Weekend city breaks suit me because 2-3 days of hardcore tourism is probably my ideal amount of city exploration to do in one stretch. For longer trips, I definitely prefer getting out into nature and doing something active. I – and probably many others – don’t have the stamina for weeks of walking around for hours every day, visiting multiple museums and churches and often spending money all the time. Even though travelling is fun and exciting, it can also be tiring.
I much prefer being out of major cities for longer trips, where I can swim and walk and be outside while also having time to read a book or take a nap.
Time in Cornwall ticks all of those boxes.
After spending the run-up to Christmas and Christmas day itself with my family in London and Oxford, I drove down to Cornwall on Boxing Day to spend the rest of my time off with Jake and his family at their place in Cornwall.
I love Cornwall. I would love to spend an extended period of time there at some point in the future, driving all around the coast and visiting all the amazing beaches. All is not lost when based in Bodmin, however, as there are plenty of great beaches close by anyway.
Typically when we’re in Cornwall, I jump around like a Golden Retriever every day until Jake agrees that we should go to the coast. December is a little bit different, as it’s only so appealing getting into the nip-freezing ocean when the temperatures are low and the skies thick with cloud. That being said, we did make it to the coast almost every day, for a coastal walk if not for a dip.
My Cornish break started in the most spectacular way possible, with us enjoying the trifecta of low tide, clear sky and sunset at Tregardock beach. I said I wouldn’t swim, because I was nursing a sore throat and sickness bug. Not only did I end up literally running into the ocean, I then ran around in only my wet swimsuit and a damp jumper to catch the last of the sunset with my camera. I think that choosing an ocean swim is always the right choice. SAY NOTHING.
(I can now confirm that I spent the following week sneezing like it was my job and complaining about it like it wasn’t entirely my fault. I have my flaws.)
I did want to swim again in theory, or at least surf, but Jake then caught the sickness bug and it was, well, very very grey the rest of the trip. We made do with some sea air.
We did a long coastal walk of the moody coastline near Polzeath beach, seeing both Petire Point and the Rumps, a place we walked last Christmas too. There were rolling rain clouds that day, alternating between fresh blue sky and rainstorms. Classic UK.
We enjoyed not only the view but also the couple who we shared the Rumps with, as one of them was severely afraid of heights (which we found after offering her help when stepping over a rock took her literally five minutes) and the other, having brought her to a high, rocky outcrop, proceeded to spend his time snapping pictures as she struggled to even make her way back to the main path.
Dude, why? Why bring your terrified girlfriend to a high point over a stormy sea and then leave her to get back to the path alone, grappling with her fear, while you take pictures? Unless this was some pre-planned habituation therapy, I question this very strongly.
Top tip: if you, your significant other, friend or anyone you like enough to not want to terrify is afraid of heights, walk somewhere else. You’re welcome.
We also went for a great coastal walk from Porthcothan to Treyarnon. We could peer into multiple small bays and see the choppy seas crashing spectacularly against the rocks – it was awesome. This was also where I rapped My Shot from Hamilton all the way through with no backing music and Jake didn’t leave or shush me, so it remains a memorable location.
We walked a lot this week. If a coastal walk or beach trip wasn’t on the itinerary, we walked through forests and fields and along the camel trail because, well, that what you do in Cornwall when it’s cloudy.
I’ll let you guys in on a little secret.
I don’t like walking.
I mean, I have no problem with walking as a form of necessary transport. It’s very convenient being able to get myself from A to B using things that are permanently attached to me. But as a hobby, it is just not my vibe. I prefer swimming and drinking cocktails and compulsively learning the words to all the songs of every major musical.
Walking is slow. And tiring. And often involves hills, even if someone tells you otherwise. People who walk often, as an actual hobby, and enjoy it, come to think of genuine hills as flat ground that’s just a bit angled. For us mere mortals, this remains a hill. Seasoned hikers must be confronted with Everest before conceding that, yes, there appears to be a bit of an incline up ahead.
(This blog was not meant to turn into a diatribe against walking as a hobby, but there you go.)
I do like being involved, bonding with Jake’s family, seeing nature and, crucially, taking photos. The promise of good pictures is enough to get me to do anything at this point.
“Climb inside the volcano! You’ll get much better shots of the lava.”
So I walked. These were not challenging walks, but for me, they were enough. Fortunately the rain and clouds made the green of the woods pop and looked lush and vibrant.
So, we’ve covered walking, swimming and taking snaps. Other than that, I wrote a few blogs, read a few books and ate a lot of slices of lemon drizzle cake. Hot chocolate was consumed in admirable quantities and I continue to marvel at how much washing-up nine people manage to generate in a single day.
Even in December, even covered by clouds, Cornwall remains spectacular. It was so lovely to spend a whole week in this beautiful part of the UK. Even if I did have to walk sometimes.