Cottage-in-the clouds

Welcome to our magical cottage which overlooks Lamorna Cove in mystical,wonderful West Penwith,Cornwall.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arctic Lamorna Cove?

It's 7am November 30th 2010 and I have just been watching the BBC weather news. The entire country is apparently under a blanket of snow. Minus 25c in Scotland and schools closed everywhere. Comwall has been hard hit too, with much snow,ice and freezing,arctic conditions.
8t Buryan School is closed along with others in Penzance!

The sun was still below the horizon,Cam Dhu a black silhouette rising out of

a calm, misty sea as I set off into the cove for my usual early moming stroll. It was a little nippy as I climbed up to Lamoma Point,patches of ice and frozen puddles crunching under my boots adding to the cries of the Herring Gulls wheeling above and the splashing and foaming of the surf below. As always the path was deserted and the grandeur of the wild scenery was all mine to enjoy alone in selfish wonder. Between here and Cam Barges the route runs down along the high tide line of the sea and the surging waves feel very close indeed. It's always very exhilarating!

By the time I reached Cam Barges the southern horizon is bathed in a brilliant yellow/orange glow as the sun rises up out of the ocean; the sea turned into a dazzling magic coloured carpet. Another one of the many spectacular sunrises I'd been fortunate to witness over the past weeks I'd been at The Magazine and as always I couldn't resist a picture, the kaleidescope framed perfectly by the massive, ageless butress of Cam Barges.
Looking over to Minack I could see a small plume of smoke rising from the ancient chimney. How many such sunrises had Derek and Jeannie viewed I wonder? I had been at Minack the day before to sit on the AmbroseRock. There was a single Ivy-leafed Toadflax violet flower at my feet and nearby a group of six Bullfinches were feeding upon some berries,their glorious salmon-red breasts shining brightly in the morning sunshine.

Along the path across to Tregumow and Well Lane this morning the hawthorn berries were alive with Blackbirds,Redwings,Tits,Chaffmches and others enjoying a hearty breakfast.
After a visit with Gyp, Sarah's Corgi dog it's down Well Lane and into Lamoma Woods.It doesn't matter how many times I walk there,the ancient woodland always thrills and evokes a sense of mystery and well-being in me.
Lamoma stream is in full spate, crashing and tumbling over mossy boulders and the old,lichen-covered gnarled sycamores and oaks are dotted with Rooks and Jackdaws all trying to out-shout each other. A Great Spotted Woodpecker adds its unique beat to the cacophony.

Back in the cove I run onto the sand and watch,as along the shoreline Tumstones and Stonechats are nosing in the seaweed and Oystereatchers with their magnificent orange bills are stabbing the sand.
The sun was now high in a clear cerulean sky. I was about to return to the cottage when as I suspected they might,Patricia and Monty arrive in the car park. After much tail-wagging and barking from Monty we set off back up through the woods. It's always a pleasure for me to join the two of them on their walk.

With Monty bounding youthfully ahead (he loves the cold weather!) Patricia and I walked and chatted about secret nooks and crannies in ivy-shrouded rocks and mysterious old tinners pathways through the trees. Further up along the stream we stopped,brushed aside some leaf
litter on the woodland floor and were amazed by the sight of incipient daffodils already poking shoots high above the soil - Spring already on its way in November!
After washing Monty’s paws and our wellies off in the rushing stream by the very ancient mill we returned down the lane to the cove.
Back at The Magazine we sat in the garden enjoying a coffee,relishing the sunshine and the vista of the calm azure sea below us.Monty enjoying a biscuit or two and the bird feeders alive with a flock of Long Tailed Tits (we counted nine!)and Jeannie the resident Robin with feathers fluffed out,hopping imperiously about letting us all know whose garden it really was!
"I could sit here all day. What a view! What a lovely morning!" exclaimed Patricia but soon she and Monty were on their way home to snug Bumblebee Cottage in snowy St Buryan.

Next, I decided a walk to Mousehole along the coastal path was in order.

