Tuesday, 19 March 2013

North Cornwall - Day 1

With two days of sunshine forecast I packed my bags and set of for North Cornwall early. Well OK, about 11. After about an hours drive I realised I’d gone the wrong way, not seriously wrong, but a bit wrong so it was time for an impromptu drive across Bodmin Moor. That’s never a problem in my books as Bodmin Moor is one of my favourite spots, appeals to my misanthropic tendencies for a start! Before I knew it I was in the relative civilisation of Blisland, with its village green and well regarded pub. A few miles further and I was in St Tudy.

Lost? Confused? Looking for the toilet?!
I've never stopped off in St Tudy but in the interest of completeness I decided to have a look around. Nice little village so I snapped a few cottages and the church. Next stop was St Teath, again I’ve never looked around this village. It’s a touch bigger than St Tudy and has an interesting clock tower in the middle of the village and an attractive church. St Teath is probably where the folk of St Tudy come for a big night out.

Trebarwith Strand

Still not exactly where I wanted to be I headed for the coast. I’d never really thought about this but there aren't actually that many accessible beaches along this stretch of coast so I went for the nearest, the ever popular Trebarwith Strand. It’s about 20 years since I was last down here and nothing has changed - I made that bit up as I can’t remember anything about the place except they sell beer in the pub overlooking the beach, the Port William!
The beach itself is a mix of rocks and sand with a gert big rock off the coast. For those of you familiar with big rocks just of the coast you’d be right in guessing it’s called Gull Rock. The approach to the beach is very interesting, consisting of a big groove / walkway apparently cut into the slate.

Trebarwith Strand
Trebarwith Strand. Cornwall's dog friendliest beach?
When I arrived the beach was virtually empty so I set up my tripod to take a 360 degree panoramic photo. Within minutes there were dogs running around all over the shop. Seems this is what goes on down on Trebarwith Strand round about lunchtime on a Sunday! So, I moved my set up somewhere I wasn't likely to get flattened by herd of labradors! A few photos later I thought I’d head up the coast path to get a view looking down. Now the mud I can live with but, that path goes up, then up some more and then some. If I’d known this was just a taster of what was coming over the next couple of days I’d have probably gone straight home.

The Strangles and High Cliff

After spending more time and energy that I should have at Trebarwith I headed to the most northerly destination I had planned, The Strangles beach. This was just a name on a map to me so I had no idea what to expect. After a 20 minute drive and increasingly narrow lanes I ended up in a small National Trust car park opposite the footpath down to the beach. Ten minutes later I was looking down on the Strangles. There were only a couple of people on the beach and it’s easy to see why as the scramble down to the beach is hard work and quite a way from the road. The beach is backed by high cliffs with interesting rock formations (Crackington Formation?) and scree sloping down to the beach. The beach itself is sand and shingle with a distinctive rock stack in the middle and a rock arch at the northern end.

Strangles Beach from High Cliff
The Strangles from High Cliff

From here, I figured as I was close I’d nip down the coast to the imaginatively named High Cliff, which is, yes, the highest cliff in Cornwall at 223 metres (732 ft) straight down. It’s only about a mile along the coast path, but as we are in Cornwall the path dips down practically to sea level on the way so it was about has hard going as it sounds.
As I always find when I climb to the top of things (which I always do) the view was fine, but not really any better than 500 feet lower down. Still, that’s ticked off the list and I've got the photos and aching legs to prove it.

Rocky Valley

Rocky Valley - Tintagel
Rocky Valley
It was getting a bit late now and I’d hardly ticked anything off my long list of places to photograph. With this in mind I headed off back towards Boscastle / Tinatgel way but not entirely sure where I was going. I knew I’d wanted to see the waterfall at St Nectan’s Glen and I’d spotted a place to park on the way up the coast. So I parked up in a wooded valley on the road between Boscastle and Tintagel and headed off down the valley towards the coast. I now know this was the wrong direction for the waterfall but was actually a good call. This valley is called Rocky Valley and the river Trevillet cascades down the high sided (rocky) valley before reaching the sea. The sides of the wooded valley reach 70 feet high at some points but it is also known for its rock carvings. Just by the derelict Trevillet Mill buildings are what are thought to be early Bronze Age carvings of circular mazes - obviously being within spitting distance of Tintagel the site is bit of a draw to New age crystal-licking, dolphin hugging types!

Ladies Window
Ladies Window
At the end of the valley I decided to turn right towards Boscastle as there was a photo I wanted to get looking up to the headlands at Boscastle harbour mouth. Like most of the coast path in this part of Cornwall this was hard going, plus I had the return journey to look forward to. It was also getting later so I went as fast as I could. I found the view I was looking for near a spot called Ladies Window. Although not immediately apparent the name comes from a rock arch on the cliffs here. The rock formations round here are generally of interest with huge sea stacks and islands like Firebeacon Hill, Grower Rock and Meachard. Whilst I could have sat here enjoying the view until dark there was still light so I rushed back along the coast path to Rocky Valley.

Back to Tintagel

I was now becoming acutely aware that the sun was setting and I didn't want to taking pictures in a wooded valley at sunset! At this point my legs wanted to go home but all that cycling around West Cornwall has taught me to grit my teeth and get on with it. So with minutes until sunset I jumped in the car and drove the couple of miles to Tintagel, parked up and headed for the cliffs.

Well, as so often happens there wasn't really a sunset - it was more a case of the sun apologetically shuffling off to bed! So there I was, camera in hand on the end of Barras Nose with no sunset. I did take a couple of photos looking up the coast and I’ll see if I can turn up the sunset with Photoshop, but not too hopeful.
On my return to the car I did get a shot I'm quite happy with of the Camelot Castle Hotel (designed by Silvanus Trevail if I'm not mistaken), so not a complete waste of time.

Camelot, Tintagel
Camelot Court Hotel, Tintagel

I was actually quite relieved when the sun disappeared as it meant I was heading 5 miles inland to my B&B in Camelford, ready for another full day’s photographing starting with Roughtor, the second highest point in all Cornwall!


Pretty sure we were down on The Strangles when you were up on the cliffs. Beautiful place.

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More