This spring make some time to say farewell to Saint Piran. He is preparing to make another miraculous journey.
His passage from Ireland to Cornwall floating on a granite millwheel was a few hundreds years ago and when he drifted ashore on the wild Cornish coast he brought with him christianity and the secret of smelting tin. Now in 2018 our patron saint is getting ready for another exciting journey our neighbouring Celtic nation, Brittany. Continue reading
A day out just isn’t a day out without our four legged pals. So for those of you with one or two doggie friends looking for somewhere for a snack between runs on the beach or walks in the woods here are my top picks for cafes that love them too.
- Wild Café, Bedruthen Hotel
This stretch of coast is a dog walker’s paradise. With spectacular views of Mawgan Porth this café is also close to the magnificent Bedruthen Steps and the stunning Watergate Bay. There is miles and miles of coast free to explore. You and your dogs will receive a friendly welcome and can enjoy great coffee, an artisan bakery and delicious locally sourced seafood and wood-fired pizzas as you soak up the vista. www.bedruthen.com
I read recently that Bodmin Moor is less popular with visitors than Dartmoor because it has so few marked footpaths. There are numerous ‘routes’ across the moor but they are far less worn by foot traffic and in most cases not marked at all. But this is one of the reasons I and many others find this place so alluring. Continue reading
The Darley Oak is thought to be 1000 years old.
Lets put that into perspective, when this ancient tree was just an acorn the Normans hadn’t invaded yet and the Domesday Book hadn’t been written. Continue reading
Every Sunday this summer you can enjoy what has to be one of the most outstanding views on the Cornish coast.
The Gribbin Head Daymark is very striking. Its outline can be seen for literally miles, both inland and of course out to sea. That is after all the whole point. Continue reading
It seems to me that there is nothing quite as romantic as living on your own private island. Looe Island lies just one mile off the Cornish coast but feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the busy summer seaside towns nearby. It is home to a breath-taking range of wildlife and 2 very lucky people!
The Moonraker boat takes us the short journey from Buller Quay in East Looe to the makeshift landing point on the white shingle beach of the island. As our small party of 8 people jumps ashore we are greeted by Claire Lewis and her partner Jon Ross. The pair have been wardens on the island for 9 years, “When the job came up in 2008 we were the lucky ones who got it” Claire laughs as she gives us a quick guide to the “dos and don’t” of the island. Continue reading
There is nothing quite like a steam train! And there is no steam train quite like the Tornado! So when I had the chance to climb abroad I didn’t need to be asked twice.
The Tornado is the first steam train to be built in the UK since the 1960s, it was completed in 2009 with all new parts (apart from 3 bits) and so it actually testament to some really awesome old school British engineering. Continue reading
Of course the traditional colours of Cornwall are black and gold (or black and white like the St Pirans flag) but there is another colour that I know resonates through our landscape. Blue.
As I was falling to sleep last night I was thinking back over my day. It had been a glorious May day, more like the height of summer really and I had spent it taking photographs on Gwithian beach. The sea had be ever-changing shades of deep navy blue, emerald green and turquoise and the sky, well it was just the most wonderful shade of . . . how to describe it . . . well. . . it was Cornish blue. Continue reading
In the back of Joseph Thomas’ book of poems entitled “Randigal Rhymes” you will find, along with a list of Cornish proverbs and charm for toothache, a glossary of Cornish words. The first one that you should look up of course is randigal and you will find that it means “a rigmarole, a nonsensical story”.
Joseph Thomas spent his life listening. He listened to the stories of fishwives and tin-miners, circus performers and princes, old men and school children and what he heard inspired his writing.
Joseph almost certainly didn’t write with any expectation of publication, indeed we can only read his poems now because they were printed by subscription by his friends after his death. My copy of his book was printed in 1895 and is rather battered and bruised but you can find reprints of “Randigal Rhymes and a Glossary of Cornish Words” here.
Joseph Thomas wrote because he loved it and because he seemed to want to record the comedy, beauty and whimsy of his world. Continue reading
For most people Saffron is a captivating and expensive spice which conjures up images of mysterious distant lands but for hundreds of years to the Cornish it has been a more homely than exotic ingredient.
It is a story of much conjecture and hot debate as to when saffron first arrived in Cornwall. There are stories of Phoenician and Roman traders from more than 2000 years ago but the more likely answer is a little later than that. In the 14th century Cornwall had a healthy trade in tin with its Spanish neighbours, who in turn had trade routes across the globe, one theory is that saffron first arrived through them.
And this fantastic aromatic spice made its way into our Cornish cooking. Saffron buns and saffron cake are an integral part of any cakey tea (well they always have been in my house anyway!) just as much as clotted cream. And there is even evidence that saffron was cultivated in a few select places in Cornwall for a while – there are records of saffron fields in Launcells near Bude, Fowey, Penryn, Feock and Gerrans. Continue reading