Thursday 25 July 2019

A Cornish Adventure.

We travelled by train (as we don't have a car) and I have to say it was dead easy. Four and a half hours direct from Reading to St Erth, then a further fifteen minutes or so on a little branch line with absolutely breath taking views into St Ives, what's not to like?

I was in a somewhat fraught state when we set off, work was totally manic and I'd been frantically trying to get as much done as I could before I left, on top of which the shower had suddenly decided to start leaking through the kitchen ceiling *AGAIN*!?! Our landlord got it done on the cheap and boy do we know about it! This meant I got up even earlier than planned to reseal half the shower base before my usual pre-holiday activities/rituals.

Once we were off though I have to say letting the train take the strain has it's compensations. The countryside we travelled through was stunning so I alternated between reading and just gazing out of the window. I could literally feel myself unwinding.

We had checked Google maps and found that our B&B was only 15 minutes walk from the train station. What we had failed to note was the gradient. It became obvious it was called Atlantic Heights for a reason...
The final hill actually had a gradient warning sign, I swear at one point I was just walking on the spot due to the angle of the hill and the weight of my suitcase cancelling each other out!

We arrived to find the front door open, we rang the bell several times, knocked and called but all to no avail. I then rooted around in my bag to find the booking paperwork and Himself called the number. The lady who answered said she was in the garden and would be there in a moment so to make ourselves comfortable in the lounge (it turns out the garden was across the street and then down behind the garage rather than at the back of the house) When she arrived it turns out she may or may not have been the owner, to be honest we never did quite figure it out, as there was another couple who didn't live there but seemed to come in to run the place. Indeed they had expected us to call in at their house first only I had missed that message.. anyway the lady Mary was lovely and initially offered us tea but then said no, no  let's have a Pimms so next thing you know we were sat with a huge glass of Pimms whilst she explained the breakfast/house rules.
We finally got shown our room which was very cosy and I bloody loved the fact there was a little fridge "so you can cool your beers or wine or whatever" No need to sneak alcohol in and empties out like elsewhere. We unpacked, freshened up and followed Mary's advice on the quickest way into St Ives itself.
The view from outside our guest house, can you tell we are up a hill?

The weather was mental frankly. I genuinely have never experienced glorious hot sunshine combined with a gale force winds before, it literally knocked you off your feet. Apparently the day before the weather had been horrific and the winds were due to that storm. We mooched about a bit and got our bearings.
I can understand why a lot of guides recommend coming without a car, the roads are very narrow and steep with sharp bends and the traffic nose to tail in places, I dread to think what it is like in the height of the season.
I could not get over the colour of the sea, this stunning turquoise blue, it was gorgeous. We tried to sit outside a pub with a beer but you were basically being sandblasted which was actually painful at times and had to cover your pint with your hand otherwise it was full of sand, so we bought some chips, then a bottle of wine and headed back to our room with it.

The next day we had decided to explore St Ives in the morning as it was a week day and hopefully less busy. The day alternated between sun and cloud but was lovely and warm though still super windy.
I ended up giving up completely on my hair during this holiday. I usually dry it straight but the combination of wind and salt air brought my natural curls out in force the moment I stepped outside so in the end I just embraced the demented surfer look!
We started out climbing up to the church on St Ives Island which had beautiful views

(look at the colour of the water!) before following winding streets down to the centre of the town and the shops.
I came to conclusion that someone needs to open a shop selling reasonably priced tourist crap and they would clean up (and probably be run out of town by the local traders with burning pitchforks) everything was triple the price of other seaside towns, for the same touristy tat.

Having said that there were some lovely independent shops, and I treated myself to some gorgeous organic hand lotion as well as a couple of brooches
and this driftwood boat. 
Which Himself hates and I love.

There were a couple of charity shops but they weren't great and all I bought was another brooch
A teeny tiny Scottie dog.

We were also recommended a local off licence John's as a great place to buy unusual gin, but as I don't drink gin I chose a bottle of Dead Man's Fingers, a spiced rum made in St Ives which is delicious.
I also managed to find a birthday present for my Mum as well as some fudge for my Dad and to take into work.
I couldn't resist checking out Seasalt as they had a sale on but restrained myself to a breton top in shades of blue.

