Going

May 2021. It's been a long wait since Lockdown 3. Six months in fact and the long awaited National release has begun. An opportunity to get back on the Eriba road. Restrictions are still in place across England, with self-contained status. The destination is St Agnes, Cornwall. 

Pulling the covers off the Eriba, our pet name being ET (all Eriba owners have pet names for their cherished vans)  the preparation could begin. Closing all the water pipes and cleansing (puriclean), checking the gas, fridge, tyres and a full internal and external clean, spit & polish.

ET was ready to roll out of Lockdown....boy and so were we!

Lift Off

St Agnes is a long drive from Sth Leicestershire. Just over 4.5hrs in fact if you plug into Google maps. Nearer 5hrs + I thought with a few stops and caravan in tow. Just after 10am on a Saturday morning. What I didn't bargain for was a pleasant easy run. M6, M42, M5 & A30 very quiet indeed. Flew through Bristol (unheard of!) especially on a Saturday lunchtime. A couple of stops for breaks and stretch the dog's legs saw us land at the site just after 3pm. I'll take that! A good run from a towing perspective, culminating in some tight experiences as we entered St Agnes. The final section of road was passing places width and at one point has a few really tight passes. There was one head-on moment with a brief gesture exchange, but the elevated coastal view that greeted us around the next corner was a spectacular entrance to the week ahead.


Eriba ready

Eriba ready

Cornwall here we come!

St Agnes Beacon Club site

Arrival

Another surprise greeted us upon arrival at the St Agnes Beacon Club site. It was pretty empty, which meant we had the entire site to choose a pitch :-) Not complaining, flew down, quiet site and a general feeling of not very busy in the Cornish air. Whilst this particular site does not have a toilet/shower block I think the combination of early lockdown, non-school holiday and a cautious population contributed. The site staff greeted us and were really helpful settling us in. One thing I like about the CC, their site staff are so friendly and helpful.

Anyway, focusing on the positive we found ourselves a nice secluded sheltered pitch and began setting up. 

We have 2 awnings, one a pop up air (Kampa 365) which is a self contained unit and another which is just a simple front shade. Both are pretty easy to setup, once the attachment end slides into the Eriba rail its either pump up the awning or pull the shade out and fix. We opted for the air awning in the first instance although mindful that a storm was brewing and due to land on BH Monday (naturally!) so might have to pull back down if winds got too bad - more on this later!

The weather was glorious, cool but very pleasant in the sun which is always a bonus when setting up. So electric hooked up, caravan levelled, water tank filled and awning in place we took time to sit and chill with a nice coffee brew. Aurora (our husky) was tied up and enjoying the Cornish air, in fact we all were. A nice change to the four walls of lockdown home for the past 6 months! 

With plenty of daylight left and some legs to exercise we took ourselves off for a local walk. One thing we found about the site is its excellent location, a great base camp to explore in every direction! Directly behind the site sits St Agnes Beacon, a hill walk with panoramic views across the entire region. A must walk. It took about 20mins to reach the summit and the photos do not do justice to the spectacular views across the coastline and surrounding area. It was nice to pick out our own caravan on the CC site too!

St Agnes Beacon

Trevaunance Cove

A good rest overnight and awoke, once again, fine weather lit up our base camp. Cool but sunny was the theme. It's always nice to unzip the pop top on the Eriba first thing in the morning to get the Eriba eye view on surroundings.

Kettle boiling, fresh air, let the dog out to stretch legs and caravan duties (water top-up, empty waste) became the pattern of duty each day. Day 2 was about exploring a bit further afield (but not too far). We decided to head off to St Agnes, in particular a place called Trevaunance Cove.

Eriba View

We decided to drive over (5 mins) and park up a bit closer to source to maximise our days activities. It was a Sunday so expected a busy day. Upon arrival at a car park (Reppers Coombe) at top of hill on Quay Road it was nice to find free parking (until May 17th) :-)

A short walk down a steepish hill past a few galleries, shops and pubs and we found Trevaunance Cove. It wasn't overly busy but a few people around. What a find & treasure this place! A wonderful sheltered cove with clear blue/green water surrounded by steep cliff coastline leading off in both directions. The coastal path hugged the cliff edge and offered spectacular aerial views across the cove and beyond. 

The water was very calm today and lots of paddle boards were out at play and in their zone.  I must have a go at this! They do get a fair distance away from the coast and must have a very different and wonderful view back towards land.

