Base Camp Journal: Cornwall
After a very long drive (~5 hours) from the Cardiff depot, we set up Bertha at the Carnon Downs site, in the centre of Cornwall, about three miles south of Truro. It is the ideal place from which to explore the region, and there are numerous things to see.
Our area was fully-serviced, each station having a water supply, electricity and a waste water drain. Everything at Carnon Downs is meticulously-kept, from the grounds to the shower facilities. It was almost like being camped in the gardens of some grand estate. And everyone there were so friendly. Carnon Downs has certainly been the best site we have stayed on to date, and it was such a drag having to return home. As Robby would often say: 'You have to go to come back'. We are definitely returning someday.
Near the entrance of the facility there is a bar/cafe, and a different catering business sets up there most evenings. On our first night, there was a guy selling 'middle-eastern street food'. We ordered some Iranian dish out of curiosity. I didn't really fancy it, but I would have regretted not giving it a try.
Nearby, just on the other side of the roundabout, there is a Beefeater restaurant. The food and service there is excellent.
In the afternoon we had a look around Truro, and I have to say that it's another city that puts Cardiff to shame. So many independent stores, so much variety, and such a nice outdoor market. And such a good atmosphere there. Truro Cathedral is supposed to be the central attraction here. It wasn't the biggest or most impressive of cathedrals I've seen, but I'm still in awe of the amount of work and skill that must have gone into constructing places like these.
One of the first things on our list of things to see in Cornwall was Land's End. I didn't expect much more than a coast with a landmark or two, and the famous sign that we wanted to take selfies in front of. And I thought there'd only be a dozen or so people around.
It transpired that Land's End is something of a tourist trap, with even its own shopping village, since it's extremely busy with people coming from all over the world to visit. The famous sign is cordoned off, and one must queue to pass through a kiosk to have a picture taken there. We were happy enough with a pic of Robby near the entrance to the Land's End village.
The rest of the area is very scenic, and it's worth visiting just for that.
Penzance was another place we just had to visit, because of its renown for being associated with pirates.
The Jubilee Pool was nice enough. It has a nice Art Deco design, and the service is excellent at the coffee shop there. One section of the pool is geothermally-heated, with the water being pumped from deep underground. Apparently it's declared fully booked when trying to get tickets online.
Aside from the Jubilee Pool, there was sod all in Penzance. It has a large beach, but the only things we saw along the seafront were hotels, and a small amusement arcade of sorts.
Another place I didn't anticipate being so busy was Perranporth. On Google Maps it appeared to be a quiet seaside village with many interesting little shops, which is why I marked it on the GPS. Maybe it is quiet outside the summer months.
We arrived there in the afternoon to find all the designated parking spots taken, and the village crammed full of people. The nearby section of the beach was crowded, families sunbathing within inches of other, and there were screaming kids everywhere. Fortunately the beach is very pleasant if one ventures a few hundred metres further along. Robby and I managed to find a quiet area and spent a couple of hours chilling there. The sand is almost white, and the water is so clear.
Newquay was a bit of a let-down. It is just like the average seaside resort, but the place is too crowded and there isn't much to see. We spent only an hour or so there. Parking is free, though.
We spent an evening on Carlyon Beach. It has an entirely different character to Perranporth and Newquay, being a more adult and trendy place with a very relaxed atmosphere. That's probably on account of the sand there, which is made of some large silica grains - it looks pretty, but it's really uncomfortable to walk on barefoot. Walking any distance there is also hard work.
The drink at the trailer bar was gorgeous - I had rum and Coke. The rum had a nice soda taste, and I had ice and lemon in the glass also. It was the perfect summer drink.
Robby and I found our own remote part of the beach and stayed there for a couple of hours, watching what we could of the sunset, and it felt just like we were a married couple. This has to be my favourite beach.