offering from the Cornish Maid.

ST GERMANS TO ST ERTH

The railway element of the journey to St Ives consists of two parts – a journey west along the main line as far as St Erth (penultimate stop on that route), and then a short journey north along a branch line which terminates at St Ives. St Germans to St Erth is a scenic journey in its own right:

Folk waiting flor 0927 to LondonConverted Carriage ISt Germans mapConverted Carriage IIGWR service to LondonGWR service to London IIGWR service to London IIIOld Oak Common locoUpgrade bannerSt Germans stationThe Bodmin and Wenford Railway curves away into the distanceAbove the line to LooeBodmin ParkwayBodmin and Wenford RailwayBodmin and Wenford posterLostwithielParSt AustellRedruthTowerPart of TruroCamborneCamborne II

Camborne III
I was particularly glad to note this tribute to the great Richard Trevithick.

ChurchesHayle

ST ERTH TO ST IVES

Though the route from St Germans to St Erth is scenic by any normal reckoning it is as nothing compared to the branch line from St Erth to St Ives. Although the route lists several intermediate stops the only one still in regular use is Lelant Saltings. I secured a window seat, although it turned out that I was not on the best side of the train and settled down to see what I could capture in the course of this journey.

Sea viewMarshlandMarshland IILelant Saltings

Heron, Lelant Saltings
The stop at Lelant Saltings enabled to me to zoom in on this heron.
River flows into Carbis Bay
The next few pictures feature mhy attempts to capture the beauty of Carbis Bay from a moving train.

Carbis Bay ICarbis Bay IIwatchpoint, Carbis BayPromontory, Carbis BaySt Ives StationWalks

A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE MAIN FEATURE OF MY NEXT POST

A few minutes after my arrival at St Ives the decision about my main activity while there was settled. It will be the subject of my next post – for the moment here is a clue to whet your appetite:

seal waves a flipper