After taking in the views, a brief walk on the beach with Aurora (dog), we stopped for a pastie break at the beach cafe (Breakers). Boy it was good. One of the tastiest Cornish pasties I've had. Aurora gave it a paws up too!

Following the energy boost we followed the coast path a bit as it elevated above the cove to get a birds eye view of the elevation. Camera was busy, especially shooting panorama. A few of the pics are included below.

Trevaunance Cove

Wheal Coates

It was turning into a busy Sunday! We headed back to case camp (from St Agnes) just after lunch and I then donned walking boots, grabbed lead and went exploring with Aurora. I wanted to explore the visible ruins, over the road from camp, which hugged the SW coast path. It was Wheal Coates, a former mine, preserved and maintained by the National Trust. The word 'Wheal' is a Cornish dialect meaning a place of work (not mine). Cornish mines are prefixed with the word Wheal.

Anyway less of the history lesson and more of the adventure!

Wheal Coates

It takes 5 minutes to reach the costal path (from base camp) leading to Wheal Coates. The former tin mine and its buildings are an iconic feature on the horizon from all around (and make great features for photography composition). The mine shut down in 1914 so the ruins are well weathered and there is a magical quality to the landscape as the pumping house building and stacks soar upwards from the coast path.

I was a busy boy with the camera and hopefully the images captured will give a feel for the magic I felt amongst the ruins and coastline with such stunning elevated views over the sea.

This soon became a repeat visiting place, especially at sunset :-)

Wheal Coates

BH Monday

BH Monday

Red dot is us!

Bank Holiday Monday Blowout!

It was forecasted so no complaints! A deep low pressure system along with its rain and wind was forecast to collide with the UK on Bank Holiday Monday (No surprise there).  I made a decision to remove the awning in readiness. 30mph sustained winds (60mph+ gusts) were forecast and I was not risking any damage so it came down on Sunday.

It was a wise decision. The winds arrived early in the morning and never stopped! The caravan rocked. Surprisingly (and luckily) we were located in a part of the UK that never felt the full wrath of rain! The radar picture show our location (red dot) bottom left. 

Having said that, the wind was so strong and it was damn cold, I took an early morning walk to the coast via Wheal Coates to experience this. A choppy sea materialised!

Following the walk the entire day was spent camped indoors. Coffee, cake, reading and TV was the order of the day. It did also allow me to download and work on some photos. I always tend to take my post-processing gear away on trips.

Thoughts now looking forward to Tuesday and a wasted day really. Never mind, UK weather at its normal worst!

After storm

After storm

Empty spaces!

Perranporth

It is said a good storm blows away the cobwebs. Well it seemed to have worked on this site! The following early morning leg stretch with the dog saw plenty of empty spaces. I decided to check out the on-site dog walking area before today's local destination, Perranporth. A brief mention to the dog walk area, it is small but perfectly formed. A tree lined path that is truly stunning, taking one away from everywhere once inside.

Perranporth was a brief  15 min drive from base camp. The weather by now was very sunny and wind had changed to a NW'ly, stiff but still cool. Jackets and hats were still attire of the day! Note - the wind direction was a full on direction relative to Perranporth beach so I expected some fun :-)

Doggy day bag packed we took the short and very pleasant coast drive and pulled up on the beach car park 15 mins later. Plenty of space, a bonus. We headed over to the beach for a nice blustery walk. The beach at Perranporth is huge, a vast golden sand foreground to the sea and rocky shoreline surrounding both edges. It was also popular with surfers, and boy today they were in for a treat!

I took plenty of photos, the waves, surfers, beach and rocky coast with a splattering of visitors along the vast sandy plain. We walked the entire length of the sand until we hit the steep rocky incline that continued the coast path. A good point to ascend and get a few aerial shots :-)

The wind put pay to staying too long so we retreated to a brief walk around shops in the pleasant town. A pastie and drink later ;-) and dog looking at me with that 'enough now' look we retreated to car and drove back to camp site.

Perranporth

The day was not over. Once back at base camp I set off again, on foot, with Aurora to wind down the coast path via Wheal Coates and experience the sun setting over the Cornish sea horizon. A must do! I'll let the photos below speak for themselves!

