Down West

An impromptu camping trip this weekend. It is May after all. The best month.

The urge to go West has been getting incrementally stronger since starting this little project. I cherish Penwith and do not make the surprisingly considerable effort enough. It is a blogger’s paradise, littered with beauty, intrigue and history.

So with the van laden with hopeful items like guitars, cameras, firewood and cold beers, we hit the arterial A30 and trundled to the wilds of the West. As far as you can go on the English mainland. The excitement was tangible.

For those of you who are passingly familiar with Cornwall it will not surprise you to learn that on our drive down the weather worsened mile by mile. Of course. And our now pitiful excitement fizzled into grim resignation in the thick Cornish mizzle.

The default setting of the far South West, the gulf stream at her finest. Murk.

Porthcurno and Porthgwarra, our primary targets, being as they were completely obscured, the only choice was to carry on to St. Just and revel in its wind battered, rain soaked finery.

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This is the Cornish weather. Don’t let instagram lie to you.

So, despite visions of the western sun slinking over Scilly and campfires with music under celtic stars we did what any self respecting Cornish folk would do, put our heads down, muttered ‘shoulda gone bleddy Devon’ and got utterly stewed in St. Just.  Waddling hunched into horizontal rain gone midnight. This is the main reason why this is a short post.

Despite almost ending the night early in an affray (a not uncommon experience in ‘The Commercial’  – or just the ‘Mersh’ if you’m local – by all accounts, that’s Cornwall for’ee) we emerged unscathed you’ll be happy to hear and did a thorough tour of the drinking houses the town has to offer. Which is, it must be said, a fair bleddy few considering the size of the place. I would recommend them all for a full taste. 97% of all people are ansum remember.

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St Helen’s oratory. A perfect example of medieval Christianity building over and yet acknowledging the Celtic tradition of Christian and Pagan belief systems interweaving.

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I would live in St. Just given half the chance. In this house (not my picture):

 

It’s only ten miles or so from Penzance or St. Ives but it’s got a real isolation and because of that a community. It is, in my eyes, a perfect little town;  butchers, greengrocers, artists co-ops, expansive village greens, sports, architecture, history, galleries, pubs and seems to divide its time between the brash business of Summer and the hunkered-down solitude of Winter rather well.

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The house on the right, perched high on the first cliff of Cornwall, whitewashed and house-shaped, stubbornly facing down the Atlantic and the first to know of any storm, is my absolute ideal… Probably a holiday let… In the distance is the remnants of Kenidjack Castle, an Iron Age promontory Hill Fort inhabited by the hardiest of ancient Cornish folk.

The whole Atlantic-bruised wildness of this exposed lump of Cornwall I just lap up. I can spend days down here. Unless I have a hangover and I can’t see anything beyond 30 yards, in which case I’ll go home.

Here’s some extra photos taken in the briefly coincidental windows of visibility and sobriety.

 

 

 

 

 

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