Cornwall part 1

A couple of weeks ago B and I took our “summer” holiday in Higher Crackington, a hamlet just inland from the wild Atlantic in north Cornwall, primarily because we didn’t want to leave the puppy anywhere for days at a time. For days, calling it a “holiday” felt bizarre – we’d got there by car, we didn’t take passports, and no-one abused us under their breath in an indecipherable accent. Actually, the last one may not be true.

But I’m so spoiled by foreign trips and city breaks that holidaying in the UK was a novelty that felt anything but novel. My brain can deal with the concept of a long weekend in the provinces, but when Monday came around and I still wasn’t back at work, something clicked.

We chose a cottage pretty much at random from the Helpful Holidays website (such a homely name – if a company could be thatched, Helpful Holidays would be) for an incredibly cheap sum, for which we got a 17th century former dairy, all low lintels, wood beams, flagstone floors and the obligatory thatch. It sleeps six (at which point it’d be so cheap as to be essentially free), but it was perfect for the two of us plus pooch, and for our two weekend guests (though being 6’6″ in a cottage where you can only really stand up in the stairwell isn’t ideal).

Higher Crackington is about a mile from the seaside village of Crackington Haven, where we passed many happy afternoons in the local pub, the Coombe Barton Inn, gazing at the omnipresent surfers outside while listening to Michael Jackson (I swear I didn’t mean to play quite so many Jacko classics on the jukebox), drinking the most gorgeous ales from the Tintagel Brewery. Castle Gold was my favourite, just the most fragrant, smooth, delicious pint I can remember, and their brand new ale Cornish Legend was also superb. Track them down if you like beer, or if you have a soul.

(It’s a shame Tintagel itself didn’t live up to the promise – the mythical birthplace of King Arthur was a slightly depressing tourist resort with an enormous cliff-top hotel shaped like a medieval castle. Called “Camelot”, of course.)

Talking of pubs, one bonus of our cottage was that it came with the Good Pub Guide 2009. Unforutnately, having to drive everywhere meant we couldn’t take full advantage, but it was an essential companion on our travels, and led us to gems such as the Blisland Inn in the appropriately named Blisland. It required several miles of driving on single track roads through the most astonishingly green, swoopy, bucolic lanes before we came across the picture postcard village green. The pub was also recommended on the excellent Doggie Pubs website.

One thing we didn’t do in Cornwall was eat out. We visited Padstow, but for cream tea and a long walk on the amazing beach with Ludo, who discovered digging for the first time (she’s a natural, it seems), rather than for Steinage (we also visited Rock, over the water from Padstow, and gambolled among the dunes). Jamie has a place nearby too, I understand, but a combination of puppy and the need to drive, along with the addictive and visceral pleasure of a log fire, kept us in the house every evening, us reading on the sofas and Ludo depositing an eye-watering amount of excrement among the slugs and unusually vicious stinging nettles in the otherwise lovely garden.

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    • James
    • October 13th, 2010

    My friend Rob’s parents keep a house just outside Crackington which they rent out. It’s a lovely place. Glad that the pub is open again, it had closed its doors at one point.

    • Jen
    • November 5th, 2010

    The Camelot Hotel is run by Scientologists, apparently…!

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