Dwight Peck's personal website

Cornwall and Devon in the autumn

Whenever things start to pile up and get on top of you, it's time to take some time off and go to Cornwall.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Polperro coast walk

It's dawned a brilliant sunny day, 27 October 2009, or at least not as bad as we've got used to recently, so we've pulled out of Beera Farm at an ungodly midmorning hour and passed back over the Tamar into Cornwall at Gunnislake and coasted around Liskeard, bypassing the small cities of Island Shops, Horningtops, Doddycross, Herodsfoot, and No Mans Land, right through Great Tree if I got that right, to Looe on the coast. And then we got lost on the lanes, somewhat south of Barcelona.

But, anyway, here's the coast, and the coast path, and a convenient carpark, so what's the difference? We'll start here.

This is Talland Bay, and we're off. Some of us will stop in for a cream tea when we get back, but there's no slowing us down now.

Talland Bay, kids in wetsuits and surfer dogs at high tide.

The Southwest Coast Path rises quickly and propels us on our way -- next stop, Polperro.

A well-groomed coastal path

Kristin fairly taking flight on the SW Coast Path

A short while later, we're coming into Polperro

Polperro has been a notable fishing village since the 13th century, but since the collapse of the pilchard fisheries in the 1960s, tourism has become the chief industry, with 25,000 visitors a day at certain times of the year. Picture this idyllic scene with 25,000 visitors in it.

Long known for its fishing and processing, Polperro seems also to have been an acclaimed centre of the smuggling industry in the 18th century, when Britain's military adventures (e.g., the American Revolution) led the big brains in government to impose heavy import taxes to pay for them. Many Americans will feel that at least the Brits had the decency not just to charge their military hijinks off to their own grandchildren through public debt.

Smuggling as an attractive career option declined with the more robust revenoo'ers of the 19th century coast guards poking about in all the sheds and cellars (and creating the Southwest Coast Path with their regular patrols), and Polperro had to turn back to the last of the pilchards and anxiously await the advent of mass tourism.

We're having a good look round as we descend into the village and search about for the Coast Path leading out the other side of it.

In fact, we're lost just now. But at least we're over the mighty river Pol and need now just to go uphill somewhere.

Not down; up!

Kristin was right and now we're up on a headland on our way out of town.

At last the SW Coast Path shakes itself free again and starts seriously uphill out of the Polperro port.

Views that make the labored uphills worth while

Awaiting the stragglers

The path winds along above the cliffs majestically -- with quite a few ups and downs.

Kristin on the downhill.

This is the sort of surf-and-rocks serenade that could fascinate you for hours, just sitting here contemplating the eternal ebb and flow, etc., and reflecting on humankind's ancient roots in the sea and subconscious affinities with its rhythms and what not, and waxing philosophical until the sun goes down and it gets really cold and you can't find your way back.

Our guide is checking out the map to see how far we've got. We're working on a couple of apples we've stolen off the breakfast table, and thinking about coming back next year to make a longer day of it.

Kristin ensuring that the party's all formed up in good order for our return.

Eternal ebb and flow, again.

A spectacular walking path west of Polperro

Another uphill. Kristin being patient. I've got the car keys.

We're passing back through Polperro, but the weather's changing. We'll hurry on.

Low tide, presumably.

The weather's changing -- no time for the smuggling heritage just now.

-- No we can't just sit down here. The weather's changing.

Desperate sunbathers, who can't just let the summer go.

Kristin planning a cream tea at the café at Talland Bay, and then a drive back through so-called "Liskeard" to the county of Devon and the scallops or the fish-and-chips at the Royal Inn at Horsebridge. With "real ale".

Pubcrawling in Cornwall and Devon, 2009
Cadgwith Cove to Lizard Point
Mullion to Lizard Village
St Mawes Castle, Falmouth
Cotehele, Buckland Abbey
Polperro coastal hike
Brent Tor, Lydford Gorge, Devon
Exeter and Cardiff before the plane

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 29 November 2009, revised 26 April 2013.

Devon and Cornwall, 2009

Devon and Cornwall, 2006

Devon and Cornwall, 2004

Devon and Cornwall, 2003