Halfway to Cam Dhu I always stop and look back at the cove.This is the place where,two years ago on a fateful damp and chilly October afternoon I had my "There it is !" moment... The first time I set eyes upon the Magazine..that old delapidated,lonely cottage perched on its three hundred and fifty million year old granite cliff above the cove.

How lucky I am!

Past Carn Dhu and through the marvelously shaded Kemyel Crease reserve, the sun glinting through the giant Monterey Cypress and Pine trees and dappling the woodland floor. Just up the coast a little at Slinke Dean I spotted a Merlin watching me carefully from his perch atop a huge old pine.Out on glistening Mount'sBay a rust-streaked trawler chugged home to Newlyn.
I sat on a rock at Point Spaniard before returning to Lamoma Cove when incredibly along the path came a plain little Sanderling and a gorgeous Golden Plover,resplendent in its gold spangled brown winter plumage! It was as though they were two friends out for a stroll along the coast! Upon seeing me the Sanderling flew off but the Plover continued on its way past seemingly determined to walk to Mousehole. I wondered if it was alright and thought about trying to catch it and take it to the Mousehole Bird Hospital but as I made a move towards it it took flight, to land several yards ahead before resuming its purposeful walk. Shaking my head in wonder I stepped out towards Lamoma Cove. After rounding Cam Dhu the view opens up into a vista of deep blue lagoon,granite boulders and slate-roofed cottages(yes,there's The Magazine!) nestled into the gorse and bracken covered cliffs.

I decided to detour up through the wood,past the old east quarry.I stood for a while looking down over the cove,glorious in the late afternoon light.A tiny Firecrest,looking more like a large bee than a bird was flitting about on some sycamore seeds,what a thrill to see him!

Through Higher Kemyel Farm and along the ancient high-hedged Cornish lanes where bright yellow gorse and pink campion still flowered I passed a field with Lapwings and dozens upon dozens of Curlew feeding,occasionally uttering their plaintive,melancholy call.

It was turning into a fabulous day,a once in a lifetime day of everything West Penwith means to me.I had never seen so many species of bird before, all drawn like me to this wonderful oasis. This perfect little paradise.

I was going to visit my friend Pete,a lovely old gent,a twenty-eight year old gelding who spends his summer in Lamoma valley and winters up above Lamoma Pottery.Every day I am here I make a point of feeding him a few tid-bits no matter where he is and we have become firm friends.He recognizes my squeaky hiking boots and as always was waiting at the gate snuffling, pleased to see me and I fed him with half a dozen apples I'd picked from the tree in Di's garden at the Wink(with her permission!)followed by half a packet of Polo mints his favourite! I shall miss Old Pete when I leave.

By now it was dusk and the light fading quickly.My favourite time! I walked up through a bridleway,past my secret little quarry,filled with dark,bottomless water and home to herons,coots and othersand onto Castallack and along the lane down to Lamoma Woods wonderfully mysterious at night,full of spectral shapes and eerie sounds,mist rising and redolent with woodsmoke and yes,there it was,a sound I love to hear,the spine-chillingly beautiful tremulous " hoo hoo h0000" of a Tawny Owl,reverbrating through the now inky dark.
I could see the welcoming lights of the Wink in the blackness ahead and I called into that ancient hostelry,past home of smugglers,artists and quarrymen.I sat by the roaring log fire drinking my pint,chatting to the ever-friendly locals and reflecting on another wonderful day.

Leaving the light and warmth of the pub behind I headed off down the coal-black lane,the now cool air misty and aromatic and filled with rustlings of unseen creatures.The sky was clear and I was greeted by a star-spangled sky as I rounded the bend into the cove and turned into the little walkway beneath the ivy-clad archway to the door of my perfect” Cottage in the Clouds".

I turned on the TV briefly, more tales of snow,ice,travel chaos,arctic conditions everywhere in the UK.
Perhaps I had better not sleep with my window open tonight? There again. I think I will, I love the sounds of the waves gently caressing the shore.

Time for bed. It’s been another perfect day in paradise.

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