The Seaside Diaries

Polly Joke - more of a gem than a Joke

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When you go on holiday in October... in England... you don't expect much from the weather. So when it turn out to be absolutely glorious it feels like an extra special blessing. And that is exactly what I got the day I went to Polly Joke. 

I'd heard about Polly Joke from a colleague of mine who'd grown up in Cornwall and lived near this area. We'd actually been talking about Crantock but she said if I ever visited again to be sure to check out Polly Joke as she said that it’s a lesser known little gem of coastline. 

Mum and I had spent the morning wandering around the pretty gardens of Trerice and whilst picnicing in the car we pondered over our next move. We had much of the afternoon ahead of us still and were in the mood for some coast, of course. I remembered about Polly Joke and we decided to give it a go. 

We’d driven through the little town of Crantock, past the Bowgie Inn pub and a little further on out till we parked in what seemed to be a farmer’s field. After a quick squiz of my phone to check the vague direction we needed to go, we headed out on the footpath somewhat unsure how far away it would be but willing to enjoying the sights along the way. 

Well, Polly Joke is indeed an absolute little gem and a complete treat to find especially on a sunny and warm October day as there were only a few other people around. 

We made our way down to the beach and followed the stream heading out to sea. I honestly couldn't believe our luck, it was wonderful. A beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon spent paddling in the sea, sitting on the rocks and soaking up as much of that vitamin D and Sea as possible. 

Sadly a little cloud of Melancholy set in with the realisation that this may be the last time this year I'd get to do this. 

As we said farewell to the beach we decided to take to coast path back up and enjoyed the views across to Crantock. As we ambled along we made plans to return to this spot next year return do a little trek from Crantock to Holywell passing through Polly Joke on our way. 

Watergate Bay

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How lucky I was to be travelling back to Cornwall for a second time within one month and even though there was work involved, it was the good kind of work and there was still to be plenty of holiday time as well. Unfortunately, the journey down was a little ropey. I’d recently been afflicted with a cold/ear infection type illness and was still suffering from a fun game of vertigo every time I tried to travel which meant about four stops on the way down to help me right myself before continuing. We’d actually decided to travel down the A38 instead of the A30 just for a change of scenery and it was a thoroughly pleasant route to behold. Because I tend to holiday along the north coast of Cornwall it’s not often that we go this way but I must remember to do so more in future for even though it’s about a quarter of an hour longer it is just as beautiful.

When I’d been offered the opportunity to go to Watergate Bay for work I jumped at the chance. I’d driven past the bay last year on the way to the Bedruthen Steps and the lure of the gloriously long stretch of sand had firmly secured it’s place on my “must visit” list. I’d heard the name “Watergate Bay” so many times over the years, pretty much always associated with water sports of some form and had filed it away in my mind as something of a surfing mecca of the South West but it wasn't long before I discovered it had oh so much more to offer.

After a mad rush to make the event, a whirlwind of an afternoon and much talking later, all the work was done and packed away so I wondered down to the beach with camera in hand. Well actually, my camera was on my back and my hands were carefully carrying a container with some poor unsuspecting sea critters who’d been mistakenly taken by volunteers and brought up to the hotel where the event was taking place. I’d offered to return them and was very gingerly walked along the beach so as not to swish the water about too much on my way to the rock pools where I popped them back in their rightful place.

Once that little job was done I was free to soak up the last of the day, breathing in deep the salty goodness and watching people playing on the beach. There were so many people enjoying the space in so many different ways. Surfing of course, lots of that, but also just playing games on the sand, walking dogs, walking alone, walking hand in hand with loved ones too, playing in the rockpools, eating from ice creams, it was all going on. Clearly Watergate Bay was a bustling beach. Everyone seemed to be completely oblivious to the slight nip in the air, you would have thought it was summer's eve with the amount of activity going on. And none of that busyness detracted from the awesomeness of the beach itself.

This beach felt epic, with it’s towering cliffs and huge sandy expanses, something about it felt gross and grand and us people were suddenly just mere little flecks in the vastness. From what I had seen up above I knew that there would be a lovely long stretch of beach here and good waves too, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the incredible cliffs. You really can’t grasp from the road above just how mighty they are when you are stood beneath them looking up and it really took me aback.  I loved it and only wished that I had more time and light to soak it up. Like so many places I visit in Cornwall the first time, I added on to another one of my lists, the “must come back to” one.

Porthleven - "Nauti but Ice"

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By the time that we pulled into the little car park in Porthleven it was getting pretty late in the day and the rain that we'd done so well to avoid at Kynance Cove finally found us here. We'd stumbled upon this little place a few times before and there was something about it's simple row of shops and harbour that always seems quite unique to me. But then every place that I visit in Cornwall seems to be so incredibly unique and be loaded with bags of character. 

So far in our week away we hadn't yet enjoyed the delights of a classic cream tea and so, seeking refuge from the rain we decided that that was exactly what we needed. I remembered that there was a lovely cafe midway along the row of shops so we headed there and to our delight, not only was the cafe still in place but it had had a bit of a revamp and was now named "Nauti but Ice". Brilliant. A seaside themed play on words certainly isn't lost on me. 

It was just as we were tucking into our scrummy scones that I started to feel quite unwell. I think I'd tried to cram perhaps a bit too much into our days and was waning a little so we decided that we would pottle back along the shops and make our way back to the caravan. Obviously not before stopping to take a few pics to try and capture the charms of this place. It was a somewhat fleeting visit but I was glad to have returned and added a fresh batch of memories of Porthleven in my mind.  

