|Tour of Cornwall|
Having already taken part in two runs in North Devon this year Val and I decided to pass on the Exmoor Rut and were looking for something to do in its place. With a favourable weather forecast predicted on Spotlight on Friday we came up with a plan for the Sunday of doing a day Tour of Cornwall, this was mainly instigated by me because I had never actually got down as far as Lands’ End in the past. Sunday dawned fresh and dry and we met up with Peter Lannin, who was keen to give his car a good run having just had it serviced, at the Tamar Bridge for a 9 o’clock start. After a quick discussion of the potential route we decided that we would head west keeping to the South coast and aim for a lunch stop at Lands’ End before heading back along the North coast in the afternoon. Crossing the bridge we started the adventure, Val and I in our MGB with the roof down and Peter ‘flying solo’ as Jenny was committed elsewhere for the day. At Trerulefoot we turned left and passed through Looe after which we went through some morning misty conditions before arriving at Polperro which looked mostly shut, they obviously don’t start early in Cornwall on a Sunday! Pressing on we crossed the Bodinnick ferry to Fowey before stopping for a coffee break and a check of the map at Par Garden Centre. After a quick clean of the windscreens, we continued on our way with a plan to by-pass Truro by heading south towards St Mawes and crossing the River Fal on the King Harry Ferry. For those of you who haven’t been this way the KHF is a chain ferry and in a way it is a miniature version of its big brothers at Torpoint. Peter took over the lead at this point with his satnav giving directions and us following with Val now driving. The route took us across the top of the Lizard peninsular passing through Helston and Penzance before arriving with perfect timing at 1 o’clock at Lands’ End. Stopping here for about an hour, Val and I had the obligatory Pasty for lunch and we took a quick look around the site including photographs with the famous sign. Heading off again at 2, we left Sennen and turned east following the very windy coast road through St Just, Zennor and on towards St Ives. Turning slightly inland at this point we passed through Hayle and picked up the coast road again before stopping in Portreath to discuss options for an afternoon tea stop. Having read John’s write up from last month we decided on Healey’s Cider Farm and after a brief high speed run along the A30 we arrived there at exactly 4pm, who says this route wasn’t well planned?? Over an excellent cream tea we discussed our options for the route home and with Peter’s leave pass expiring at 7pm decided that we could continue up the coast as far as Padstow before we would have to get back onto the main A roads and head back. Bypassing Wadebridge, we came back via Bodmin and the Glyn Valley to our starting point, crossing the bridge again at about 6.30. All in all we had a great day, it stayed dry throughout we saw some great views of the coast and both cars covered the 225 mile round trip with no problems. We all agreed that this was the perfect time of the year to make this trip as the tourist traffic volumes were lower than in the height of the summer and with further areas to visit and many things to do ‘down West’ that we will definitely make a return visit in 2014. Thank you Peter for your most pleasant company on our little adventure and we look forward to doing more impromptu excursions in the New Year.
Val & Ade
A Week in Brittany with 2 MGs
When the idea of a trip to Guernsey in May was first suggested Bill and I were
unable to go due to other commitments. However, when Martyn and Janet asked us if we would like to go to Brittany with them for a weeks holiday we jumped at the chance and after scanning the net for suitable accommodation a lovely gîte in central Brittany was booked with the ferry crossing to Roscoff on September 13th. As it turned out this was now also the revised date for the sailing to Guernsey!
Now, Friday 13th may be unlucky for some but as this year in September it was also my birthday I hoped that all would go well and am pleased to report that it did. (Tony must have had some misgivings at the start of the Guernsey trip in light of his experience last time on the ferry, brave man Tony!)
Martyn and Janet joined us early in the evening on the 13th and we walked down the road to the Boatman pub under the Tamar Bridge for a birthday meal before walking back, jumping in the cars and heading off to the ferry. The overnight crossing on the Armorique was soon over and we were wending our way south past Morlaix to our first planned stop at Huelgoat where there is a long, deep, narrow valley strewn with enormous moss laden boulders deposited there during the ice age. It was very atmospheric and paths and steps took us into areas where home here in the UK we simply would not have been able to access.
After coffee and pastries we stocked up with provisions in the local supermarket and went on our way. Martyn had opted for a picturesque route through the countryside as we had plenty of time to get to the gîte and armed with our large scale maps we navigated more or less without difficulty. Even the very minor roads were so open and with very little traffic around it was a delightful journey around Carhaix-Plouguer, Rostrenen, Guémené-sur-Scorff, Plouay and on to the little village of St Adrien just north-east of the town of Baud on the river Blavet.
As we approached from the opposite bank we could not believe our eyes as the gîte and its setting was even prettier than we had expected. Janet and I were like excited little school girls as we explored each room and quickly unpacked the provisions. There was even an unexpected welcome pack of goodies including wine, bread and very smelly cheese. We sat outside eating a very late lunch and then went off to explore the river and canal on foot. Nearby both downstream and up there were lock cottages with pots of lovely flowers outside and in fact everywhere we went throughout this area of Brittany there were pots and troughs of flowers in abundance, it was all very colourful and clean. On the canal there were kingfishers every day and Martyn and Janet even saw an otter one evening.
The gîte aptly named ‘Chez Pecheur’ (apparently fishing is very good along the river) came equipped with four mountain bikes, two canoes, a pedalo , two sets of golf clubs, various sets of racquets and balls, and an assortment of good fishing tackle. Sadly the lock near us was undergoing maintenance so the water level was low and therefore we did not take to the water but Bill and I did have a short cycle ride one evening joining up with Martyn and Janet who had walked up river on a second otter spotting trip. Bill practiced his golf shots on the open green in front of the gîte and then one evening fancied his chances driving across the canal but sadly lost two golf balls in the process, I couldn’t help but laugh!
We had one day out walking directly from the gîte when it drizzled most of the morning but stopped by the time we needed our picnic, and another planned further afield which was abandoned part way through due to a change in the weather and me not feeling too good. On the other days we drove much further afield and
visited, Pontivy, Josselin, Ste-Anne-d’Auray (with its wonderful Basilique and huge fairly new monuments to the local fallen in WW1), Port-d’Auray (where the sun was so warm we were in danger of getting burnt!), and Locmariaquer where we took to the water on a trip to the Île aux Moines in the Golfe du Morbihan. Despite dark clouds threatening we managed to stay dry and this area reminded me very much of the Isles of Scilly. All the towns we visited had ancient, cobbled, medieval streets and houses and we thoroughly enjoyed eating out in the cobble squares partaking of the local specialities.
We managed with our hood down for half the week which was a real bonus, and ate far too many gorgeous cakes and pastries, bread, crêpes and cheese, not to mention cidre and the red stuff each night – wonderful! All too soon the week was over and we took the quickest route back to Roscoff where we topped up our wine cellars and partook of our final crêpes for lunch before boarding the 4pm ferry back home. We arrived in Plymouth at 9pm, said our goodbyes and soon it was back to reality stopping at Tesco express for milk!
On arrival at the gîte one of the first things Bill and Martyn did was to take a look at our breaks as Bill felt that they were very soft despite an MOT just before we left. Martyn identified a broken break adjuster but assured Bill that it would be ok to continue and from then on both cars were on their best behaviour throughout the 610 miles we covered. The breaks have since been sorted.