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To Exeter

sunny 14 °C

Another of those crazy days in which I got off to an early start, so early that most in the hostel seemed to be still abed when I left, and yet it was late at night before I was done for the day. Another spin back to Lands End didn’t give it any more appeal, but a quick duck down a side road and the day was off to a good start.

Sennen is the first harbour north of Lands End, tucked in under here
and tiny

Nice beach – I stopped and had breakfast so I could watch it for a while

Then it was back past the hostel and into St Just to look around during the day – it is like a small Dolgellau

But with added bonus of a Welsh amphitheatre, which has been here since the 12th century

As you head up the coast of Wales, you go through its mining district, silver mainly (plus, I think, tin). The Levant mine was actually on a cliff face and under the sea. Little remains today, however

There is still a fully functional mine, in the hands of the National Heritage Trust – I did pop in and wandered around the outside a bit, but I found the Levant more interesting.

The land round here is a bit wild

So too are the roads – very narrow in parts, with drivers like me taking it easy but the locals, not so much. At one point I had to back over to let someone past so far that I was sure I felt the car come into contact with the stone wall, typically concealed behind a benign layer of foliage.

The entire town of Zennor, where some famous poet came to live (I hope he liked long walks in the countryside!)
and suddenly I was in St Ives, a town which presents a few challenges to those seeking to drive through – this is the road

I was pretty much convinced that I had inadvertently driven into a pedestrian zone (I’m sure it is possible) but someone was following me, and then there was a car park.

St Ives is a very pleasant spot – it has a lovely waterfront
and quaint narrow streets, full of shops selling ice creams (I was warned to watch for the seagulls when I bought one) pasties (it is Cornwall after all – have to say that I prefer the Birmingham version, Balti chicken), nicnacs and gewgaws. Importantly, I found one selling the local beer – the Admiral Ale by the St Austell’s Brewery won the best ale in the world competition last year (it was tasty).

I really did try to take a look at Penzance, you can’t go to Cornwall and not go to Penzance, but I got caught up in a mess of narrow one way streets and was spat out at the south beach
so decided to press on.

Next stop was Newquay (on the north coast), another town with a weird system of one ways, so I again got lost, but did get out to its main beach

People may have heard of Rick Stein, he’s been on our screens pursuing fishy dishes. He owns half of Padstow, which is along the coast from Newquay. Since his fish and chip shop opened as I drove into town, I decided to join the queue (yes, there was a queue to get into a fish and chip shop – luckily it didn’t last)
for a cod and chips. Not that special, really.

Padstow has a tranquil little harbour

I had one more essential stop to make, so I gobbled my dinner and headed off, still along the north coast of south Wales. I feel quite special, parking my car here
(possibly not that recognisable, although this bit of beach has been on our TV’s quite a bit). Maybe if we look at it from another angle
or pan around

This is Port Isaac, but perhaps better known as Portwen, the home of one Doc Martin. Even if it hadn’t been famous (in some quarters), Port Isaac was well worth a visit, despite another set of narrow streets (I drove in one
and had no idea how to get out again, until I watched some people leave – straight out the way you come in).

It is lovely
so I decided to hell with it and went to the pub for a reflective pint. I had hoped to sit on the balcony on which Doc Martin had so many embarrassing moments, but it seems to have been built special for the show: the only balcony I could find was a terrible small concrete thing, one table deep with a grill work. No worries, the sun was out, the beer was good and I was happy.

So, it was near dark already before I headed off to Exeter, where I was booked into the YHA. Nice hostel, but I have no idea about Exeter (and I so wanted to see the narrowest street) – I did try driving into town, but my first finding of the hostel was a complete fluke, so I wasn’t sure I could repeat it. I did check the car for scratches – there was a horrible ridged silver gash. Expensive!

Posted by NZBarry 15:59 Archived in Wales

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