18 January 2017

Cornwall: Life’s a beach

This was our last day in Cornwall and we had a long journey to come the following day, so we decided to take it easy and just head to the beach for a long walk. As it turned out we visited two different beaches, had a longish walk at one and a shortish meander at the other.

On the way to the first beach we passed a pub that I absolutely had to photograph. The Bucket of Blood is in the tiny village of Phillack, near the town of Hayle.

The brewery website says the pub was named ‘after an old well that was present in the grounds which offered red water tainted with tin from the local mines’, but Wikipedia has a much juicier story. It says this Grade II-listed, 18th-century building ‘is thought to be named after an incident where the landlord brought up a bucket of blood from the building's well, as a murdered smuggler had been dropped there’.

I know Wiki is often full of fabrications but I also know which story I prefer. I wonder if there’s a ghost as well.

On to the beach, and what a glorious beach it was! I’m a bit confused about its name, though. To me it looked like one long golden stretch of sand but on the Visit Cornwall website different bits have different names, starting with Upton Towns, passing through Mexico Towans and eventually becoming Gwithian Towans.

We walked, marvelled at the incredible patterns the water had created in the sand, mooched around the rocks looking at lichen and barnacles, were amazed to see a Red admiral butterfly fluttering along near the rocks (this was the 28th of December, after all), and wondered what was causing the air bubbles being released from the sand as the water ebbed and flowed. This beach is a favourite with surfers and we saw a few eyeing up the waves and getting ready to head out to try their luck. Rather them than me in mid winter, wet suit or no wet suit!

From there, we drove north along the coast and ended up in Perranporth, a nice little seaside town that was full of holidaymakers (and their dogs – so many dogs!) enjoying the sunny day. We found the local bakery and indulged in our last Cornish pasties for a while (another day, another variety, and extremely tasty, too), sitting on a bench overlooking the beach. The beady eyes of gulls and jackdaws watched our every mouthful and crumb-fall but none hassled us. Then we went for a wander down to the water’s edge, and back through the town itself.

It was just after 4pm when we decided it was time to head back to our cottage. Although there were no clouds to create a more spectacular sunset, the sky was just beginning to turn a wonderful soft pink that looked beautiful over the breaking waves. And so the sun set on my first holiday (hopefully, of many) in magical Cornwall.

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