Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Holiday to Cornwall - Day 4 - My Birthday and Mevagissey

Today was my birthday so after opening my cards with breakfast we visited Mevagissey, first impressions were that nothing much has changed.

The first record of Mevagissey date back to the early 14th Century when it was know as Porthilly.  
The name Mevagissey comes from St Meva and Saint Issey.

Our first port of call was to the museum at the end of East Quay that runs down the left side of the harbour. This small museum is set in a historic building dating back to 1745 when it was used to construct and repair vessels for smuggling. There are now three floors filled with artifacts relating to the history of Mevagissey.

The fisher and cottages on the Cliff Road above the East Quay date back to the 17th Century.

There are still several fishing boats sitting in the harbour and still you can buy fresh fish as it arrives in harbour, providing you are up early enough.  If you want you can go out on a mackerel fishing trip. (extract from museum leaflet: “In 1830 pilchard catches were substantially as much as 12,000 to 15,000 tons in a good year.”) There are also a couple of boats that go out for half hour trips along the coast back towards Pentewan.

You can catch the Fowey Ferry from here too. (extract from museum leaflet: “In 1830 there were sixty-four seine boats operating out of Mevagissey and the nearby coves.”)

One of several heaps of fishing nets on the quay, waiting to be loaded onto the fishing boats later today.

The harbour is lined with several restaurants all serving fish dishes, including one Portugese restaurant, which seems a bit out of place, plus several ice cream parlours.  

Hidden beneath the ivy is the 15th Century Fountain Inn.

There are also several gift shops.

(Extract from museum leaflet “In 1866 an Act of Parliament was obtained to allow the enlargement of the harbour.”)

We stopped off at one of the coffee shops just off the harbour front for a coffee and a flapjack.

We then walked up Polkirt Hill which climbs up steeply parallel with West Quay, giving you the classic view over the harbour.  Close to the top you can divert into the gardens where there are several benches for you to sit and admire the view.  After sitting for a while we headed down the steps taking us to the West Quay.

A rare photo of me.

At the beginning of the West Quay can be found a small aquarium with examples of the various fish and lobsters, crabs that can be found in the waters locally. In 1869 this building was the home of the lifeboat station.

After all this walking it was time for lunch, a coronation chicken roll and a coffee was what was needed.

The lighthouse at the end of the West Quay was built in 1896.

Every where you go in Cornwall you will be serenaded by the many large Gulls.

(Extract from museum leaflet: “Andrew Pears was a young Cornish barber, cutting hair and trimming beards in Mevagissey more than 200 years ago.  In 1789 he went to London where he groomed the gentry and listened to their complaints about the harsh effects soaps had on their complexion.  He experimented and came up with the most perfect soap - Pears.”)

On returning to Pentewan Sands we went to the sun deck of The Seahorse for a drink, Ian had a pint of Tetley’s Bitter and I had a Singapore Sling Cocktail in a jar. The last time I had a Singapore Sling Cocktail we were with friends sitting in The Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

For our evening meal we went to the Hubbox down by the beach, an American Diner for a chilli, cheese burger, fries and a cider.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Holiday to Cornwall - Day 3 - Charlestown

Today started off a bit damp so we had the customery fried breakfast, which always smells and tastes better when you are holiday.  The damp start also gave me the chance to catch up on writing up our first few days.

Charlestown was constructed between 1791 and 1801 by Charles Rashleigh. It was originally built to export copper and import coal and later for the export of china clay.

Charlestown and its harbour have been used as settings for several films and TV shows, at the moment the one that everybody is talking about and that Charlestown is making the most of is Poldark, you will find all kinds of momentous for sale. When we arrived it was very busy and quite difficult to park.  It was overcast while we were there so it looked a bit dreary.  

There were a couple of sailing boats in the harbour.  

We walked along the right hand side of the harbour and down to the beach.  

A quick route from one side of the harbour to the other.

We stopped at the Tallships Creamery for a cup of coffee.  

We walked up to the museum but decided not to visit it as the entry fee is £5.95 each.  This ships hull was near the entrance to the museum.

We then walked along the harbour on the left side and climbed up to the coastal path that runs along to Carlyn Bay.  The higher path along the edge of the harbour was lined with old buildings most of which have been converted to holiday cottages. We just loved the way they had designed the front garden to this particular one.

We walked for about 20 minutes along this path until we came out near a hotel and residential area we then walked back.  

Here we are looking back down at the harbour entrance.

We then decided to go back to the Tallships Creamery for a savoury and sweet cream tea, the savoury one consisted of a cheese scone, cream cheese and apple chutney.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Holiday to Cornwall - Day 2 - Trago Mills, St Austell's Undercover Market and Pentewan Village.

Today we decided to visit Trago Mills a retail outlet set in gardens running along the River Fowey.  It is one of those places that sells a bit of everything, the ground floor is predominantly DIY, gardening and pet supplies. Upstairs has soft furnishings, food, clothing, toys and other household items.  A very popular place, especially on a Sunday.  The gardens are mainly wooded following the path of the river with unusual statues dotted about.

On the way back we followed the signs for St Austells market, a large under cover market open weekends and Wednesday's.  It's stalls sell a variety of things from fruit and veg, cakes, oriental foods, tools, household goods, clothes, toys, dvd’s.  There are several cafes dotted around and we stopped at one for a roast pork dinner for £7 each, it was tasty and loads of it.

When we got back to Pentewan we had a walk into the village via the old lock which you used to be able to walk across.  It is still here but access across is now via a new walk way as the lock has seen better days.

There is a sign by the side of the harbour which reads:
“Pentewan Harbour was built in 1826 by Sir Christopher Hawkins, who lived at Trewithen, Probus.  Built on the site of an earlier 18th century harbour, it comprises granite quays and a double lock gate leading to a basin.  The harbour was used for exporting China clay which had been transported down the Pentewan Valley by a narrow gauge railway.  It was on of 3 harbours built by competing local squires at the time - the others being Charlestown (by Charles Rashleigh) and Par (by Treffry).

After reading about the old Pentewan it prompted me to create this set of photos:

The harbour is no longer in use.  The existing culvert channel and sluice were constructed between 1880 and 1907 and were used to flush out the entrance channel to the dock by diverting the White River.  The redundant sluice was removed from the channel in early 2012 as part of flood risk improvements by the Environment Agency following flooding in the village on the 17th November 2010.  The improvements included installation of additional twin flood relief culverts from the harbour into the channel and a new outlet into the White River.”

The old harbour area looks tidier and better kept than I remember and the Piskey Cove cafe and gift shop are still here, although the shop seems smaller than we remember.

Inside Piskey Cove cafe,

and the view from our table.

The Ship Inn seems as busy as ever with its beer garden across the road, next to the harbour.  The small surf shop was still tucked around the corner and also another one further around the corner.

We also found the cycle hire centre at the start of the Pentewan Valley Trail, I don’t remember this trail from before.  We had a little walk along it, if ww get chance we will investigate further another day.

Some people have Gnomes in their garden, here in Pentewan they have cows!  These ones were looking down at us from a garden on the side of the hill.

As you reach the junction of the road to Pentewan with the main road you come across another restaurant called Simply Judes, which again we remember from our previous trips.