Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dallying In Wells

Although not strictly part of my "Coast & Cornwall" trip, I took the opportunity to stop off in picturesque Wells, in Somerset, on my way back home, via a stop in Wiltshire to visit friends. I'd seen the Cathedral on a previous trip, but I had never visited the Bishop's Palace Gardens, which are well worth a visit:

[The Bishop's Prison is in the garden, tucked away in a shady corner]

You can wander around the grounds, ruins and building which still stand, including the peaceful Chapel:

[The quiet Chapel in the Bishop's Palace]

There is also a restaurant serving lunches and teas, but on this occasion, their patio was unoccupied:

[Even the chairs on the patio have a churchey theme!]

There are also plenty of flowers to attract the attention, here's one I can't identify, but I loved the deep pink colours:

[Cerise pink flowers on a green background]

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Coast & Cornwall Day 9 - Tintagel & Boscastle

I set off from Padstow this morning with a hazy sky above, but by late morning it had burned off a bit. I had a look around the ancient village of Tintagel and King Arthur's alleged castle. It's a stiff climb up the cliffs but the views from the top are worth it:

[View from high up on the cliffs at Tintagel, with ruins and the rocky cove below]

My next stop was just a few miles up the road, to the bustling village of Boscastle, star of the BBC's "A Country Parish" which was devastated by a massive flash flood in August 2004. They are still rebuiling parts of it, although most of the shops and houses are back to normal. Here's an innocuous view of low tide in the 16th Centuary harbour:

[A few boats sitting quietly in Boscastle Harbour at low tide]

My final stop of the coastal tour was back in Devon, at Westward Ho!, where I found a nice restaurant for dinner, after exploring the pebbly beach. Some of the smooth grey pebbles have lovely white stripes running through them - they were so pretty, I couldn't resist picking up a few to bring home (you may see some more studies of them in due course):

[Attractive pebbles on Westward Ho!'s rocky beach]

So, that's it for my coastal wanderings. Tomorrow I'm off to visit friends in Wiltshire on the way home, for a couple of days. I'll post some more pictures if I see anything interesting on the way, although I think rain is forecast, so I might not stop many places. I hope you've enjoyed sharing my trip!

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Coast & Cornwall Day 8 - Lappa Valley & Padstow

lMy first stop after leaving St. Ives was the Lappa Valley Steam Railway, a few miles south of Newquay. They have a narrow gague track which was running a lovely little engine called Zebedee today:

[Lappa Valley Railway No. 1 "Zebedee" chuffing off from East Wheel Rose station]

I drove through Newquay, but didn't see anything which inspired me enough to stop for pictures. After some lunch at a local pub in Mawgan Porth, I headed along the coast road and eventually stopped at Harlyn Bay for about an hour. There's a huge sandy beach (suitable for surfing if there were big enough waves, sadly not today) and lots of people were enjoying the sun, including one lady taking her horse out for a run:

[Harlyn Bay white horse, with Gulland Rock one mile off in the distance, on the horizon]

It's then a short hop to Padstow, where I found the passenger ferry to Rock across the Camel Estuary was still running, so I took an hour's trip across the water. While waiting for the return ferry, I saw this speedboat haring up and down the estuary:

[Speed boat on the Camel Estuary, looking towards Padstow]

Having fought off the seagulls who seemed intent on trying to steal my fish and chips from under my nose, I pottered around Padstow for a while before turning in to the B&B to catch up with some blogging and picture sorting. The internet connection has been pretty flakey in St. Ives and was taking an age to do anything, but it seems much better here. Let's hope normal service is now resumed!

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.

Coast & Cornwall Day 7 - Newlyn To Land's End

Another stop-start day, with a bit of driving followed by a break for pictures.

My attention was attracted first off by the ruin of an old mine near Cripplesease, as I was heading for Penzance & Newlyn. Both had lovely harbours, but Newlyn's was a little more picturesque:

[Float My Boat - just how many fishing floats does one boat need?]

I moved round the coast to Mousehole around lunchtime, but sadly the tide was out and it wasn't quite as pretty as it could have been with a little more water in the harbour. Then on couple of miles to Porth Curno and the Minack Theatre, a bizarre creation perched on the side of a cliff with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop:

[The Minack Theatre is perched on the side of a cliff]

As I'm down here, I had to take a trip to Land's End, but as expected it was a horribly over-commercialised enterprise - most of which was closed by 4:30pm! Thank heavens I didn't have to part with any more coinage to pay for parking or to get a look at the cliffs. Here's a punter posing with the famous sign:

[Land's End Random Bloke - he claimed to have worn the same shirt on his last visit in 1960 - let's hope he'd washed it inbetween!]

