Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A Romantic Walk


(The Pandora Inn, now famous as being Our Pub While Courting.)

This is the walk that is in the current copy (January) of Cornwall Today - quite by chance as I should have written another one. But this is all about my Pip so I was able to take it in on Christmas Day and show the nurses. Boy was he proud....

A ROMANTIC WALK from Mylor Quay along the creek to the Pandora Inn,
returning via Mylor Bridge


I met my husband, Pip, when he was living on an oyster fishing boat called White Heather, moored near the Pandora, so this thatched pub at Restronguet was our local – a very romantic place to do our courting.

To start the walk, take the A39 Falmouth-Penryn road and at Penryn, take the road signposted to Mylor and continue until you reach Mylor Bridge. At the first roundabout go straight over, then take the first sharp turning on the right, and drive down past the post office to park on Mylor Quay.

It was low tide when I did this walk with John and Annie, and bath time for a party of ducks, splashing and squawking as they dived into pools of water like over-excited children. As we walked along the road following public footpath signs to Greatwood and Restronguet, several swans glided past, looking down their noses at the riff-raff. Just past a circular mirror on the right, we took a footpath parallel to the creek and, being a boating man, John was fascinated by the selection of boats at Tregatreath boatyard opposite.

The path curved round to the left, by a concrete block wall, then we crossed a private road and took the footpath sign ahead on our right, through a squeaky gate which led to a large field. There are often cattle here – and bulls have been known – but thankfully there were none today and we crossed the field, weaved our way through a kind of metal kissing gate and found ourselves on the foreshore.

We turned sharp left along the path that follows the creek; this next bit can be extremely muddy and slippery. On the opposite side of the creek I pointed out the houses along Church Road – a selection of houses in varying shapes and sizes of grandeur. We walked past a ploughed field on our left, full of rich brown earth like chocolate fudge, and noted the very last of the blackberries, and branches coated in feathery fingers of lichen. “Is that pronounced liken or lichen?” I asked.
John and Annie voted for lichen, and whichever it is, it is supposedly a sign of pure air so we breathed that much deeper as we walked.

Passing through another kissing gate, a winding path led us down to an overgrown quarry and on the shore, a couple of tired old boats, lapping up the sun in their last resting place. The path continued round to the right and another five barred gate into another field, then through that, to another little inlet with yet more decaying boats and a carefully positioned swing hanging from a tree over the beach. Being a painter, Annie was cursing herself for not having brought her sketch book, but as the sun made an appearance, took photographs so she can paint them later.

Passing through another wooden kissing gate and a muddy quagmire, we crunched our way through autumn gold leaves and up into another field, following a path diagonally uphill past a massive oak tree with branches trailing like a dowager's dress, through which the creek sparkled like diamonds.

At the top of this hill was a dead tree, branches grasping their way skywards. The path now tumbled down the other side of the hill and as we looked out to sea, saw moorings, in lurid shades of pink and green, like gobstoppers perched on the foreshore. Passing through another wooden kissing gate, we continued along a path strewn with acorns until we reached Greatwood Quay, where we stood looking out at the waters of Carrick Roads, the Roseland Peninsula, and Mylor Harbour, where there used to be a naval dockyard. The remaining boats of the season were bobbing on the waves and the nearest of these belonged to BATS – Blind At Sea – who often sail on these waters.

Greatwood Quay is a listed building built in the 18th century, of vertically-set dry slatestone with dressed granite copings linked by iron staples. This beautifully built quay was a landing stage for Greatwood House, further along this path.

As we continued along the path, we counted five oyster fishing boats out in the Carrick Roads: because oysters breed in the summer, fishing is restricted to October until April only. The Cornish have dredged for oysters in this area of the river Fal for over a century, and some of the boats, built at local boatyards, date back as far as 1860. Ancient laws were put in place to protect the natural ecology of the riverbeds and oyster stocks, stating that oystermen fishing in the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery are banned from using engines. Only sail power and hand-pulled dredges are permitted, although boats are allowed to motor out to the oyster beds. This is the only oyster fishery in Europe, if not the world, where such traditional methods must be used, and watching a fisherman at work is a real art.

Pip has owned several of these splendid wooden boats (known as “working boats” locally), one of which we did our courting on. The year before we met, his brother took over their business to enable him to have a season oystering, fulfilling a lifelong ambition. “It was incredibly hard work,” he said. “I lost over 3 stone, but I learnt so much from the oyster fishermen, and I was lucky to have such an incredible experience.”

We continued along the path, uphill through the woods, and turned right, from where we could see Greatwood House, once a vast turreted mansion but now converted to flats with fabulous views out over the Carrick Roads. Further on was a row of small cottages, and the path continued past some old stables under renovation. There used to be several Shetland ponies that grazed here: it always amazed me that they could graze at such an angle.

Further on Gunnera leaves towered over us, like huge plants from a nightmare, but we crept past, my imagination working overtime, and continued until we reached Weir Beach, where Mollie loves chasing the swans. Until they hiss back. There is often a solitary heron here, and a black swan that became quite famous. Today we spotted a lone egret, curlews and a cormorant, perched on a buoy, drying his wings.

Leaving Weir Beach behind, we continued along the path until we reached the Pandora where Pip was waiting, drinks at the ready. After a brief interlude we climbed up Restronguet Hill, which is extremely steep and narrow. Towards the top where it flattened out, I pointed out a telegraph pole where, not long after we met, Pip stuck a notice there announcing, 'Pip loves Curls'.”
Gossip was rife among the local community, wondering who owned said curls.

