Another week in Sennen Cove

How many times have we stayed down in Sennen Cove? Here’s last year’s post. The area never palls, loses its magic or fails to turn up new things of interest. We’re just back from our 2016 week spent,  as usual, in the company of our best-loved Brummie friends. I just described the long road trip from Hastings to the far west of Cornwall in my last post
   You may well ask, why go all the way down there? It’s a cliche to say that Cornwall is a special place. Mostly special in a good way, but sometimes not – see about St Buryan later in this post.
    Being so near to Lands End, the peninsula is very narrow, and you can
get to both the north coast and the south coast very easily. The cliff
walks are different on each side. Although the cliffs are similar,
the light in the north feels slightly harsher and brighter, the south
feels gentler. We can visit St Ives, Marazion and Penzance, although our
nearest ‘metropolis’ is St Just.  There are gardens to visit, many
interesting villages, galleries, lots of pubs…..

Our first sight of the beach at Sennen Cove

   Sennen Cove itself is a pretty little place. It has a good pub, The Old Success (we had a brilliant rib-busting Sunday carvery lunch in there this time – Battleaxe recommends, vegetables were delicious…), a beach-side restaurant, now taken over by celeb Cornwall chef  Ben Tunnicliffe and unfortunately turning into a gastro-surfy type place, a shop, an excellent gallery, a chippy etc. Philosopher goes down to the ‘Old Boathouse’ shop every morning for the paper, and the proprieter was chatting to him about his writing –  The Cove Diary, up-dated daily on-line. Battleaxe recommends that any Sennen lovers click the link! It is also published in book form, and we now have the first volume, signed and dedicated to us!  Apparently, however, the second volume is several inches thick….
    We’ve stayed in various cottages along the front, but this year our favourite was taken off the rental market. They didn’t tell us until quite late on, so we ended up staying in the converted loft of  ‘Badger’s Cottage’, our friends’ place. Passable, but Battleaxe would give the loft a miss in future. Headroom was very dodgy indeed.  Philosopher gashed his head on a beam on the first evening and wore a hat indoors for the rest of the time. No shower, just a big bath. If you were sufficiently tall to see the sea out of the skylights you would have also been walking around the place bent double. No bloody bedside table or reading light – had to borrow from downstairs. But it was warm, the bed was comfy and in any case we spent every evening downstairs with the others, in front of their enormous wood-burning stove. We took turns to cook huge evening meals and drank large volumes of wine.
    We were lucky with the weather, lots of sun, warm enough to eat our sandwiches on the clifftops, no rain, but an icy wind blew for some of the time.
   We usually start our week with a relatively gentle walk to Lands End, and have a coffee in the hotel at the end of the peninsula. Lands End itself is over-run with nasty mass-tourist tat. They even charge you to stand by that signpost thing. We avoid all of that.

Looking out to Lands End

     The views from the steep hills above Sennen Cove down to the village and the wide sweep of Whitesand Bay are magnificent and appear in many paintings, such as these below.

Autumn sunlight, Sennen Cove, Laura Knight
View of Sennen Cove, Edwin LaDell

     Another of our annual walks is around the little village of Treen. A lane with a stream, camellias, daffodils and beautiful cottages leads down to the tiny cove of Penberth. A heart attack-inducing haul up the side of the cliff gets us to Logan Rock, where we sit admiring the view down over Porthcurno beach before  heading inland for the Logan Rock pub…..

Logan Rock

     On this particular day, we stopped off in  St Buryan, mostly to look at the church.  Unaccountably, I was seized with an intense feeling of cold fear and dread almost as soon as we walked into the churchyard. Standing in front of the porch set it off. I could hardly wait to get out of the place. Now, don’t get me wrong, Battleaxe is not generally impressed by, or troubled with, the supernatural, but I do get occasional ‘spooky’ feelings around certain places. This was certainly one of them. St Buryan is a very ancient settlement, a centre of neolithic stone circles, celtic crosses, holy wells etc., all full of ghostly potential. But then so is most of Cornwall, and I have never experienced a feeling like that before.

St Buryan church porch
St Buryan Church

     However, my spirits were restored by the discovery, in a junk shop in St Just, of these horrendously kitsch but loveable (in my eyes) 1940s/50s concrete garden ornament pigs. I had to have them. Poor long-suffering Philosopher man-handled them into the car, and they returned to Hastings with us.

Kitsch piggies…..

     Philosopher and I had a day in St Ives.  We were meeting our friend Karol from Lyme Regis, who, by a complete coincidence, was signed up for  a week-long course at the St Ives School of Painting with her friend Anthea. Can’t get by without a few pictures of the light, the sky, the sea….

Late afternoon in St Ives
Storm clouds?
Cloud shadows

    We visited the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden – for some reason we had never been before. It was much better than I expected. Battleaxe would recommend.

Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth
St Ives church tower, seen through the trees

     We were very interested to visit the School of Painting because it was founded in 1938 by Leonard Fuller. We have one of his paintings here at home, which we got from Burstow and Hewett for a pittance because they hadn’t noticed the signature. Many, many famous painters practiced their basic skills with Leonard Fuller and his co-founder, Borlase Smart, including Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron.  The big upstairs studio looked virtually unchanged from old pictures we’ve seen, from  Fuller’s day. They had an exhibition of Fuller’s work at the Penlee Gallery in Penzance last year, but of course we couldn’t go all the way down there just for that.  Here’s our painting, apparently very uncharacteristic of his style:

     This post is getting a bit long. I haven’t even mentioned our day in Penzance, visitng the lovely Penlee
Gallery, and fantastic soup at the Honey Pot Cafe, our visit to
Marazion, walking from St Just to Sennen Cove (phew, knackering). I’ll just finish up with a picture round-up, including Goose Carn near Cape Cornwall, , Marazion, Trewidden Garden – we did so much, in such a short time. .  Roll on next year!

Cape Cornwall from Goose Carn
Late afternoon on Sennen Beach
Goose Carn
High Tide at Marazion
Mouth of the Cot Valley
A tree-fern uncoils at Trewidden


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments from Google+