Wheal Coates & Sunset

St Ives

When you visit the far SW of Cornwall how can you not go to St Ives! One of my all time favourite places in UK. It holds many a distant memory too as I used to get taken here when I was a kid by family.  In those days the journey was an all day affair. Today with a better road network, albeit with more traffic, it's easily reached. It took us just over 30mins form base camp to reach The Burrows car park (high up on the hill at leisure centre, looking down on the picturesque town).  There is a fluid park & ride bus that takes you into the town but it's also walkable & only 5 mins (but with a slope - great going down, not so good coming up!).

What's so nice about St Ives is the content and layout. There is a plethora of tiny, narrow roads brimming with bespoke shops, galleries, food, drink, artists and numerous beaches/coves all within minutes walking distance. Each corner you turn is a postcard scene. Naturally it is popular with tourists, which sort of adds to the charm and charisma of the place. I love it.

We frequented lots of shops, galleries and wandered around the many beach coves, including a wander down the harbour pier where the views over the St Ives harbour and down are iconic. A pasty and drink was calling and we obliged, including the dog! Bless her, she is so patient with us dragging her around built up places. She did enjoy the beaches mind :-)

I'll leave you with a selection of photos from our morning out. It's not over yet as we planned to stop at Godrevy on the return journey to hopefully see a few seals! 

St Ives

St Ives

The day was not over yet (again)! We had to pass Godrevy on the route to/from St Agnes and there were reports of grey seals at Godrevy so we decided to call in and take a look. The exit from St Ives takes you via the rural route back to the A30, which is a nice drive and certainly beats the stop/start of going in via the town route! Once at the A30 we turned off and through Hayle. Another lovely place we have stayed at frequently and nice to meet up again.

Another 10 mins or so and Godrevy lighthouse getting larger. Reports of seal sighting were at Mutton Cove so we headed to the furthest car park along the access road, which shadows the coast path. The National Forest car park was an all grass affair and lots of info/guidance on seal sightings was dotted around. We got out and walked the short path towards the steep cliff edge at Mutton Cove, which bisects the coast path at the highest point.

When we got there WOW! Firstly the elevated view over the coast path and coastline in both directions was spectacular. As we looked down from the cliff edge into Mutton Cove our subjects were in abundance. Grey seals, a colony of 80+ (yes I counted) all lying on the beach with occasional breakaway to swim and play in the sea. What a wonderful sight. I went into overdrive with the camera and the100-400mm lens came in real handy!         

We must have stayed here nearly an hour, scurrying along the cliff top coast path and beholding the stunning viewpoint. There were also lots of cormorant type birds nestled inside the rocky cliff walls above the seal colony. A real wildlife haven. What a fantastic find! The view of Godrevy lighthouse close up was also fab to see, sitting on its own little island. Once again lots of photos below to enjoy and what a great day this has turned out to be :-)

Godrevy

Coast path sign

2 days to go!

Wow what a week it has been so far! 2 days left and still so much more to explore. We have walked our socks off so far and heading towards 100,000+ steps in a week! Needless to say Aurora sleeps well at night :-)  

Lost track of days, as you do, so a quick check on phone and it's Wednesday. It's time to get back on the coast path so plan is to head south towards Chapel Porth.  Access to the coast path sees us, once again, trekking via the Wheal Coates car park entrance, just down the road from our camp.

Taking the south fork in the coast path at the Wheal Coates car park we started a downhill trek. The coast path winds and hugs the hill terrain and every corner you turn brings a 'Wow, look at the view!' moment.   Before long we were descending into Chapel Porth, A small cove with a car park, cafe and a wonderful secluded rocky beach. We decided to try the cafe for a quick snack & coffee. So glad we did, the sub toastie was splendid and provided a well earned energy boost. 

The car park acts as a sort of junction, bisecting the coast path as it branches in numerous directions.  Fed and watered we decided to get some elevation and continued southbound but hugging the coast line rather than one of the inland routes. Passing lots of coast path signs pinned to the ground amongst the heather and flowers, which themselves became a focal point for my camera, we soon gained height. Each step you take walking up a steepish path brings a different view and angle on things all around. It's important to stop and take it all in and I was taking photos on almost every step.

As we reached the highest point of the coast path the views were breathtaking. Difficult to take in such was the beauty of land, sea cliffs and walks fusing together in a single postcard.  We all just sat down and took stock of the view for a while, even Aurora lying down to admire at one point (great photo).

At this point we decided to reverse tracks and head back down to the beach at Chapel Porth. The weather was improving by the minute and  once sitting amongst the sea and rock the sky was almost clear. A wonderful blue to transform the landscape postcard. We spent a while exploring and capturing the rocky beach scene before heading back up the coast path towards Wheal Coates and back to base camp.

