Posts Tagged 'Cornwall'

Charlie Bettinson salmon fishing in the river Fowey

‘Beauty job, Cor Bloody Hell – He’s got the fisherman’s grin – he’s caught the bugger’ to quote Charlie Bettinson fisherman extraordinaire. Charlie takes a guest out Salmon fishing and after a half an hour’s fight lands a lovely salmon. Worth the 9 minute watch if you like fishing – it’s quite entertaining!

If you fancy a fishing trip with this great Cornish character check out this site, it’s a B+B that will organise a fishing trip with Charlie. Beaudy boy!

Special thanks to Cornish Voices


Cornish cafe open 364 days of the year!

If someone asked me a year ago if there was a cafe 1/2 mile from Lands End where they could get a great full English breakfast or some homemade bread during the winter, on Boxing day I would tell them ‘dont be silly, what do you think?’

But I would be proved (no pun intended) wrong. There is, just 1/2 mile from the end of the Great British Isles, a cafe that not only serves great food but is open every day except Christmas Day.

The Apple Tree Cafe in the small village of Trevescan, near Sennen is a community cafe and artists studios. We found it after one of my bright ideas of getting up early and going to Newlyn to photograph the fisherman bringing their catch in. However on arrival at Newlyn there were no fishermen, nowhere to have breakfast and not a great deal to see as it was so foggy. So we headed off to Mousehole where there was still nowhere to eat. Heading towards Lands End we thought our luck was sure to run out as we were running out of road and the hope of finding something suitable for breakfast. We stopped at Sennen beach cafe which was closed, and due to open at around 10 (it was approx 9am now – which is late if you’ve been up since 6!) and all it was  serving was drinks and pastries. Not ideal for my gluten-free lovely onboard!

So we headed back towards the main road where I thought I had spotted somewhere out the corner of my eye. To our delight we came upon The Apple Tree Cafe, it was like an oasis in the desert to us!

We each had a delicious full-English and shared a pot of tea. They had a wonderful menu on blackboards so much so we were tempted to stay for lunch. They actively cater for special diets, vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options abound but don’t worry if you are meat-eater the bangers were fab! There is fresh artisan bread everyday and the burgers are legendary.

They also support local artists and craftspeople. With a lovely range of art on display and two artists are resident in the adjoining buildings. They host regular art and craft courses, drop-in sewing “surgeries” so you can learn how to mend, alter and recycle your favourite clothes and furnishings.

They also do ‘theme’ evenings – a few weeks after we were there they were doing a Bollywood night; we were rather jealous we couldn’t be there!

It is such a wonderful idea, a community cafe in a little village – surely those are just the kind of community that can really do with a ‘hub’. So many rural communities are losing their pubs, local shops and post offices. Villages really suffer when there isn’t somewhere where people can meet up and gossip! Well done to all of those involved in The Apple Tree Cafe – its great!

To find out more about the Apple Tree Cafe click here.

Keep an eye out for the deaf cat of Trevescan!

One street we will not be visiting this Christmas!

Teetotal Street in St Ives is in an alcohol free zone too!

But don’t let stop you visiting St Ives this Christmas, I hear they have some of the best New Year celebrations in the county! Now a popular event and continuing to grow in numbers, with no official programs, brochures or leaflets the New Year celebrations are entirely people driven and really the only criteria is fancy dress, not essential but if you want to fit in you will need some imagination!

If you don’t believe me check out this great little video by Alban Roinard

The Penlee Lifeboat Crew Remembered – 30 years ago today

The Penlee lifeboat was called to assist the crew of the Union Star, a cargo ship on her maiden voyage as she was heading towards the rocks off the Cornish coast on 19th December 1981.

The Solomon Browne and its 8 crew from Mousehole were called at around 8.15pm. Trevelyan Richards the Coxswain of the lifeboat got the Solomon Browne alongside the Union Star from where it was thrown several times onto the deck of the cargo ship before sliding off. A Sea King helicopter above the incident was watching but unable to help due to the adverse weather conditions.  As the pilot of the helicopter looked on he later commented at the inquiry that ‘they were truly the greatest 8 men I have ever seen’. Eventually Trevelyan Richards got the boat alongside the Union Star and got 4 of the 8 crew off the ship and onto the lifeboat. Not content with rescuing the 4, he went back in to save the other 4 lives. At this moment as the Falmouth lifeguards were listening to the radios between the Union Star and the Solomon Browne it all went silent and something terrible had happened. Both boats were so close to the shoreline rocks and they had succumbed to the power of the sea. All 16 people were lost, 8 crew of the Union Star and the brave selfless men of the Solomon Browne.

