Really thrilled to welcome Lorelai Macleod to the blog today to share her delightful life in the North of Cornwall, a place very close to my heart:
Hi from sometimes sunny Cornwall.
Cornwall is officially the southernmost county in England; however, the Cornish people see themselves as a separate country of Celtic origin and have historic links with Wales and Brittany.
Cornwall covers a large area and there are marked differences between the North East and South West. My husband and I live in the North of Cornwall, on the border with Devon, and I hope to give you an idea of what it is like to live here.
Launceston, or Lanson to the locals, is the historic capital of Cornwall and is now often described as the gateway to Cornwall. Situated on the A30, the main road into the county, the town is often overlooked by tourists but it is worth a stop if you have the time. The Castle dates back to the 13th century and the grounds are a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic, or perhaps a pasty from one of the town’s numerous bakeries. The poet Charles Causley was born in Launceston and lived here for most of his life. His poetry was heavily influenced by Cornwall and he is buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene’s, which can be found in the centre of town.
Situated between Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor, my home is very different to the image many people have of Cornwall. I am often asked by friends angling for a visit; “Cornwall? Do you live by the sea?” and I am forced to disappoint them by saying no. We do however live only half an hour or so from the coast and the scenery here is certainly no less beautiful or dramatic.
Cornwall is a land of contradictions; subtropical gardens flourish in a temperate climate but snow often blankets the moorland in the winter months. And then there is the weather. British weather as you may have heard is pretty fascinating anyway but in Cornwall it seems to have been taken to another level. Look out of your window; it is raining, or overcast, or cold, or far too sunny for your liking, what to do? In Cornwall your best bet is to get in your car, or on your bike or put on those walking boots and travel, not far necessarily, just until you reach the next town, village, field; just until the weather changes. And if you are really set on staying home for that barbeque, organise it anyway, if the storm clouds are rolling in this morning there’s a good chance you’ll be bathed in sunshine by this evening. And even if you’re not, there are worse things than a barbeque in the rain.
Many people know Cornwall for its wide beaches, fantastic surfing and picturesque seaside towns but it is also awash with history. Legend and folklore are abundant in Cornwall, who hasn’t heard of the Arthurian legends which surround Tintagel? There are also the tales of Cornish Piskies; subterranean creatures who were believed to inhabit the many tin mines and were often blamed for cave-ins. The abandoned towers still dot the landscape now providing unofficial monuments to the area’s industrial past.
Abandoned tin mine, Trewarmett
The ubiquitous Cornish pasty has long been associated with tin mining; the easily transported meal consisted of a pastry shell surrounding a hot filling and was favoured because the filling stayed warm until it was due to be eaten.
Talking of which, the food in Cornwall is something the county really prides itself upon. Fresh fish from local ports, locally raised organic meat and of course the famous dairy products such as Cornish blue cheese are just a start. From fish and chips eaten on the seafront to Michelin starred restaurants, by way of real pub food and what seems like more bakeries per capita than anywhere else on the planet. Something my husband very much appreciates. There is something to suit everyone. There is also an array of delicatessens, farm shops and farmers markets all on hand to help you take a taste of Cornwall home with you.
My husband the pasty hand model
It is truly wonderful to be able to walk into any pub or restaurant and to be told what local ales and ciders there are on tap rather than be met with that look of blank incomprehension received in so many places. If wine is your tipple of choice you won’t be disappointed either, Cornwall produces some of the best award winning wine in Britain.
There are art galleries in almost every town you visit and many famous authors have been inspired by Cornwall’s varied landscapes. If culture rather than nature is your cup of tea then I suggest the Tate St Ives and the Minack Theatre, Penzance. Neither is in North Cornwall I realise, but they are definitely worth a visit. If the environment interests you, especially if you have children to entertain, why not try the Eden project, St Austell? That one just about counts as near-by.
Cornwall is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but it can be quite crowded in the summer. I feel luckiest to live here when we happen to have time off work on an unseasonably warm day, usually in the late winter or early spring. On days such as this our favourite thing to do is to visit the cliff-top pub in Trebarwith Strand on the North West coast for a proper pub lunch. What could be better than sitting by the window with local ale in hand, overlooking the cold ocean bathed in winter sunshine?
A wintery Trebarwith Strand
Visit Cornwall if you get the chance, don’t worry if it isn’t summer, give it a try, I’d love to know what you think.
Kayaking is best when the rivers are high, bicycles are meant to get muddy, surf boards shouldn’t always look like they just left the shop and those walking boots aren’t going to break-in themselves.
To get to know Lorelai Macleod, following her on Twitter @lorelaimacleod