An incredible day, but we weren't finished just yet. Just opposite theSt Agnes Beacon site is a cafe that serves the most delicious cakes so we just had to pitstop and break for tea and coffee. At this point I was checking the wether forecast on my phone and it was looking very good for a clear sky evening. Essentially this meant I'd be busy for a bit longer. A clear sky sunset followed by a star trail photo were in the planning.

Coast path walk

Sunset and Stars

The day is not over yet. The sky has cleared of clouds and provided excellent photo opportunity for a sunset (over the Wheal Coates ruins) followed by a star trail photo. One of my photography goals has been to capture our Eriba (ET) underneath a sky full of spinning stars. A shoot is starting to shape up!

Even ET was smiling :-)

Cornwall May 2021

Leaving Deb and Aurora flaked out in ET I headed back down to Wheal Coates for the dream sunset photo. I wasn't disappointed! After pitching the tripod in a good position overlooking the ruins and planning where the sun would kiss the sea horizon gave a superb composition.

There I stood shooting continuous until the sun kissed the sea and sky turned a setting red. It was beautiful. Sunsets don't get any better :-)

A few minutes later I was back at camp setting up the camera and tripod for a 6 hour long overnight  exposure to capture a star trail. The camera stayed outside shooting continuos whilst we all slept like logs. The following morning revealed the final composite image :-)


Sunset & star trail

  • Going

    Sunset over Wheal Coates ruins.

  • Going

    Sunset over Wheal Coates ruins.

  • Gone!

    Sunset over Wheal Coates ruins.

  • Red sky

    Sunset over Wheal Coates ruins.

  • Eriba stars

    Captured in Cornwall whilst staying at St Agnes Beacon CC site on evening 6th & 7th May 2021. A wonderfully clear sky (only one in the week stay). Camera: Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk3 Lens: 7-14mm This star trail was captured by using the Olympus in-camera function called Live Composite (Setting B on top dial). I chose 15s exposures and set the camera shoot for a period of 6 hours, which is the maximum time setting on the in-camera live composite mode. The final image you see is a 6hrs composite captured in camera or 6hrs x 15s in a single image. BEHIND THE LENS Camera:- Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk3 Lens: Olympus 7-14mm Tripod - Mounted on site at St Agnes Beacon CC site 15s exposure time using Live Composite mode in camera. F4 ISO 500 I mounted the camera on a tripod next to where our Eriba cravan was pitched. I set up the composition using a 7mm focal length composing the camera with the Eriba caravan in frame. The light within the caravan (and pop up) adds a nice lit touch. Using the Live Composite mode on the Olympus camera the star trail is all generated in-camera, a very cool feature which reduces post processing. The resulting shot reveals 6 hrs of Earth spinning above ET (our Eriba caravan).

Final day - Trevellas Cove

Another day another find! On our first trip to St Agnes (Trevaunance Cove) we noticed a small beach (with car park) in the far distance. It looked nice so it was time to explore and would be the final destination on our Cornish journey. Weather forecast was clear sky all day before the imminent arrival of another storm and therefore we were planning to leave for home at the end of the day.

A short 10min drive and we landed at the car park access road. I'd read on google reviews access to the beach was challenging. Understatement, the gate was so tight we had to walk our SUV through, and it just squeezed in. Nothing bigger could get in. The remainder of the access resembled a lunar surface but we got there eventually. It was worth it.  Nobody else at all (apart from a school class of infants - I don't remember lessons like this when I was at school!). We packed a few chairs and took these down onto the beach. We tied off Aurora and spent an hour or so chilling and taking photos (again). Unfortunately the wether forecast of clear blue skies did not materialise and it was rather cool (the storm arriving earlier?). We decided to pack up, head back into Trevaunance Cove for a pastie lunch to complete the day.

Reversing the lunar pass and walking the car back through the gate, before you could say pastie lunch, we were sitting at the Cove enjoying final sea views. The surfers were busy today (compared to paddle boarders earlier in week) as clean barrel waves filled the Cove. I love watching wave motion, it's so therapeutic!         


Trevellas Cove

Well there you have it. A week's adventure wrapped. We ended up back at base camp on Friday afternoon, packed up ET, hitched up, said our goodbyes and began the 5 hour journey back. Little traffic, one stop and back home we were.

Thank you Cornwall (and ET) for a fab week :-)

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