It's the middle of November and it's absolutely tipping it down with rain. I'm currently wrapped up in blankets on my sofa with a pot of tea and avoiding all reasons to venture outside.
As a distraction from the weather today, I've been researching some road trips that I'd like to take early next year. I really fancy heading up to the Jurassic coast and spending a week touring the Devon and Dorset coastline eating ice creams and searching for dinosaur fossils on the beach. I'd also like to re-live my favourite wild camping trip that we did earlier this year down on the south coast of Cornwall. Our little staycation was the best few days that I've had in years. This blog post looks at some of the highlights so that you can possibly enjoy bits of it yourself.
It all started on a Friday afternoon by getting the van washed. If you knew how often Leigh's van got washed, you would recognise this as an event in itself. The guys at Swanpool carwash did a great job on not only the outside, but the inside too, which meant that I wouldn't have to inhale sawdust all weekend (Leigh is a carpenter, and the van is his work van). Next stop was Sainsbury's, where admittedly, I went a little overboard. I wanted our first camping trip to be full of delicious goodies so I spent a small fortune to live like a homeless person all weekend. Made sense at the time. Was it worth it? Read more on the best bacon sandwich EVER further down the post.
Once we'd stocked up on supplies and made the bed up in the back of the van, we hit the road and headed straight to The Minack Theatre.
Leigh adds: The van is a 2002 Volkswagen T4 Transporter. Currently being used as a Surf bus / Work van / Camper / Pride and joy
The Journey from Falmouth to The Minack Theatre was just over an hour. When my Cornish boyfriend travels in the car for longer than 30mins he half expects to open the door at the other end and hear people speaking another language or something, for him this was a looooong journey. However, having recently moved down here from central London, I'm always amazed that you can be in yet another unique area of outstanding beauty in the time that it used to take me to get home from work each day.
The Minack Theatre overlooks Porthcurno beach and this stretch of coastline boasts some of the bluest water I've seen in Cornwall (Except for a secret cove at Sennen). The water is seriously clear here and it's not uncommon in the summer months to spot seals, dolphins, and basking sharks gliding through the water beneath you.
For those of you that don't know what the Minnack Theatre is, it's an open air theatre built into the rock face of a headland that juts out into the sea. It was the brainchild of Rowena Cade who bought the plot of land for £100 in 1929 to build a house for her and her mother to live in. When a local group of players preformed A Midsummer Night's Dream in a meadow not too far away she offered her garden to them as a possible location for their next performance. The performers gladly accepted her offer and Rowena and her gardener set to work building a terrace and some seating. The Tempest was performed at the Minack in 1932, and Rowena vowed to improve upon the facilities with each passing year. That she did! The sub-tropical gardens of the Minack Theatre now offer a dramatic backdrop for some of the South West's best theatre companies.
From April - September, The Minack is open to the public; where you can enjoy panoramic views of Porthcurno bay from either the gardens themselves, the cafe (pretty decent cream teas), or even check out one of their evening theatre performances. Feel free to take your own picnic and preferred tipple, and don't forget cushions for your bottom. Seriously, take a cushion!
Leigh and I went to watch The ZigZag Way
"A stage adaptation of Anita Desai’s novel, The Zigzag Way is a powerful story of mining and migration, and the coming together of two entirely different cultures through the movement of a Cornish mining community to Mexico in the 19th century."
We also went to see Danny the Champion Of The World, a Roald Dahl classic, later on in the year. Both were brilliant and even Leigh who had never been to the theatre before, and was highly sceptical to start with, ended up absolutely loving it.
The performance finished at 10:00pm and we retreated to the van in search of an overnight camping spot. It was at about this point that we realised that we should probably have found a spot in the day light hours that we could have just returned to after the show was over (Rookie error). We had a quick look but couldn't find a spot and quickly decided to drive a little further towards where we wanted to hang out tomorrow and headed to a little spot that we knew at Praa Sands.
Praa Sands is a beautiful beach to wake up to. We woke up at 6am, slid open the van door and looked out onto a beautiful deserted beach. I can't resist a walk along this beach. I'm always curious about what may be laying in the tide line. In 2012, 9 medieval gold coins where found washed up on this beach from a ship that was wrecked back in 1514 after it got into difficulty around St. Micheals Mount. Call me a child, but the allure of finding ancient ship wrecked treasure always lights me up a little.
After waking, it wasn't long before I got Leigh on tea duty, and then we headed down to the headland overlooking the beach to make breakfast. What we ate that day was hands down the best bacon sandwich I've ever eaten. The bacon, bread, and eggs, were all Sainsburys Taste The Difference, but I don't think that's what made it. It was that all the elements came together in perfect harmony. We had the beach to ourselves, perfect weather, good food, and great company. It was a taste sensation.
After breakfast we had a walk along the beach, and then headed to Kynance cove. We spent the day around Kynance Cove and the Lizard, which I'm going to save the details of for a future blog post, and then we headed off to our next camping spot.
We learnt our lesson from the previous night and went in search of our Saturday night camping spot during day light hours. We ended up parking on this stunning headland at Gunwolloe that overlooked Church Cove. We had fillet steak and portobello mushrooms on the bbq, and cheesy herbed mash potatoes on the gas hob. We sat on the headland with a bottle of wine, munching on a steak and we couldn't have been happier. I don't care if you have a multi million pound mansion that overlooks the beach, you couldn't have enjoyed that view more than we did that night in our little van.
We packed away all our cooking stuff before the light was lost and then set up a fire right at the edge of the cliff. We watched the sun go down and there we stayed until the early hours of the morning, drinking wine, telling stories, building a vision for our future together and toasting marshmallows over the fire.
In the morning we took a stroll along the headland and down into Church Cove. This 13th Century church, located right on the beach, is steeped in history. Also known as 'The Church of the storms', many people lost in ship wrecks are buried here. If you're a bit weird like me, you may want to wonder around the graves and read the stories printed on the tomb stones. They tell some interesting stories of children being sent here in the Blitz and the details of the many wrecks lost off this area of coastline.
Conveniently for campers, there are public toilets just down from the church, which we made use of, and then we headed back to the van for a late and lazy breakfast; another delicious bacon sarnie.
After this, we leisurely made our way back to Falmouth, unpacked the van and then went for a coffee and cake at Gylly Beach Cafe. It was a really stunning weekend, and one that I certainly want to revisit again early next year.