Those men who gave their lives that night were

William ‘Trevelyan’ Richards – Coxswain

James Madron – Second Coxswain and Mechanic

Nigel Brockman – Assistant Mechanic

John Blewett – Emergency Mechanic

Charlie Greenhaugh – crew member

Kevin Smith  crew member

Barrie Torrie – crew member

Gary Wallis – crew member

The following day boys and men from Mousehole were stepping forward to replace the crew of the Solomon Browne, one young man who stepped forward was the son of one of the crew who had died the night before. He later became Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat.

These men are still remembered annually as the lights at Mousehole are dimmed between 8pm and 9pm in memory of their sacrifices.

Many a tribute has been paid to these men on the internet and much can be found on the net. However our favourite is a song by Seth Lakeman called Solomon Browne all about that stormy night.

…and aptly Seth also played this at the Minack theatre not far from where the lives were lost.

Russell Holland has also produced this together with the Cornish Wurzels I believe. The backing singers are the crew of the current Penlee lifeboat.

Tonight at 10pm on BBC FOUR is the Cruel Sea: The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster – first screened in 2006, is an account of what happened that night with real radio footage, eye witness reports and memories of the families who lost their loved ones.

To find out more about the Penlee Lifeboat visit their website here. Finally to make a donation to the RNLI please click here , its a very worthwhile charity.

The Shipping Forecast explained… by two fat badgers!

When we cannot sleep at night we often switch on the radio beside the bed and listen to Radio 4 and to whatever is being broadcast. At some point in the night there must be some kind of children’s entertainment on World Service because sometimes I awake feeling like I’m on speed as the children’s entertainment is not conducive to a good nights sleep. But more often that not if its been a late night we will doze off listening to the shipping forecast which also is not that conducive to a good night sleep…


As you are dozing it’s just words that don’t always make sense so I thought I would google it and find out what it all means.

Now where do the Two Fat Badgers come into it? Well, the two fat badgers run a website which in an independent look at places to visit around the UK and pubs to visit etc. They have also done some homework on explaining the shipping forecast.

Take a look at their website here to see what it’s all about.

Finally as I’m scratching my head deciphering the shipping forecast most of the time I will fall asleep to “Sailing By” composed by Ronald Binge in 1963, and performed by the Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra. It’s a beautiful track and can be listened to here.

It may be cold outside but I think its going to be a quiet one tonight – sleep tight!

The sea like a mill pond - Newlyn





Kennall Vale Nature Reserve

If you are looking for somewhere to walk off those mince pies after Christmas or in my case before Christmas then take a walk around Kennall Vale.

Old mill stone lies next to the River Kennall.

Situated between Redruth and Falmouth in the village of Ponsanooth, Kennall Vale is part of Cornwall’s rich heritage from the Tin mining era. Gunpowder was produced here with production starting around 1812. By 1860 some 50 men were employed in the gunpowder ‘factory’ until its closure in the early 1900s when alternative and more sophisticated methods of explosives were used in the Cornish mines.

Kennall Vale is now a tranquil and serene place to have a quiet walk and is very popular with dog walkers. The valley has a river (The Kennall!) running through it which would have provided the power to work the machines within the gunpowder mills.  Now,  just lies the ruins of the old granite buildings and parts of the cast iron wheels which once turned.

A walk around Kennel Vale is not for the faint hearted, it starts off with a nice wide even path with a slight gradient going under the canopy of large beech trees, as you walk along you can hear the water running in the nearby river but it’s not until about half a mile before you experience the whole drama of this amazing place. As you pass some old buildings and the old quarry on you left hand side (from where the granite was taken to build all the mills)  now filled with water you will turn a corner and the footpath then crosses the river (via a bridge). Take time to stop on the bridge and watch and listen to the incredible power of the water beneath you. As you walk across you will see many waterfalls in front from where the water was channelled down to drive other parts of the mills workings. Take care now along this path as you walk back along the river from the other side. This path is narrow, muddy, slippery, and everything you didn’t want to hear! But it all adds to a fantastic experience, as you wonder back imagining what it must have been like to work in such a place – producing gunpowder too!

And yes finally, for those who are interested in any gunpowder incidents which happened at Kennall Vale click on the

It’s a great walk, will take an average able-bodied person around 45 minutes  – 1 hour to do the circuit and it certainly burn off a few mince pies. –  Just remember to leave those cigarettes in the car!

Weathered gravestone

I love this  image which bizarrely reminds me of my childhood. I must have walked past this gravestone hundreds of times in the past, from going to sunday school, visiting family graves, cutting through the churchyard on the way home from school, going to and from friends homes and now planning our wedding which will be held at the church next year. This old grave stone dated 1826 is against the church along with a few others, probably as they have fallen over they are rested against the wall of the church in days gone by. Over the years the lichen has almost camouflaged the  slate gravestone against the granite wall of the church making you almost have to look twice at the image.

We found this gravestone in a churchyard in Gunwalloe a few months back, it’s a proper Cornish gravestone belonging to  Jane and William Cornish.

Lovely colours and great textures of Cornwall!


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