I often hear Hemmick spoken of in reverential tones; friends, family and strangers all utter soft, dreamy cooing sounds when the name is mentioned. They bleddy love the place basically.
Soft sand, clear water (my Father and I, keen swimmers, always note that the water feels colder here than in the St. Austell bay) isolated, almost never crowded and unusually for the South, can pick up a good swell. Here is where I would say the similarities with the south west of Wales and Cornwall become particularly close.
What I think produces such doe-eyed fondness, particularly amongst locals, is the almost overwhelming envious desire to dwell within the little cottage on the right. Look at it! It’s perfect. Anyone with a fondness for the moods of the ocean is instantly consumed with property lust and covetousness.
Well it’s National Trust. This is a good thing. It’s too perfect to be owned by any one person. This also means you can book it and live in it for a week or so.
I just looked at the prices. Holy hellfire. Maybe not. Park up your wagon in the car park for free or camp on the beach as we have done countless times before. Indeed, I’m fairly sure a few enduring relationships (or STIs, whatever) have started here after sandy coitus and too much booze.
This is the western, more exposed side of the Dodman.
I consider the greatest asset to Hemmick is that you can harvest wild Mussels here.
It’s safe (the local expression goes anything west of Portgiskey – the far side of Pentewan Sands – is safe). Be discerning and don’t go mental, it is a sensitive ecosystem and Mussels do a lot.
Wild Garlic grows like a weed in most woodlands locally but the nearest place I know for sure is the little lane from the to nearby Portholland. The second hamlet over from here, westward.
So, if you fancy a relatively cheap gormet experience, drive-by harvest said Wild Garlic, and head to the beach with a campstove (or you can use a well built fire), two bottles of white wine (one for drinking one for cooking and drinking so whatever your taste dictates) and possibly some single or double cream.
Boil a few drams of seawater in a wok or large pan, add the wine (mussels should be about half covered with liquid), boil quickly, add the garlic, a bit of cream if you want, then chuck the mussels in, de-bearded of course. Put a lid on and wait about 5 mins. Keep an eye though, if you eat mussels you know when they’re done. If you don’t then 5 mins will be fine.
I have an inexplicably vivid memory of watching the Two Fat Ladies, when I was about 6, harvest Mussels here. Back when TV cooking shows (and chefs) were altogether less polished and self conscious.
Well, even I wasn’t expected a cookery diversion when I started this post but there you go. Wild harvests and culinary treats. How vogue. Prehaps I’ll grow a beard and get a nautically themed sleeve tattoo…replete with rolled up jeans and braces. Enough. Moving on. Go to Falmouth if you want that shit.
So if you walk up the footpath on the Dodman side of the beach you can find a precipitous Fisherman’s Path that leads down to a decent fishing mark.
It’s not the easiest to do with rods and tackle, it’s also slightly vertiginous, but it’s a boody (translation; beauty) of a spot.
Fisherman’s Paths are hard to notice. Zealously guarded and often unspoken about to the uninitiated. So, out of respect for tradition, I’ll only say it’s on the right if your walking eastward on the coastpath.
These paths are often just marked by a gap in a hedge, or slightly trodden grass, so can be fairly easily confused for fox/badger paths. A mistake I have made before and been blackthorned and gorse prickled to within an inch of my life. Train your mind to see them and you will, on every headland in the land. Each of them a favoured ‘secret’ spot by some pioneering soul.
I didn’t catch a bleddy thing.
I was super excited aswell after being told the mackerel were in early by the lady of Snozzle (St. Austell) tackle shop, who is amazing by the way, but that is fishing.
I did encounter a huge Grey Seal, peering at me curiously as they do, he didn’t want to be photographed though. Which is fair.
However, if fishing fails there’s always mussels.