Monday, 30 June 2014

Cracking time at Crantock....

Old man in the sea....a sight rarely seen!  (Click pictures to enlarge)
      We've been camping at Crantock for quite a few years now and have yet to tire of it. The campsite at Higher Moor is a runner's paradise with a plethora of routes to suit all levels, and so beautiful as to be irresistible. It's one of our warm weather training camps and this year it turned exceptionally warm, the best it's ever been. I got so brown I wasn't sure whether it was a healthy tan or whether I'd got scorched!  Hot sunshine even drove me into the sea at Polly Joke, a most unusual occurrence. I'm a runner and cold water has never featured in my list of favourite things, neither for swimming, drinking or washing up. Because it's highly unlikely anyone will ever see such an occurrence again, here is a picture of me posing in the sea (though I did actually swim around for a wee while, trying to enjoy it).

'The Route'.  Five beautiful miles...
     Unbelievably, we'd almost uninterrupted wall to wall sunshine for the first ten days of our two week vacation. The next two days produced some torrential rain in the mornings but cleared by lunchtime allowing us to enjoy a walk or run in the rain freshened landscape later in the day. We ran on ten of our fourteen days, a total of 49 miles, mostly on a five mile circuit linking an undulating coast path with a bird and butterfly rich flower be-decked common which we affectionately call 'The Route'.  It starts with a vicious 25% tarmac climb from the gate of the campsite before crossing the West Pentyre road and dropping down through fields to join the Cornish Coast Path above Crantock beach. From thereon the route is all off-road along sandy paths or springy turf with wonderful views and a fast downhill finish over Cubert Common back to camp.  We ran this circuit five times, often meeting other runners en route, mainly members of Newquay Running Club who were much faster than us. And much younger....
River Gannel at Crantock
      My last attempt at this route turned out to be quite traumatic. I'd set off alone whilst my wonderful partner was exploring pastures new, somewhere in the opposite direction. I'd sailed up the initial steep hill feeling really good in the early morning sun, dropped down towards the sea and established a comfortable rhythm along the coast path. A steep ascent by Pigeon Cove is followed by an equally steep descent before some steps leading almost down to the beach. I tripped and took a headlong flier, landing with a real bang, bashing my Rt knee and tearing the skin off it, knocking up two toes of my Rt foot (which turned almost black), cutting the thumb of my Lt hand and nettling most of the Rt side of my body amongst all the stinging nettles lining the path. My metal framed spectacles flew off too and somehow got twisted out of shape. It really knocked the wind out of my sails and it was a good couple of minutes before I forced myself back onto my feet and set off gently to complete the next 3½ miles of the route. After feeling so good at the start it turned out to be my slowest ever time to complete this circuit. Surprise, surprise....
      Next day it poured with rain until lunchtime, for which I was thankful. I was feeling a bit stiff and wouldn't
Poppies and corn marigolds at Polly Joke
really have enjoyed a morning run. We went shopping - for morale boosting things like Cornish pasties, Cornish cream to spread thickly on our fruit scones before topping with strawberry jam, and an exquisite Australian Black Label Merlot that went exceedingly well with a sirloin steak the following evening. Rain bated as we ate our pasties, the sun came out and cleared away the clouds, we could hear birds singing again and smell the freshness of flowers and trees. As I lingered over the aroma and taste of a rich Italian coffee my wonderful partner couldn't resist going for a walk in the improved conditions.
The beauty of Vugga Cove....
     "Where to?" I asked, vaguely interested.
     "Just up the road and round the coast to Vugga Cove" she replied.
     "Well, I might see you there, or I might not" said I, still feeling stiff and limping a bit after the previous days fiasco. In truth, I just needed a few more minutes rest before taking a short cut and joining her there - as she most probably knew I would!  And I enjoyed it, limping at my leisure along orchid paths with that wonderful smell of vegetation after rain, by fields filled with blood red poppies and bright yellow marigolds, wafted by butterflies, scolded by a pair of stonechats from their home among the gorse bushes, and even saying Hello to an unusual saffron snail sliding along a bench I nearly sat on. 

            After a timeless stroll I dropped into Vugga Cove, and there she was. We sat together
Ever hopeful - fisherman at Vugga Cove....
on the rocks enthralled by the incredible colours of sea, sky, rocks, lichens and flowers surrounding this ancient amphitheatre where fishermen plied their trade many moons ago. As if to vaguely carry on the tradition a lone fisherman was patiently casting his line from the rocks below us, ever hopeful of catching a supper sized fish on the incoming tide. Two men in an Indian type kayak paddled gently by hardly making a splash. I was envious. Although I've an aversion to cold water I have to agree with a statement made by my wonderful partner's late father who apparently preferred his whiskey neat. "All water is any good for is going round boats" he said, sipping his single malt. And I think I knew what he meant as I watched the happy paddlers disappear round the headland....and not just about his choice tipple!


  1. I would love to have no races on my calendar and no pressure to be in top shape and racing...

    But I like racing and I like some-one else buying my shoes.

    Keep enjoying the easy loops round the country, do it for us who are still training to hard!!!

    1. In another thirty years CD you'll love being able to do those 'easy loops round the country' when and if you feel like it, rather than being tied to a training schedule...not that I aren't a little envious of you!

  2. Sounds like an amazing holiday! Sorry about the tumble - glad you're okay.

    1. I'm fine Karien, and really enjoyed Cornwall. It's my old body that's the trouble!

  3. Wow .... Wow .... Wow

    Just fantastic - I so enjoyed reading your post and looking at your great photo's.

    Shame you had a tumble - glad you're ok ....AND ....I'm raising a glass to you and wishing you good health.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thanks yet again for your good wishes Jan. It wasn't that fantastic a fall, not much blood and didn't finish up in hospital this time, so maybe give it 7 out of 10....!!!
      Seriously, that corner of Cornwall really is beautiful. It's a shame I can't fit more pictures into my blog to show everyone how good it is.
      Good health to you too, Cheers!

  4. What a beautiful place. I would love to be fishing there right now.
    Glad you are recovered from what sounds like a nasty fall!