Celebrate the New Year on the clifftops

Stormy seas and high winds and winter sunshine – where better to enjoy New Years Day than on the South West Coast Path. A loose plan for the day – a lunchtime booking at the majestic Mullion Cove Hotel (centre of the picture and you can just glimpse the rooftop) followed by a walk maybe, depending on the weather and the inclinations of a small toddler.

Crashing seas

 

 

 

 

Lunch was utter perfection, a small menu is always such a good indicator, service excellent – swift and attentive, the view from the dining room so amazing we were compelled after to don our thermals and go out to explore.

New Years Day walking and sleeping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The small child suitably nourished soon fell asleep and we walked on, past Polurrian Cove and on towards Poldhu Cove, watching the waves crash onto the rocks and sea foam drifting in the air like snow. High on the clifftops we stumbled upon the Marconi Centre sign and a towering monument, memory to what was here in 1901

The Marconi Centre

Learn about Marconi and the first radio signal

Looking across into the field we saw remnants of a building and concrete posts and the Marconi Centre – just waiting to be explored and as it turned out we were the first visitors for 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Manned by amateur radio volunteers we were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and knowledge we were welcomed with.  This was the place where the Italian inventor Marconi received a radio signal from the Isle of White and proved that radio waves would travel over the horizon. A short film to enjoy and plenty of information to absorb it was a Visitor Centre definitely not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

The option of continuing down to the café at Poldhu Cove and its promised teas and homemade cakes was an enticing one but with the quickening wind speed and darkness soon to follow we retraced our steps back to the welcoming Mullion Cove Hotel and rewarded ourselves with the perfect cream tea.

The Majestic Mullion Cove Hotel

The Majestic Mullion Cove Hotel

 

Scones warmed in the oven, (and we are discerning scone eaters to say the least) more jam and cream than we could possibly eat and we felt refreshed, ready for the 3/4 hour journey back home to Boscrowan.  What finer way to start 2018!

All aboard the Roller (sorry Atlantic) Coaster

If you are visiting West Cornwall in the summer months then there is no finer way to absorb the geography of this beautiful western peninsula with such contrasting landscapes than a day out on the open top Atlantic Coaster double decker bus.

Hold on tight on the Atlantic Coaster

Hold on tight on the Atlantic Coaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a circular route in both directions with an hourly schedule which becomes somewhat erratic with the summer traffic on the narrow twisty roads of West Cornwall, but if you’ve hopped off and are waiting to hop back on then just wait and one will come along at some stage and it can be very pleasant sitting at a bus stop watching the world go by! Given the option I would choose the circular route starting from Penzance bus station travelling along to Newlyn and towards Lands End via Lamorna, St Buryan and Porthcurno, where you stop at The Telegraph Museum and find out the history of the first telecommunications from there, swoop down to Sennen and back up again – my that’s a steep hill and a half! Fabulous scenery of contrasts all the way.

 

Awaiting the next stage of the journey

Awaiting the next stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it’s a fairly quiet place you desire for lunch then try stopping off at quaint old St Just for your lunch and the Dog and Rabbit is a great little café to try, with a visit to the Kurt Jackson Foundation gallery just a few yards away a must. Amazing art in an equally amazing space.

Ytr the Dog and Rabbit for lunch

Try the Dog and Rabbit for lunch

The Kurt Jackson Foundation building

The Kurt Jackson Foundation building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshed suitably, both in body and mind hop back on and prepare yourself for what is probably the most beautiful section of the journey along the North Coast to St Ives. Narrow twisting roads, cars travelling in the opposite direction to contend with but beautiful, beautiful scenery. Vibrant blue seas on your left, moorland on your right and passing through pretty little villages with rows of miners cottages often built to defy the prevailing winds off the sea rather than take in those dramatic views.

Geevor mining museum would be a great place of interest to stop but maybe let’s save that for another day. A world heritage site, West Cornwall’s last working mine where you can go underground in an 18th century mine and wander down to the edge of the cliffs past heaps of spoil from the days when the mine was still active. A lovely café overlooking the Atlantic and a museum too. Wander down and further along the cliff and you’ll happen upon some of the buildings used in Poldark – ‘Tresidders Mill’ – for one.

Now past the tiny hamlet of Morvah with its pretty little church and schoolhouse, more rolling moorland and azure seas and even a tiny container in a field selling moomaid ice cream and cream teas – wish we could stop here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Ives is maybe the jewel in the crown and it’s straight to the tiny bus station on the hill for a seven point turn and shuffle and extraordinary views

 

 

 

 

 

 

This could well be a great place to stop off and spend a couple of hours with all those beaches, the Tate St Ives gallery, fabulous cafes, interesting shops and just wonderful views. Then the last leg of the journey is a shorter one, back through Carbis Bay, along a stretch off the A30 but there is really no alternative if the route is a circle but then there is a delightful detour through the ancient town of Marazion with splendid views of the majestic St Michaels Mount as we speed on through, ducking and diving past rooftops and cables!

Past the majestic St Michaels Mount

Past the majestic St Michaels Mount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So our journey ends, back in Penzance where we began and we realise there is much and so close by that we really have to return to see and discover more. Thank goodness though for that warm coat and hat – whatever the weather you will have had the wind in your sails!

all dressed up!

all dressed up

 

 

June in Cornwall – wild flowers and gardens (guest blog post)

 

Whilst every month has its own particular splendours, June brings hedgerows bursting with colour from a wide variety of wildflowers. Tiny, shy little flowers like the speedwell nestle comfortably amongst larger showier specimen such as the tall, majestic foxgloves with their fascinating arrangement of spots within the tube.

the majestic foxglove

The majestic foxglove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

umbelliifers abound

Umbellifers abound

All shades of pink are represented by the striking cerise coloured wild roses with their contrasting yellow stamen, the pink campion, the buds of the sea carrot and the wild mallows.  Cool colours are displayed by the white ox-eye daisies, bindweed flowers, elderflowers and cow parsley.

On the two sided dry stone walls (or Cornish Hedges) the flat tops are thick with the rounded pale pink flowers of the thrift and the little slippers of the birdsfoot trefoil.

Along the coastal paths all these are joined by the gorse and the creamy, lemon or bright pink flowers of the mesembryanthemum.

mesembryanthemum

Mesembryanthemum

Cultivated gardens are not to be outdone. Giant balls of purple flowers of the alliums stand proudly in herbaceous borders, amongst scabious, cosmos, and cranesbill; whilst rambling roses tumble over walls and fences.  Cheerful marigolds give bright splashes of colour and cornflowers of an almost iridescent blue attract busy bees.

There are signs of future glories to come as the sweet peas continue the climb up and around their supporting obelisks and trellis. The agapanthus buds fatten and split, giving a hint of the showy flowers which will appear and last almost to September.  The large flower heads appear on the statuesque cardoons again giving a hint of things to come.

agapanthus

Agapanthus in abundance in Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So whilst, as The Gardening Year poem suggests, “June ….. fills the children’s hands with posies”, there are plenty of glories to come later in the year.

 

A very big thank you to Christine – the author and photographer of this first guest blog post. We hope other guests may be inspired to follow suit and welcome any other submissions.