Beach Boys and Girls
After a brilliant day with lots of sun and blue skies, the next one started off with grey blanket cloud. Not a problem at all. It wasn’t raining and even felt a bit warmer. Started off quite the same with me chilling, doing an online Spanish class, then waking Rich to cook us breakfast.
No plans up to this point other than venturing down to the harbour hunting out some coffee and fresh bread. Both we found after a little wander around at a bakery with all other coffee places shut for the week, the season or sadly shut for good. Mind you that coffee was amazing and so were the little Portuguese tarts Rich bought with it.
Back up at the cottage we got ready to head out to Pendower Beach which had been recommended to us in the bakery as perfect for doggies. It was but half an hour’s drive and sure enough was long, sandy and very quiet at this time of year. We had been here before if memory serves, but were happy to visit again.
Jess got a little bit of off-lead time as other dogs were far far in the distance so both dogs ran their hearts out for a bit. Walked up and down the beach, then back to the car with two happy pooches who didn’t mind us driving down to St Mawes next.
This one had been recommended to us as well and it was indeed quite alright. Probably one of those places that needs the bustle of tourism to really shine. Yet we found ourselves a nice café for some coffee and a very mushroomy mushroom soup. Walked along the waterfront for a bit before driving back to Meva just as a light drizzle set in. Perfect timing.
Stopped by the butchers at the farm shop situated at the Heligan Gardens site to pick up sausages, bacon and some beef bones for the mutts. The deserted car park, dark, skies, biting wind and drizzly rain made us want to be anywhere but here. Preferably with a warm fire, a blanket and a hot drink.
Back at the cottage we just chilled whilst the dogs went to work on their bones crunching and nibbling. We both dozed off and before we knew it an hour had passed and darkness had set in whilst the dogs were still working away. Oops. Took both bones away and they fell asleep straight away after having been awake for at least 10 hours straight. Bless them. If we’d left them with the bones they’d probably still be chewing on them.
We used the quiet time to sneak down into Meva to find a couple of cold drinks which we ended up having at the Cellar Bar. Tucked away in a little courtyard it was somewhat of a pub/bar without being particularly cosy or modern or anything, yet the two ladies serving were super friendly and since we were pretty much the only guests at half 6 we had a good chin wag. Half-price drinks at happy hour had convinced us to stay at first, but in the end we actually really liked the place. Sometimes it’s the places where you think “Meh” at first that you have an unexpected great time.
Chatted about the issues with cost of living and so many places having to shut for good these days as running costs have just skyrocketed. So sad to see it in an area that feels like it should cope. But it doesn’t. There is no help coming down to keep the small businesses afloat and if too many go bust, tourists may stop coming which then causes all sorts of other problems.
Whilst we couldn’t stay, others started piling in for the pub quiz at 8 o’clock. Great to see the Cellar Bar full of people! We walked back up the hill to warm up our curry and soon after finishing the last bits of it we hit the sack, strangely tired after not actually doing much all day.
Around the moor and… well… through it
Okay, so after a somewhat lazy day we decided to do a bit of a longer walk. Especially with quite nice weather again. Set off after the usual morning routine to drive up to Goss Moor near St Dennis. The area had been used and abused for tin mining in the late 1800s/early 1900s. It was finally turned into a Site of Specific Scientific Interest in 1988 and is now a Nature Reserve. A 7-mile multipurpose trail goes right around it, so we figured it would make for a decent walk.
Parked up on a small car park just outside St Dennis and started walking on the easy gravel road next to the B-road and past a power station. Hm. Not bad so far, but nothing to write home about. Not long after the trail turned away from the road and lead through trees with going underfoot rather easy. That meat freedom for the doggies and they were more than happy to bounce around.
Crossed the A30 for a longer stretch of road only to cross it again once past the Owl Sanctuary when the trail finally turned back into mostly gravel. Met a few dog walkers here, all enjoying a stretch of the legs along the old route of the A30 before it was rerouted as a dual carriageway further North. I always find it great to see how seemingly quickly these old roads, railways, industrial sites are reclaimed by nature and people enjoying a walk outdoors in those places.