We went back to the b&b to drop the shopping off  before heading out on the coastal path towards Zennor. We couldn't go too far as we had a table booked for 5.30 for dinner. Mary had warned us to book as the world and his dog eats out in St Ives and she wasn't wrong. By the time we got to the restaurant of our choice the only table left was at 5.30pm!
I wanted to mooch through the graveyard first as I loved it's position on a madly sloping hill to the sea. It certainly made for some atmospheric photos.
The coastal path to Zennor is described as the most challenging part of this bit of the South Coastal Path
so once it started to get treacherous we did turn back, we had neither the time nor the right equipment.
There were more stunning views though so we sat in a sheltered spot and drank it all in a bit.
As you can see I wore my new top straight away!

Back at the B&B we got changed and headed out for dinner. It seemed a bit weird eating at 5.30 but other than a bit of cake we hadn't eaten since breakfast so had no problem stuffing our faces on delicious pasta. yes, yes it should have been seafood but Himself won't touch the stuff *sigh*.

There was another restaurant we wanted to try so once dinner was over, lesson learned, we walked straight there to book for the next night. We had a mooch round the harbour to let our dinner go down, then carried on to Porthminster one of St Ives 4 beaches. There is a raised restaurant on the beach there with a balcony with sea views so we went in and asked if we could just buy a drink and sit out with it rather than eat. They found us a little table outside, so we sat drinking wine and watching the sea and I suspect completely pissing of the poor people inside whose view we had just blocked!

The next morning I may just possibly have woken up feeling a tad delicate. We had planned to walk some more of the coastal path, this time to Lelant and I didn't want to postpone. I wasn't sure breakfast had helped so we decided to get into our walking gear, head into town and see how I felt
To our surprise found a sea fog had come in overnight and everything was swathed. By the time we walked round to the harbour I was feeling more the thing, so we bought some water and set off. The first part of our walk was surprisingly busy considering the weather. We soon found ourselves following a single file track winding up onto the cliff top, with less people and thankfully the weather started to clear.

From there we then headed down and through sand dunes before climbing back up again and finally, and rather alarmingly, right through the middle of a busy golf course at Lelant to the church of St Uny, where randomly the graveyard is up high above the path. I was blown away by all the different flora, so many species I didn't recognise. I will need to by a book.
We were going to catch the train back but got lost finding the station. I decided to ask for directions but by this time Himself had spotted a pub, so we retired there for a refresh and in my case a desperate pee! I also wisely stuck to diet coke. In the end we caught the bus back to St Ives, ate chips, bought some pop, then climbed the hill back to our B&B, got changed and took our books out to read on the cliff above Porthmeor beach.

After dinner that night we walked all over St Ives trying to find a pub that wasn't either too packed or too meh. In the end gave up, went to the Co-op and bought a chilled bottle of wine which we took out into the garden at our B&B. There it was lovely and quiet with gorgeous sea views, seriously what more could you want?


  1. Oh Gisela, it looks absolutely fabulous! The sea, oh the sea, I do miss it terribly.

    I love the sound of your B&B - would you mind sharing the details?

    It sounds like a wonderful break. Loved the graveyard shots - such interesting places, I think. Loved your buys especially the brooches.

    Hope you have a great weekend,

  2. That view from your B&B is unbeatable. I love Cornwall, and holidayed there twice. The last time was - gasp! - 24 years ago. Sounds like you had a wonderful break! St. Ives and its narrow and steep streets brings back quite a few hair raising memories. We missed a turn and ended up driving our car through one of those narrow streets. People had to press themselves against the walls to let us pass! I'm still surprised we made it out of there in one piece! xxx

  3. I like the driftwood boat! And the brooches.

    Beautiful views.

  4. That looks lovely. As for the verticality of the place - yup! We went with the mother-in-law when we holidayed in Padstow with her, but there was no way her mobility scooter could cope with those hills. Must've been a nightmare trying to lug a suitcase up them. But how fantastic to be there and see that gorgeous sea!

  5. I loved reading this - I've only been to Cornwall once - in the snow! Your B&B sounds fantastic, Pimms O'clock and all that! Your photos are fab.
    Gah! That wind! I remembered that the last time I was at the English seaside was Lytham St Annes a couple of years ago for the Hacienda Classical and it nearly drove me daft - next time I'll pack a woolly hat even if it does make me look like a bus nutter. x