22 of us arrived safely Thursday evening at Treyarnon Bay Youth Hostel at varying times; leaving behind the rain which we had travelled down in, and the forecast of snow and sleet in London for the bank holiday weekend. Some of us went into St Merryn, a village 2 miles away for our evening meal in the Cornish Arms pub. We were served very tasty home baked dishes.
On Friday at 10 am Tom led 18 of us on a 10 mile walk along the coast to the south of the hostel. We had blue skies and gusty winds and breathtaking views of the crashing waves and spray of the sea bubbling up into the sky and falling like foam or snow drops. Lots of stops along the way to take photos, I've never seen so many members taking photos of the sea, sandy bays and rocks, but it was spectacular. We were extremely lucky with the weather, as we could see dark clouds inland. It remained dry, sunny but very cold winds, we had to be careful not to go to near the cliff edge and get blown over, unfortunately a member of the public did and a Sea Air Rescue helicopter and ambulance were required. We stopped at the National Trust Visitors Centre around 1pm for lunch and a welcome hot drink and cream teas and warm food. Some of the group walked down to the beach whilst the tide was out to explore. Tom did a head count - only 17! Had we lost someone on the way? He then realised he hadn't counted himself. We headed back along the coastal path, breaking into 3 smaller groups, walking back to the hostel, the black clouds looming our way and the tide coming in. Arriving back at around 5.30pm, it started to rain heavily and we were all glad to be back inside. Everyone enjoyed the walk, a comfortable pace for a big group. We all had a healthy glow. Well done to all.
The remaining four (Steve R, Mark O, Steve T, Mick W) tackled Friday's main walk which started from Herodsfoot and followed the West Looe river south in a tree-lined valley for 5 miles. They stopped at Looe for lunch, with the wind more prevalent as they were now along the coast. Post lunch they picked up the South West Coast path by heading west out to Talland Bay. Then inland to Barcelona, unfortunately not the big one in Spain, this one had an "ooh arr" accent, and then Pelynt and their departure from civilisation back to rural settings. They climbed Trefanny Hill before heading back into Pendruffle Wood and meeting the West River Looe again to take them back to Herodsfoot. Total distance around 15 miles.
On Friday evening, Rich, Jackie, Steve R, Kate, Caroline and Fiona ate in the hostel, Tom, Anthea and Mark O braved the kitchen and cooked, and others went in to Padstow for a meal at Rick Stein Fish and Chip Shop or to the pub.
Late on Saturday morning Jackie, Nikki, Richie, Caroline and Fiona had a lazy day in Padstow, looking at the quaint art and antique shops and boutiques around the harbour, stopping in the café for a cup of tea and cake. Rich had the patience of a saint and was surprised how much time ladies could spend and shop! We saw Rick Stein in his Gourmet Food Shop book signing! And to our surprise the Queen as well! No corgis though. Jeff, Anthea and Tom went to look at an exhibition and museums in Padstow.
Ten went to Tintagel (Steve, Marcellus, Damian, Lenka, Colin, Diego, Rabia, Elen, Kate and Zhang) on Saturday morning to see the castle; not much viewing due to wind, and then walked to Boscastle. They followed a route east from Tintagel to Halgabron and then a path through woods following another river to a waterfall. Their path veered north over a curving landscape towards and past a number of farms until they reached Boscastle for a late lunch. They found the Wellington Hotel very hospitable, in particular Lenka was impressed at how real the fish she was served for lunch was, it took them a while to convince her to eat all of the head, apparently in the Czech Republic they serve fish headless as well as legless in pubs. Their route back to Tintagel was along the coast, the sign read 4.5 miles and they arrived back amongst the wind and sun in around 2 hours.
In the afternoon 5 of us drove down to Tintagel but were unable to view the castle ruins and cross the steep bridge path due to the high winds. The castle was still very impressive and we were able to walk along some of the coastal pathway to visit the 14th century church which was beautiful inside and a welcome refuge from the cold wind. The visitors centre and gift shop were still open so we walked down and we watched the film on "Searching for Arthur". We met Steve back in the Tintagel castle car park, he was first to finish the walk. We drove back into Padstow for a meal at the Harbour Inn. Parking was not for the faint hearted. No barriers or wall by the harbour, just a drop down into the sea, Rich and Steve both commented that they must have lost a few cars and drivers in their time.
On Saturday evening back at the hostel Anthea produced a surprise chocolate birthday cake for Tom. We all joined in singing Happy Birthday and tucked into cake.
On Sunday the weather wasn't looking too good and we had wind and drizzly rain, so themajority decided to drive down to St Ives (about 50 miles away) and visit the Tate Gallery and exhibition, look around the shops, and walk along the beach and along the coast. Very good cornish pasties, both in meat and fruit varieties and lots of little cafes for cream teas. Well worth the visit and the weather cleared but still very gusty winds. Kate, Colin, Diego and Rabia spent the day in Newquay.
A beautiful sunset was looming on the horizon back at the hostel, quiet a few of us snapped away to capture the sight.
Sunday evening we gave Tom his surprise birthday card signed by the group. We played a pub quiz game, very competitive, and a bit of cheating going on, "no names mentioned". It brought a few memories back with the girls giving a soulful version of Watership Down's "Bright Eyes" theme tune. It was an enjoyable and fun way to end the evening. The sea and fresh air must have improved Richie's lungs as he is known for his loud snoring, Steve R managed to get 3 nights good night sleep even with ear plugs!!!, I heard others were not so lucky!
On Monday we had to be out by 10am from the hostel, still drizzly rain and rough looking sea, most of us had the buffet breakfast, very good value and it set us up for the day. Jackie, Rich, Ellen and Nikki went in to Exeter Quays, lovely walk way along the canal, antique shops and pubs and cafes, we dropped off Nikki en route. Marcellus, Zhang, Lenka, Damian and Andy also visited Exeter en route home. Fiona, Caroline, Tom, Jeff, Anthea and Mick went into Boscastle and on to a pub which took a long time to serve the food! Others headed straight back to London, missing some of the traffic.
Thanks all for coming and glad that you all found it a beautiful and worthwhile place to visit.
Report by Jackie