A Sisters' Trip to Saunton Sands

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Saunton Sands, Devon July 2016 - Natasha Ewins (2 of 23).jpg

I love spending time with my sister and it doesn’t happen nearly often enough, so in an attempt to remedy that I organised a little trip away to Devon for us so we could have a good ol’ catch up. I hadn’t long had my beagle Luna and although she’d had a quick foray into the land of the seaside once before, I was keen to give her the chance to run those cute, stumpy little legs up a big stretch of sand. My sister also had one of her three dogs in tow too, a newly fostered Lurcher called Aren who after being treated pretty terribly was now getting some much needed TLC. 

We were staying in north Devon not far from Combe Martin and were in search of a nearby dog friendly sandy beach. I remembered going to Saunton Sands many moons ago when I’d stayed at Croyde and after a quick google to check whether dogs were allowed (they were - yay) we loaded up my little Clio (Aren took up the entire boot) and off we went. 

Saunton Sands, Devon July 2016 - Natasha Ewins (3 of 23).jpg

We pulled into the large car park at Saunton to find it bustling with surfers and walkers and beach goers alike. I was a little worried that the beach was going to be really busy but my worries were completely unfounded, well, sort of. There were lots of people there but I’d forgotten that Saunton Sands is massive. It’s a huge stretch of beach and there was more than enough room for everyone. In fact, after about twenty minutes of walking we pretty much had the sandy expanse in front of us to ourselves and it was awesome. 

Saunton Sands, Devon July 2016 - Natasha Ewins (5 of 23).jpg

I was still keeping Luna on a long line at this point as we were doing lots of recall training but because there was no-one around I decided to give her a bit of freedom and boy did she embrace it. She was charging about like a crazy fiend. What is it about big open spaces that’s just so flipping exciting? The only issue was, Little Miss Beagle is a scent hound and since there isn’t a great deal to smell on the sand she started making a bee-line for the far off sand dunes so alas her stint of freedom was short lived. 

We walked for near to an hour and weren’t anywhere close to the other end of the beach. It really is an awesome plane of sand to walk up and there was just enough wind to make some pretty patterns in the sand but not cause it to be chilly at all. On our way back we walked closer to the dunes along the strand line and were sad to see lots of litter there. We picked up some, as always, I can’t not these days and Luna was doing a marvellous job of finding sea potatoes. She’s like a strand line sniffer dog, she found about ten of them. Due to their fragile nature she crushed about half of them but the rest I collected up. 

Back almost at the beginning of the beach we walked along a fantastic display of beach huts. All brightly coloured and almost a little gaudy looking but in a really cheerful, fun way. I do love a good beach hut and this was definitely a fine example of them. 

By the time we’d made it back to the car park it was early evening and we were both rather peckish so we sampled the delights of the little beach cafe. Chips and burgers were devoured back at the car with some longing looks coming from the pooches (don’t worry, they got a few chips). The car park was still as busy as when we’d arrived and looked like lots of people were heading down after work. Even though it wasn’t a bright sunny day it was obviously still a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. 



Porthcurno - A turquoise dream

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If you ever search the #Cornwall hashtag on Instagram you will more often than not find at least one photo of Porthcurno in the "Top posts" section and I discovered a few weeks back, that it's for very good reason. I had seen soooo many beautiful photographs of this beach on Instagram and Pinterest so I knew I had to see for myself if it was just as stunning in reality. 

After a rather leisurely start to the day, Mum and I loaded up the car with the essentials - flask, sandwiches, camera and made our way across to Porthcurno. I had the map on my lap and was quite happy playing Navigator, directing us down smaller and smaller roads lined with hedgerows laden with wildflowers (God, I love summer). When we pulled up in the car park all was quiet and I was filled with the usual excited feeling I get when i'm just about to explore a new corner of Cornwall. Alas, our peace was about to be very much interrupted by the four coach loads of tourists and two school buses that pulled up soon after us so we made a hasty dash to the beach before it was bombarded by people! 

The first thing I noticed when I set foot on the beach was the sand. It was quite coarse and please excuse me sounding a bit childlike here, but the best word I can think to describe it is "sparkly". As I looked closer I could see that the sand wasn't "normal" sand at all but tiny pieces of broken shells instead. Now I know that most sand probably has an element of mashed up shells in it but it seemed more like that was all this sand was made of. My shoes were flung off pretty darn quickly as I was super keen to sink my tootsies into it's delightfulness.

Unfortunately we hadn't quite got our timings quite right and the tide was almost all the way in but there was still enough beach for all to enjoy themselves. There were kids jumping in the waves, fishermen out to get their catch, families having picnics and ramblers winding their way up the coast path.  

I stood on the edge of the shore for a long time watching the waves and taking pics of everything going on around me. It had been overcast when we arrived but after a little while the sun started peaking out between the clouds and when it did, oh boy, what a treat. Those deep, steal grey waters transformed to the most gloriously jewel-like shade of turquoise I've ever seen! I couldn't stop looking at it. I wanted to absorb it somehow as much as I possibly could, it was such an impossibly beautiful sight and at that point I understood completely why this was such a popular photography spot.

As I walked to the far end of the beach I caught sight of a lady tucked away amongst the rocks meditating. As I stood watching the sea crash up on the rocks she wandered out from her little hideaway and walked into the waves, with her arms stretched out letting it wash over her, cleansing her I'm guessing. I love the way that the sea draws people to it like this, as a spot of contemplation, peace, meditation and cleansing. A sanctuary of sorts, a place to worship. 

I felt a bit like I was intruding on her private ceremony so I made my way back up the beach to mum, wading my way through hundreds of school kids playing games on my way. How lucky they were, I thought to myself, to be at school in a place that meant they could come on such wonderful trips like this. All the screaming was a little noisy though so we decided to make our way up the cliff a bit to see the view from above. 

Looking down over the cove, it looked like a lost paradise that had somehow ended up tucked into a nook at the far end of this lovely English land.