London, Cornwall and the Kennet & Avon Canal
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Tues. August 1st, 2006

North Western Cornish Coast

Rainy in the early morning, but clearing up late morning

Today we were set to explore the northwest coast. Woke up around 6:30, got ready, read email and came down for breakfast. Same two couples were also there.

Carissa and Kel Bostcastle Harbour We set off in the car a little before 9:00. It was a bit rainy and grey, but Mike said he thought it would clear up before it became too bad, and we should have a good day, generally.

We started out driving North thru Camelford, discussing King Arthur legends and Real Estate in California vs. England and Scotland and differences in how our electoral and legal systems work to pass the time. Started at Boscastle, which Len and I were interested in seeing as the flood happened the last time we were in London, and so had been headline news during our trip nearly 2 years ago. We'd also heard the final Changing Rooms had been done there, but have yet to catch it on BBC America.

The sun was out, the sky was blue with puffy clouds and the breeze was blowing madly as we walked up the hill past the breakwater and looked back into the valley. The shops along the river had mostly been restored, and now sported green signs at the eaves showing the date and high water level of the flood.

Tintagel Church From there, Mike took us to the Camelot Hotel for a look down into one side of the Tintagel ruins. I guess since Tintagel is just ruins someone thought the perfect thing to set right next to it would be a hotel shaped a bit like a "castle". And offering "The Best Cappuccino in Cornwall" is just what the place needed. Looked pretty cheap..., and the big sign erected into the side of the hill facing the Tintagel Castle ruins didn't improve the atmosphere.

We walked over down to the entrance on the other side, but decided that we weren't in the mood for the full tour, and went back up to look thru Tintagel Church. Another big old cemetery, but they were serving Cream Teas in the back of the nave. Too early for us.

Padstow side street We drove south along the coast looking at other little picturesque towns and villages and stopped for lunch in Padstow. The day had turn out quite nice, and Padstows harbour front was overrun. Mike dropped us off and we agreed to meet in a little over an hour, giving us time for lunch and sightseeing. There were several places overlooking the harbour, but they all had lines so we elected to head a few doors up the side street and try the Harbour Inn since we'd likely get done sooner. A good choice, since from the look of it 90% of the country was having lunch in Padstow.

The spot we'd chosen wasn't quite as over run, and had nice big sandwiches. (I had the Mozzerella, Ham and Pineapple on a giant half bap, it was HUGE.)

Suitably stuffed we wandered thru the town taking pics and shopping. Carissa found the perfect gift for her mum in the window of a little jewelry shop and hopped in to buy it. Which is where she discovered her credit card expired the day before. Oops. Luckily she had cash and was still able to get it. While she was doing that Len snapped pics of the flower baskets hanging form the walls.

Lanhydrock We walked around the harbour, and since the tide was going out they'd closed the flood gates to keep some water in for the boats. This meant we needn't turn round and go back, but could cross over the gates and get easily back to where we were meeting Mike with 5 mins to spare.

We went thru a few more towns, and since Carissa had asked Mike about Cornish Castles, he came up with the plan to visit Lanhydrock. Not a castle, but certainly a large stately home. We spent quite a bit of time going thru there and then hit the tea rooms on our way out, so Carissa could sample the delights of a Cream Tea. Mike had mentioned a great plan, since they're so big, to just order two Cream Teas, and a pot of tea on its own, and then split it three ways. It was just the right amount so as to not make us burst.

Delabole Slate Quarry On our way around we also stopped at the Delabole slate quarry and a China Clay pit. He also had another neat little spot. He went down this country lane a little ways, stopped, backed into a side road and pulled forward. Once we were nose forward again he said "there it is" and pointed. High on a rocky outcrop were the ruins of an abandoned hermitage, starkly outlined in the lowering sun. We'd just driven by it and had no idea it was hiding up there. As we drove past the China Clay works he gave us some of the history of the china clay industry in Cornwall.

China Clay Tip We got back to the house and cleaned up a bit before going to dinner at another great place Mike knows. The Pandora Inn in Restronguet.

The Pandora (named after the ship sent out to find the Bounty Mutineers) is on the water with a great big dock going out. It has a lot of picnic tables from the far end all the way to right up near the front entrance and was surrounded by the largest collection of sailboats we'd seen in Cornwall. And doing a brisk "sail up" trade too, from the look of it. We had the Escaploines of Free Range Chicken with Leek and Garlic Confit and Smoked Bacon and Tarragon Cream Sauce. The food was good though the service was a tad bit slow from the sheer number of people and Mike arrived back to pick us up before we'd gotten outside.

Mike mentioned he had another tour group to do in the morning so wouldn't be able to give us a lift to the station, but would be happy to schedule a taxi for us us at whatever time we needed.

With that in mind we traipsed up to our room to finish off any remaining soda and beer left over from Scala and get the packing (mostly) settled so as not to have to worry about it last minute tomorrow after breakfast.


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