The West Cornwall blog.

I couldn’t let the day go by without a post.

My plan was to give you all a rest for a couple of weeks as we wandered around some familiar territory. But then I was flattered by a few emails reminding me that most readers know little of Cornwall and asking that I keep at it.

Thank you.

So here we go.

Chûn Quoit, Pendeen Moor.

The Far West.

There’s so much of Cornwall that I love.

The coast above Newquay all the way to the border is superb.

The Roseland Peninsula is a calmer, more gentle area.

The south coast near the Tamar River that I can’t remember the name of right now.

And of course Gwithian. Three miles of sand that was my happy place for the years when I lived at home with my folks.

Yet for me none of these can touch West Penwith. This place retains the essence of the Cornwall of a different time.

West Penwith is easiest defined as the knob on the end of Cornwall, west of the Hayle River. It’s largely moorland, craggy granite coast, small villages and only has Penzance as a real town. St Just is a town by dint of having a town council, but is a village in most people’s eyes.

Evening Polly walk. Bosigran Cliff.

St Just.

Let’s narrow things down here.

West Penwith, yes, wonderful, I could live most places here, but truly it’s St Just that draws me. I’ve been coming to St Just regularly since my late teens when my friend Dominic moved to nearby Trevegean.

The town’s hard face, austere character, often foul weather and close knit community all make it a special place. The Co-op is the meeting place for most people and all the news can be heard there.

Carn Galva by torch light.

Visiting home as a tourist.

Seeing home after a year of traveling has been a revelation. Suddenly you understand why people are eager to pay astronomical prices to own a small part of this beautiful land.

We spent a week in the very special Mill House above Sennen’s idyllic beach (thank you Annette). You can book it through The Cornish Way. At the house you wake and go to the window to soak in the view across the dunes and beaches then on out to sea. It has more space than I have ever experienced indoors.

The Club Room at Mill House (looks even better now with curtains).

When we left we didn’t go far – just to the bottom of the hill to park in the Sennen Life Boat car park for Saturday night. Dinner in The Old Success was typically expensive, but surprisingly good. Waking overlooking such a great beach was even better.

Across Venandreath to Gwenver, with our old house Myn Tea if you know where to look.

Breakfast scuppered.

Minty’s favourite breakfast cafe is Strong Adolfo’s near Wadebridge. Bloody miles away. But not if you have a morning flight. We planned to stay between the cafe and airport at lovely Porthcothan to enable a morning feast before her flight north.

Alas although we camped where we planned, and I took long coastal walks that reminded me that we don’t have a monopoly on beauty in the far west, the breakfast didn’t happen.

On Monday Minty had a new and difficult filling to repair her cracked (in Italy) tooth and was off food for a day or so. Shame.

Trevaskis Farm Shop and Restaurant.

Trevaskis is a west Cornwall institution. And one of my mum’s favourites.

The large farm introduced us to pick-your-own decades ago and probably made a big difference to the Cornish fruit intake.

When they opened their farmhouse kitchen it was an immediate hit with the oldies giving them a sure fire great lunch at a reasonable price.

It’s now a big restaurant, and a big farm shop, and a huge pick-your-own, yet it still delivers great food, good service and isn’t too badly priced.

Mum and I always hope to indulge in the sweet counter after our meals, but we’ve yet to have room. Perhaps one day we’ll start our meal with desert.

Peggy and KC at Trevaskis (last year before the beard extensions).

Camping on the carns.

I’m writing this at Carn Gloose, above Cape Cornwall. My view is spectacular, and even familiarity does nothing to remove its polish. I can see out to Lands End, and down to the Cape (the original Lands End before map making improved).

St Helen’s Chapel, Cape Cornwall.

It’s not easy though. There’s a gale howling outside. Every pour of coffee or milk has to be done in the sink as the van is rocking as if we were out to sea. The new Heki roof lights are doing their job though and there’s no draught and much less noise than we had with the previous Fiamma ones.

Sitting here all morning is interesting. So many cars come. People get out. Have a look. Drive off. I want to stop them and implore them to spend a few hours, to wander down to The Cot, then back up the valley to town. Or down to The Cape, and across to the wild and beautiful Kenijack.

There’s such depth to the experience here, but it needs time to absorb. Perhaps a couple of nights sleeping here have given me more than I’ve previously taken from the spot. I certainly know that I’m lucky.

