Our 2007 UK and Europe Trip
Cornwall with the Cullens
12 Sep 2007
With two cars in convoy we headed south west towards Cornwall occasionally making good time and the rest at a slow pace what with roadworks, large farm equipment ahead of us and others peddling as fast as they could in their tiny cars, we were lucky to average 60 kph. As we passed from Dorset to Devon and then to Cornwall, the lush fields of the greenest of greens were just spectacular and any photos we took did not do them justice. We passed the Dartmoor National Park and numerous chimney stacks in the fields, a hangover from the old tin and gold mining days of the area.
Our intention was to turn south at St Anstell and head for 3 towns that had been recommended to us. But not this time, we’ll try to see them on our way back as we are now running short on time. At a town called Truro, we stopped to arrange the night’s accommodation at the Tourist Information Centre and were “helped” by two very disinterested staff that made it clear that there was only one bed available in town and we could not possibly get both groups of us at the one accommodation. So Yvonne and I opted for a farm B&B experience just a short drive out of town. Worst still they said we would not be able to get accommodation at St Ives for the following night as that town was having a festival and all rooms within the district were already booked.
The Cullens picked us up from the farm and we drove a couple of klms north to the Wagon Wheel Pub complete with thatched roof for a great meal with good company. In the morning, heading south we arrived at the lovely fishing village of St Mawes. Set in a large bay, it was quite attractive. I would like to have purchased petrol from the old petrol bowser – 30p a gallon – seems a real bargain. At the far end of the village was St Mawe’s Castle built 450 years ago and was one of Henry VIII coastal fortresses and remains virtually unchanged.
Then down to the shore where we caught a chain ferry across the Bay of Falmouth only to meet up with very heavy start-stop traffic as we drove towards St Michael’s Mount and Penzance. We were very fortunate as our arrival at St Michael’s Mount coincided with low tide and we were able to walk across the historic causeway where pilgrims of the Middle Ages had done too. The castle sits majestically high on a rocky outcrop with 360° views of Penzance Bay and is still lived in. We were fortunate that again the weather was perfect. Our arduous climb of 250 feet was worth the effort for the views alone
We stopped briefly in Penzance to arrange accommodation for the night but again everything was booked out and we had to drive further afield to Newquay. Also visited the town of Mousehole which was very small and pretty but very touristy. Parking is always a problem in these towns with narrow streets. Parking stations are provided at 1 – 2 pounds per day but as you only stay for about 30 minutes – it’s a bit of a rip off.
We did go to Lands End just to say we had been there, the most southerly part of England. The roads were even smaller than experienced before but they did have a free car park and there were lots of tourists doing the same thing as we were. We had to miss St Ives so there is another excuse to come back some time.