We reached a crossroads shortly after this and headed down the hill, through Mylor Bridge. Being ravenous by the time we reached the foot of the hill, we paid a visit to the butcher, then turned left and arrived back on the quay. The tide was coming in fast as we sat on a bench, eased off our boots, and tucked into excellent home made pasties.

John pointed out some swans gliding serenely past. “That was a lovely walk - I really enjoyed seeing your old stamping ground.” He paused and looked at me. “Though I do think you should put a blue plaque on that telegraph pole.”

FACTBOX
OS Explorer 105 Falmouth & Mevagissey
Length: 1.5 -2 hours
Duration: 3 miles
Grading: easy going, though can be very muddy. The hill up from the Pandora is very steep.
Refreshments: Pandora Inn www.pandorainn.com 01326 3726768
Lemon Arms, Mylor Bridge 01326 373666
Various shops in Mylor Bridge

33 comments:

Vermont Designs said...

We must do this one next year. Love & hugs, SIL.

Flowerpot said...

darn right we will Shelagh! xx

Pat Posner said...

Sounds like a great walk, Flowerpot. Actually, reading your words made me feel as if I was with you.
Take care
xxPat

Akelamalu said...

What wonderful memories that walk will evoke for you each time you do it. :)

Hope you're well Flowerpot and finding life a little easier. I'm thinking of you. x

Flowerpot said...

Thank you Pat - it is a lovely walk.xx

Flowerpot said...

Ak - yes I look forward to doing it when the weather's better. Life still a series of ups and downs - the downs take me by surprise but it will get easier I'm sure given time.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

What a quaint pub - the kind I love - and the walk sounds great. It must tug at your heart now to see the pub and think of the walk. Hope you are managing to cope. Addy x

Flowerpot said...

Addy - the pub isn't quite what it was when we met but what is?! I am coping but some days are better than others. Grief tends to woosh over you when you least expect it but that;s life I guess.

Debs Carr said...

What a beautiful picture, just like something on a post card. Your walk sounds amazing and I love that boats aren't allowed to use engines near the oyster beds.

What a lovely story. x

Flowerpot said...

Debs - I took that picture several months ago when it really was a picture postcard day - but it is a very photogenic pub. I love the whole story around working boats.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Flowerpot - someone once told me that grief is a bit like waves in the sea. It washes over you, when you are not expecting it. At first, there are lots of waves, but in time they get further apart and it is then only occasionally that one will hit you out of the blue - again when you are least expecting it. It helps if you think grief like that.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

That's a beautiful walk and obviously a very special one in your heart. I absolutely love the way you said about the swans turning up their noses at the riff raff. Such a wonderful description of swan-life behaviour!

Hope you're doing okay.
CJ xx

SARINA said...

I lived near Falmouth, just above Swan beach from Oct.1984 to August 1985, and your walk brings back so many memories for me. I had a baby daughter in tow and often went walking round Falmouth with her on my back. I had idylic times in Cornwall. I miss it often.

Alison said...

The walk sounds lovely and what wonderful memories you have. What a fabulous place to do you courting with your lovely Pip.
((Hugs)) x

Leontien said...

Lovely blog! came upon it by accident and love to follow!
I don't know if we ever come your way but if we do ill make sure we will visit in some of your footsteps.

Thanks!
Leontien
www.littlemissbookwurm.blogspot.com

Amanda said...

Sounds lovely, Flowerpot. xx

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Addy - funnily enough I've just been thinking about waves and tides to do wiht grief - it's good to know that the waves arrive less often though. Thanks for that.

Flowerpot said...

CJ - yes swans are lovely but they can be very regal (ie snobbish!)

Sarina - I often walk around Swanpool so know that bit really well.

Alison - good to meet you. We're lucky in having wonderful walks round here.

Flowerpot said...

Mandy - it is a good 'un!

Chris Stovell said...

Hmmn, wooden boats are romantic, I agree, until you're at sea in them! Seriously, there is something special about a beautiful wooden boat, especially one in a sleepy anchorage... Very deserving of a commemorative blue plaque!

Flowerpot said...

Chris - or trying to get on board when the tide is very low - Pip drew alovely cartoon of me trying to negotiate the gangplank at right angles!

Talli Roland said...

What a fantastic post -- I could just picture the walk in my mind!

Flowerpot said...

Talli - I'm glad. It's a lovely walk.

Debs Carr said...

There's an award for you over at my blog.x

Philipa said...

I love such rich descriptions of your walks, Fp. I'd love to bring the children down and try them one day :-)

Much love x

Flowerpot said...

Wow thanks Debs - over there now! xx

Flowerpot said...

Phil - it would be wonderful if you could! x

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Ah swans. We have a pair on one of our walks that don't take too kindly to us or the two dogs getting near to their little bit of heaven. I can run fairly fast when they take a fancy at scaring us off. What a beautiful walk, it was peaceful just reading it. All the best Flowerpot.

Flowerpot said...

MOB - lovely ot hear from you again. Swans are strange creatures - I give em a wide berth!

Ellee Seymour said...

I wish I had been there with you to share those memories. I posted yesterday about a walk I did in Cambridgeshire, but it was nowhere near as lovely as this.
Thinking of you still and your sad loss. You have many friends here. x

Manchester Lass, Now and Then said...

What a lovely walk to be able to make. Thinking of you Flowerpot and sending special thoughts♥ Linda xx

Flowerpot said...

Ellee - thank you so much that's very comforting. Will go over and see your walk now....

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Linda - they are much appreciated. xx