Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesStatic Caravan in Cornwall 2005 - By Ren Withnell

Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 3

I wake up and get up about 0800, I finally raise sleeping beauty from the pit at 0900 and we shower. I also speak with a friend of mine, M, who moved to Cornwall some 10 years ago but we have remained in occasional contact and see each other at various weddings and events. I arrange to go and see him on Wednesday.

This being the bank holiday Monday all the usual tourist places will be packed. We decide to just get on the bike and head out, follow the front wheel and see where it takes us. Before we set off the site owner arrives with another gentleman who fixes the gas fire. It’s a simple job, replace a small part called the thermocouple, but it takes a while due to a lack of nuts and bolts of the correct thread. Anyhow, the fire is working now.

We leave about 1200 and head towards Truro, going round in circles at one point. The sun is shining and illuminates the green fields and small villages in an enchanting way. I ride with no more direction than following the sun. We travel slowly down single-track lanes with high hedgerows and trees on either side. The road turns round the side of a sandstone farmhouse then suddenly opens up into a lush green valley complete with broad flat river estuary, boats, gently rolling hills and muddy shoreline. I have to stop

The gf gets off and grabs her camera. Whilst I’m getting mine and taking off my jacket I look around, she has disappeared! Being the smart, intelligent and modest man I am I soon deduce she has gone down some steps leading to the shoreline to get some pictures. I get my camera out and start snapping away but I know the gf’s pictures will be 10 times better than mine as she has the artistic eye for these things.

The beautiful estuary.

I stand there for a while, taking in the vista. I think Cornwall reminds me of my trip to Scotland in its greenness and it’s beauty. But Cornwall is different. It is brighter and the houses more colourful, it manages to feel rural yet not isolated. Cornwall is dotted with tiny villages and towns but not far apart, Scotland is much more spread out and isolated. Scotland is the place to go for adventure, isolation and a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere alone. Cornwall is pretty, gentle and will suit the less adventurous traveller looking for relaxation, if you can get away from all the other tourists and the traffic.

Back on the bike again I spot a sign pointing towards the ferry. This again reminds me of my exciting ferry crossing in Scotland so I follow the sign. This leads us to a road that drops steeply into a wide estuary. The sign tells us it will cost £1.50 to cross this estuary on the King Harry Ferry. We lean against the stone wall and look across to see a flatbed ferry on the other side, big enough for perhaps 20 or 30 cars. In the water lie 2 large chains that sink into the water. It’s a chain ferry. As the ferry sets off to come back to our side I can see and hear the chains as they rattle through the metal boat.

The King Harry Ferry.

We get on the ferry still on the bike. Being on the bike we are directed to the front of the platform and I stop and place my feet on the floor to brace for the crossing. I need not have bothered. The crossing is peaceful and smooth save for the metallic rattle of the chains as they pass over their pulling wheel. It is nice to look up and down the estuary but I can’t take pictures as I’m still on the bike.

The road from the ferry leads us down some more twisting roads then I pick up signs for St Mawes. St Mawes is another picture postcard seaside town. We stop in a car park next to the harbour and a harbour officer comes out and says hello. He is a very friendly chap who allows us to leave our helmets in the harbour office and promises to keep an eye on the bike. The only thing he does insist on is that we pay the minimum parking fee. This is only the second time in my life I have ever paid to park my bike! Disgruntled I take comfort in being thankful I don’t need to carry my helmet round with me.

We walk round the harbour and spot a sandwich shop with a bench outside. There are plenty of other places to eat but they are all busy. We sit outside in the sun watching the world go by whilst munching on simple cheese butties and drinking coke. This is the life, this is what it’s all about. Sun, sandwiches and relaxing. Walking back round the harbour we go up some back streets and the gf is taken by an old house on the hillside, with a garden filled like a jungle. I have no interest in gardening but she tells me how odd it is to see a climbing something-or-other, look at how this whatever grows out the wall and how they’ve used this pot to grow that thing. It’s all gobbledegook to me, but I smile and nod in the right places.

Back at the harbour we watch as skinny youths jump off the harbour wall into the water, kids play in inflatables and further out small craft come and go. No-one seems to object to the young ones messing around in the water, we can only assume this a family friendly harbour where everyone can have a splash around. Back at the bike our friendly harbour officer talks to us about what we are doing and where we are going next. I thank him for being so helpful and we ride off. It’s a nice and friendly place is St Mawes.

St Mawes Harbour

On the road again I’m following my instinct trying to find Mevagissey. My instinct lets me down badly and when I consult my map we have done a circle almost back to St Mawes. Refreshed from consulting my map I head in the right direction but I’m trying not to use the main road. This leads us to another tiny coastal village called Portholland. This comprises of 50 or so cottages in the bottom of a valley that leads out to the sea. The tiny beach has almost brown sand occupied by a handful of holidaymakers playing in the water. The sea wall is an out of place massive lump of concrete with a steep ramp to the beach. Again we stop and have a quick chat, take pictures and carry on.

We finally get to Mevagissy at teatime. We walk around and stop for a cup of tea in a café covered in pictures and letters from Royalty, particularly the Queen Mother. The owner is obviously very proud to know the royal family and is not shy in letting the customers know this. The tea is good and we talk of how Cornwall presents itself as rural yet full of people. I know I like it here and it’s nice to have company. We walk back to the bike through the narrow streets and set off for home.

The evening brings a ready-made meal of chicken curry, which we burnt but still tasted perfect. This of course brought on a bad case of flatulence, much to the gf’s disgust. I am threatened with being made to sleep outside if I carry on, the gf fears for her health. I think the gf’s nasal passage has been tortured to the point where she can no longer smell anything, because we sit down and watch Mission Impossible 2 together. We enjoy the film not for it’s amazing story or action, but because we are laughing at it’s silliness and cheesiness.

Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 1
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 2
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 3
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 4 Just a lazy day at the beach with nary a motorcycle in sight.
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 5
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 6
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 7
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 8

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Home Travel StoriesStatic Caravan in Cornwall 2005 - By Ren Withnell

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