A few nights back I was on Carn Galva, above the Bosigran climbing cliffs where Minty and I were wed. The view from the top of the carn there is one of the best.

Over Bosigran, Carn Galva and Carn Gloose.

The Star. The Commercial. The Welly. The Kings.

Although I favour The Star, all four pubs in this little St Just town are beauties with character in spades.

Many friends met in the pubs make nothing of our year away. Life goes on and if I happen to have travelled east of Redruth then that’s my look out.

Terry Sturgeon at Carn Bosavern Garage serviced and repaired the van. Reluctantly I have swopped its sexy wheels for ArchieVan’s old steels. The price of huge low profile tyres was too much to bear after £2000+ worth of upgrades and repairs. Archie doesn’t look quite as distinctive now, but I believe the ride is a little better. The alloys can go back on after the big trips have slowed.

Onward.

On Monday I’ll have lunch with mum again, and try to encourage her to renew her passport so that she can come and meet us in some foreign place again.

After a gurt licker of a pasty I’ll head off across England to meet up with Minty again. Ten days apart are healthy for us, it allows us to spread our wings in a different fashion, but more importantly it allows us to miss the person who has been at our side for so long.

Yay! Then we should make it out again before the gates are shut.

I’ve long been taken by this little barn in St Just. Imagination goes wild…

12 Replies to “The West Cornwall blog.”

  1. Gillian Cooper says: Reply

    Hi Guys
    KC you make everything very interesting and one can picture in one’s mind
    All these beautiful places
    Never been to Cornwall should put it on our bucket list
    Hugs to Polly
    JC& GC😎

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      Thank you Gill.
      Never been to Cornwall?
      That’s a shame, it’s only down the road.
      I hope I can encourage you to address that.
      Always good to hear from you.
      Best wishes. Kelvin.

  2. What a pleasant surprise! I had thought, as I went out this morning, how disappointing that there would be no Wild and wonderful wanderings today then, on my return, there they were as if by magic from your own little slice of England. Great photos from Bosigran cliffs and at the beautiful, sun-kissed barn. Store this visit well, to keep you going until the next time. 😊🐾

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      Thank you, and yes, I do need to store the beauty of home in my mind, it’s easy to get carried away by the lure of the new.
      I hope you’ll enjoy following us through the journey to come.
      Best wishes. Kelvin.

  3. Oh, nice surprise! I didn’t want to beg for some more posts from Cornwall – but you know, how much I like the West. Two weeks ago I was quite proud of myself to recognize the way down Cot Valley immediately when you used the photo. Nanven is the perfect spot for a pebble turner like me! All the best and good luck for Minty with her tooth!
    M

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      Margaret
      I love the thought of a pebble turner!
      Cornwall was very special over the last two weeks.
      We had every weather imaginable from warm and sunny to big gales last night – and I loved it all!
      We have a week now before we set off again. Hopefully you’ll stay with us.
      Best wishes. Kelvin.

  4. Annie Wolohan says: Reply

    You make me home sick for Cornwall. Such a special place and my such truly beautiful memories of the place and the people. Hope to cross paths with you in the future, sometime, somewhere….. xx

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      Annie!
      Delighted to hear from you.
      When we’re back in Cornwall you should come for a fresher visit.
      And likewise we must tour the Irish coast sometime too.
      It’s great to have you on board with us.
      Best wishes. Kelvin.

  5. I remember the last time we all went to the Old Success, mouth watering Fish and Chips I recall, a while ago now though.

    Cheers
    R

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      The Old Success has never been shy with its charging, but I like the pub nonetheless.
      Even if it wasn’t very nice the view would make it a winner.
      Best wishes. Kelvin.

  6. Angela and Martin says: Reply

    Great to read about and see the photos of all those places you mention and to know exactly where they are. Remember our first stay in Tregiffian was 2 and a half year ago, then we came back a few times to what is now our second home. We look forward to coming again next week.
    By the way : We recently bought a Cornwall travel guide by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and found all the places you recommended inside that little book. All the best to all 3 of you for part 2 of your journey. Angela and Martin

    1. Kelvin Collins says: Reply

      Thanks Angela

      Perhaps the guide has been catching up on my blogs!

      Spending some time in Cornwall was a real pleasure. We’re in North Wales now which is very beautiful as well.

      I hope you get to Cornwall while the sun’s still shining.

      Best wishes. Kelvin.

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