Home to some of the most spectacular beaches in England, Cornwall is the perfect destination to enjoy the summer sunshine. We managed to explore only west Cornwall in three days, and that's when I realised that a week would be sufficient to explore and relax in this south western part of England.
Shores and Sharks
Once in Cornwall, we made Penzance, a lovely old harbour and easily accessible by train, our base camp. There are plenty of charming little bed and breakfast places, and frequent bus connections to other towns and villages. We spend the evening ambling through the streets of the old town and along the promenade, which exhibits the lovely coastline. I could never tire of looking at the blinding blue green waters.
From Penzance we make our way to Porthcurno beach; a treasure trove of natural wonder. Nestled in a beautiful sandy cove, I cannot tear my gaze away from the intensely blue waters. Even the best of photographs fail to capture the sun’s rays bouncing off the turquoise waters and the natural beauty of Porthcurno. But, the highlight of my trip would have been catching a glimpse of the basking shark, known to be spotted frequently in the summer, around this bit of the coast. While sailing off in a boat will provide a better view of the sharks, you can also spot these massive sea creatures from the shore. The basking sharks are not much of a concern for swimmers, as they are plankton-eating fish.
The azure sea meets the white sands of Porthcurno beach and cliffs protrude in the background, while acres of lush meadows stretch out further inland. That's the view you are privy to if you're agile enough to climb the rugged path up the cliffs to the Minack theatre from Porthcurno beach, instead of taking the paved road to the top. As I explore this circular, open-air amphitheatre, carved out of the cliffs and overlooking the Atlantic, my mind wanders. I imagine myself spending a summer evening laughing over Puck's antics in A Midsummer Night's Dream or pondering over a contemporary play, against this gorgeous backdrop.
Mounts and Myths
Saint Michael's Mount
We then went east from Penzance to the town of Marazion. From here you can make your way to St. Michael’s Mount. As I watch the sea, I notice a beautiful island looming out of the waters of the bay. The island houses an interesting castle and gorgeous sub tropical gardens. The legend goes that a giant once walked these lands and would wade ashore to steal cows and sheep from the villagers to feed his gargantuan appetite. It is also believed that at the entrance to the castle stands an ancient stone chair, where a vision of the Archangel Michael appeared to some fishermen in the year 495. We spend a lazy summer day on the island and enjoy a scrumptious afternoon cream tea, while soaking in the view. The island itself is a fascinating place to visit, but what intrigues me, is the journey to St. Michael’s Mount. During the low tide, you can walk across a cobbled causeway that links the island to the mainland. There is a certain excitement that comes with walking on a narrow path and the sea on either side of you. As we reach the mainland, the waters start to rise and cover the pathway. A few brave tourists try to make their way across, but soon turn back. Their attempt did however make for good ‘walking-on-water’ photographs.
Another fun thing to do, is to take a boat trip along the coast. We begin our voyage from Penzance harbour and cover most part of the coast. En route, we spot some resident wildlife, which includes dolphins, porpoises, seals and numerous sea birds. Our guides have plenty of titbits in store for us about the history of Cornwall and its dramatic scenery. I was in the midst of one of Enid Blyton's favourite settings for her Famous Five adventures and Malory Towers school-girl antics; the craggy cliffs, sheltered coves and enticing waters were all around us. It was interesting to view Porthcurno beach and the Minack theatre we’d just visited the previous day from a sailor's perspective.
Our trip to Cornwall ends with a delicious dinner of fish and chips and a peaceful train journey back home; the perfect way to spend my summer break.