Every year around this time, well.. always on the 24th, around lunchtime, to be precise, I load my bike and pedal east to the ‘ancestral home’ for a couple of days. I find the bike ride there and back makes a terrific, and deeply satisfying ‘book-end’ to a lovely family Christmas… it’s also a super opportunity to enjoy the nostalgia associated with childhood and Christmas and so on by riding around all the lanes and backroads that I used to tear around on two wheels as a child. The route I take is far from direct but works out to be a rather scenic, appropriately muddy, and virtually traffic free journey consisting of about 40% dirt & 60% asphalt. I had my camera with me over the weekend, hence this post – honestly I would not subject you to my hopeless ramblings unless there were some pretty pictures to look at.
This may well be last post of 2016, don’t know.. but in case it is – happy new year to you! ta for sticking around :-) Looking ahead to 2017.. mainly back to the Andes on two wheels for a few months for me in the spring. Hurrah! Do stay tuned…
I needed my welly boots over the weekend… I have a Surly 8-Pack rack on the front of my Cross Check at the moment, it’s brilliant. Also worth carrying wellies around for the ‘odd’ looks from other cyclists :-) In fact these might become a staple for local winter camping trips…
It’s only a short crossing but a very lovely one, I always enjoy the short trip across the Fal on the chain-driven King Harry Ferry. It also marks the transition from the rugged west of Cornwall to the gentler rural landscapes of the Roseland and the east.
I stopped to look at the sea at Portholland. It’s a tiny hamlet tucked away between Caerhays and Portloe.. judging by the luxury 4x4s lined up in the car park it was clear that the ‘Christmas in Cornwall’ thing was well under way. I had a lot of stuff on my bike, it was heavier than for a full-on expedition.. alcohol in glass bottles will do that :-)
Up the hill from Portholland is the Caerhays Estate, there is a castle but I prefer the tiny stone church… no-one knows exactly how old it is but parts of it have been dated to pre-Norman conquest times .. so around 10th century AD.
I timed my ride to make sure I passed favourite viewpoints as the sun was sinking low to the horizon. Looking west from Caerhays towards Nare Head and Gul Rock.
The 25th was kind of damp, a visit to Vault Beach is always worthwhile – particularly because it requires a walk to get to and is therefore shunned by most folk :-) It was deserted… aside from myself and my family -who, happily, are great fun to spend time with. I have to say that, they read this rubbish from time to time ;-)
Loving the winter palette. Dodman Point in the background.
Late afternoon was blessed with some terrific skies..
…full of drama..
It was all rather wonderful
People of Boxing Day… my sister had to head down towards Portscatho for a few hours so I jumped in the car with her and went for a wander along the coast path. Much of it was deserted, happily, but Porthcurnick Beach is close to parking and the Hidden Hut eatery, and is a favourite spot for wealthy visitors and second home owners at Christmas. The beach was full of well-dressed families, attired in the correct brands, all looking slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing :-) I’m very much turning into a curmudgeonly old duffer I think… Even with a dose of festive spirit I keep trying to be OK with the luxury second home phenomenon here in Cornwall… but really I’m not, it’s had a devastating, and very obvious, effect on communities all over.
The sunshine was rather warm. Disconcertingly so in fact…
Dogs of Boxing Day….
Flocks of sea birds, mostly Little Gulls and the occasional Black-headed Gull, were feeding along the shoreline where the waves were stirring up the weed. With the arrival of each breaking wave the birds would dance up off the ocean surface just in time, to settle again for a few moments before the next wave. I only had my 56mm lens with me but it was wonderful to watch.
Love watching birds.
..as does this young chap apparently.
The cloud was back for my return ride west, but no less dramatic.