Sun, sea and scones


Cornwall was lovely, but only if you like hot, 20-something lifeguards and cream teas. By happy happenstance, I’m able to tolerate both to a remarkable degree (iron constitution, me), so I was able to watch the young things scamper about in the surf while I tried to concentrate on baked goods. In the end, it was a bit like testing a Labrador to failure, one person at the far end of the room holding up a biscuit, the other by the door brandishing a lead. Walkorsnack? Walkorsnack? Woof. Doggybrain meltdown. (The scones won.)

Port Isaac is a funny little town, full of tourists balking at steep hills, but it seems that being photographed outside Doc-Martin-off-the-telly’s house is enough to get even the stoutest to risk their joints. There’s a good pub, the Golden Lion, and I can heartily recommend the local beer, Tribute and/or Tinners. Lovely. Just across the street from the back door (we’re talking a good eight paces), there’s a brilliant teashop-restaurant, with great tapas and an owner/waiter so Welsh, and with such curly hair, that a long-disused patch of my brain suddenly coughed up an image of Max Boyce c1975.

We headed out onto the Southwest Coast Path (that’s me and my mate; the waiter wasn’t invited) and did some fantastic walking along dizzying cliffs. The weather was mostly great, and any unfortunate squalls we weathered by hiding under cliffs or sitting down and turning our backs to it. “I feel like a bloody emperor penguin,” I heard Kristin shout over the drumming of rain on Goretex, “And the horizon’s disappeared.”

Oh look, here’s a picture of me, apparently with a surfboard sticking out of my arse.

I think this was Polzeath. I’m carrying my boots because there was a lot of paddling. I did in fact pack my swimming togs, forgot to take them on the one day I would have swum, and carried them around for the rest of the week, shuddering at the merest thought of a dip.

The last day was very windy. I love the wind, especially the stuff that blows straight in off the Atlantic, which was just as well, because there was a lot of it. How exhilarating, we thought, getting blown sideways on frightening and uneven clifftop steps. An hour later, with howling earache, we’d sort of had it with the wind, and cut back across country to get home. Cows, country lanes, blackberries slightly salted by the air, and at least a mile shorter than the way out. Lush.

In case you’re interested, here’s the breakdown:

Port Isaac: Higgledy town; good food and beer; best cream tea of the week in Cupcakes.
Tintagel: Pretty town; a pasty that still makes me feel sick when I think about it; excellent visitor centre.
Newquay: Ugly-wugly town; the best pasty I’ve ever had – Presto Pasties, in case you’re ever there (I’d had to take a day off pasties after Tintagel’s horror); and a long trudge uphill to the car park.


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