Back on a small road for a bit through a tiny hamlet before we turned off onto the Goss Moor Hiking Trail. I had intended to stay on the multi-purpose trail, but hey, this looked alright, nice grassy path and more what we would expect of a moorland walk. So on this one we went and by the time we had maneuvered around yet another broad boggy patch we were already too committed to turn back.
It was indeed rather pleasant. The River Fal next to us, lots of short green grass, gorse, trees… and it wouldn’t be a proper English moor without ponies. Merlin smelled them first, but wasn’t sure what it was, so we could use his confusing to put him back on the lead and guide the pooches past a couple of the gentle beasts.
After much more or less successful bog hopping we finally emerged onto another gravel path and eventually rejoined the multi-purpose trail. Genuinely enjoyed the homestretch with easy walking and lovely moorland views. Merlin had a good time splashing through some of the water until his had such a good time that he decided to do some zoomies racing like a maniac across the many bits of black swamp water with Jess in hot pursuit on her long line.
Trying to stop a dog from doing zoomies is pretty futile so whilst we weren’t too keen for him to race across the swamp, there wasn’t much we could do about it other than keep walking so he would want to follow us. It was lovely to watch them have so much fun though until about three seconds later he hit a deep patch.
Fully in he went and not being the most keen swimmer he decided he’s had enough and once on more solid ground came back to us dripping. Had he been a white dog he would’ve been black now. So we weren’t fully aware of how much dirt he had actually soaked up until about 15 minutes later at the car when we started towelling him off.
Two large towels became to large black towels and we hadn’t even touched the surface…. the one time you forget to take the mud-daddy with. Duh! So we drove home after a not exciting yet pleasant walk in fine weather with a car smelling of wet swamp dog. Splendid.
I should’ve know it there and then, but we seemed to have the attention of the Stoic Gods who thought it would be fun to challenge us. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look up William Irvine and his book The Stoic Challenge. It’s basically about how to stay calm and relaxed when dealing with whatever life throws at you.)
The next bit of “fun” was us two craving a coffee and only to find the only café nearby closed when I pulled up. Ah well. Never mind. Heading home then.
On the way out Rich had had the pleasure to drive an extended period of time on the narrowest single track roads. The ones with grass in the middle and passing places far and in between. In Cornwall it’s easy to end up on those as Google Maps will send you onto them (they are national speed limit) for the shortest journey. And there are loads around. Thinking myself clever I had come up with a route mostly on A and B roads for the drive back. Yay me.
It all went well until we got stuck behind a car accident not even ten minutes into the journey. Had we not picked up a couple of cold drinks at a garage minutes before it would’ve happened behind us. U-turn it was and onto the beloved single track roads. Joy.
Only to get stuck once more when a couple of farmers were herding their flock off sheep along the road. Surrounded by sheep we could only wait until the road was clear again and then hop from passing place to passing place with a lot of traffic coming the other way trying to avoid the road closure on the A-road.
We took it all with a smile. Take that Stoic Gods! That all you got?
Back home we needed four big buckets of water to get the worst of Merlin which took ages without a hose etc., but we just ploughed on until he was more or less free from swamp water and had only a faint smell on him. Four towels and our two mud-caked trousers went into the washing machine, we went under the shower and could then finally relax.
And we were rewarded for braving all those little challenges with an amazing dinner at the Polgooth Inn pub a 15-min drive away. One of the best pub meals ever for us and we had quite a few over the years. In fact, I can’t remember a better pub meal ever. The pub itself was super cosy with a lovely atmosphere, staff couldn’t have been friendlier and thoughtful. We initially had a table reserved which turned out to be near the door, but they offered us another one away from the cold draft.
Food choice was excellent, a few things on the menu which were not in the usual pub-grub category. We had some beef brisket tacos for starters and Rich then went for a steak and ale pie and I had brisket burnt ends with chips, slaw, corn and salad. Food was excellent and the bill very reasonable. Wow. What a treat!!!
This is probably the most chilled Cornwall holiday so far and we’re both enjoying it massively. We never leave the house before 11 or so (very unusual for me at least), but we’re really enjoying the chill time just reading, watching some stuff and I can catch up on some Spanish study, emails and outdoor magazines which had been piling up over the last few months. Good times!