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Coast & Cornwall Day 6 - Goonhilly, Lizard & St. Ives

My first stop of the day was at Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, where visitors can see lots of the dishes and even get a guided tour round one. I guess the old engineer in me never dies! Here's a shot of Arthur, built in 1962 to track the fast-moving Telstar satellite - apparently it can do one full azimuth revolution in 3 minutes!

[Arthur, the oldest dish at Goonhilly, and you can tour round inside]

My next stop was Lizard Point, the most southernmost point in mainland Britain. There are rugged rocks and coastal flowers, one of the most prevalent is a native of South Africa and has taken a strong foothold on the rocks about the Lizard, it's a succulent called the Hottentot Fig:

[Yellow Hottentot Fig, but they also come in orange and delicate shades of pink]

I also stopped at Mullion Cove and St. Michael's Mount on the way to St. Ives, where I'll be spending two nights. Here's a view of part of the harbour as I walked out to find dinner - the tide was splashing the walkways with foam, so you had to time your walk carefully!

[St. Ives and a few crashing waves]

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.

Coast & Cornwall Day 5 - Roseland Peninsular & Falmouth

Quite a few short stops today, with plenty of variety of things to see. I started off with a short detour off the main route between St. Austall and St. Mawes to visit the peculiar round houses in Veryan. I didn't know they existed until I saw them on a local postcard last night in Mevagissey - it's always worth looking at postcards for inspiration of places to visit! Here's one of my efforts:

[Round House in Veryan - not sure, but I think they may be Alms Houses]

Heading back to the main road, I was distracted by a lovely old Water Mill at Melinsey which had excellent tea for elevenses, and friendly birds who were after my cake crumbs:

[Female Blackbird at Melinsey Mill]

The next stop was the lovely church at St. Just in Roseland, which is situated right on the side of a creek of the River Fal. According to the information inside, the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter in 1261. It has the most peculiar churchyard I've ever seen, with the gravestones ranged in steep terraces and palm trees growing happily around. Very picturesque when the tide is right, but unfortunately, it was out and the creek was just a load of unattractive mud. However, inside was very pretty and it looked like they'd had a wedding last weekend as the lovely flowers were still on display:

[Interior, St. Just in Roseland Church]

I finally made it to St. Mawes by lunchtime, and enjoyed my first Cornish Pasty in Cornwall - overlooking the bay. I then took the King Harry Ferry short cut across the River Fal, rather than taking the long way back (it looks like a detour of about 30 miles on the map!) and on down to Falmouth for the evening.

Having found my B&B, I went for a walk around the harbour, and the light was very nice after dinner:

[I've left my yacht in Falmouth Harbour]

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Coast & Cornwall Day 4 - Eden Project & Mevagissey

I thought the day would be quite disappointing when I woke up to grey clouds and a forecast for heavy downpours. But then it occurred to me that being inside a massive greenhouse was probably the best place to be during the rain, so I headed off to the Eden Project mid-morning.

The first Biome I visited was the tropical one - bad news for photography because as soon as you enter, everything mists up with condensation. Quite annoying, and although I took a few pictures (they all have "built-in soft-focus filter") but they weren't up to much.

Thankfully, as soon as you come out of the hothouse, things get back to normal with the camera and the Temperate Biome was much better for picture opportunities. Here are a couple of examples:[Inner workings of a tulip revealed when a couple of petals have fallen away]

This robin was quite happy to wander around inside the Biome and pose for photographs!

[Robin in the Biome]

After another massive downpour around 4pm, I decided to leave Eden and head back to my hotel. But I'd been in the car for about 10 minutes and the sun came out - so I headed off to the picturesque fishing harbour at Mevagissey, spending over an hour taking pictures in the evening sunshine:

[Mevagissey Reflections]

Then I enjoyed a lovely dinner in a local fish restaurant - Cornish Monkfish!

The weather promises to be better tomorrow, and I plan to drive around the Roseland Peninsular on the way to Falmouth.

See a few more photos from today in my Flickrstream.