August in Cornwall is full to bursting isn’t it?
The following pictures were taken during the past fortnight right in the middle of the mad 6 weeks of school summer holidays. This is the time when Cornwall’s capacity is stretched to the seams. When the county’s towns and coastal villages are crowded out with holiday visitors moving along pavements in slow, semi slumbering state as if they need to be herded or rounded up and corralled for they own safety. When our main roads slow to a crawl with long tail-backs of traffic, or we end up in car-to-car stand-offs with anxious holiday-makers in 4×4 cars caught in narrow lanes. They become incapable of engaging in reverse gear or are petrified of manoeuvring in tight to Cornish hedges.
Most years I narrow my travelling circle during this time to just a few miles from home and confine journeys a network of back lanes to avoid the inevitable traffic congestion. In wet weather it’s worse as more drive in aimless desperation for entertainment, but with this summer’s fine weather it’s become a very different story…
On Monday, August 19 it was World Photography Day and here’s the picture I took at about 12.30pm. Not a single human anywhere on this beach in South Cornwall, a mere 10 minute walk from the noise and bustle of families with small children playing on the beach at Polkerris. Unfortunately I’d not brought my swimming costume and had there been a big rock to hide behind or it not been so visible from the coast path and passing kids in sailing dinghies, I’d have been tempted to take a quick and risqué skinny dip.
It’s as if all our summer visitors have been sheep-herded into certain hotspots or are drawn like wasps to the most obvious places. Yesterday evening I drove through Polzeath where at high tide there was barely a non-occuppied space in the sea, on the beach in the car-parks or cafés. On Sunday, I jostled with the crowds in Mevagissey in search of the shortest queue for ice creams and on our walk back along the cost path, stopped here for a swim. It’s really odd to find so many empty spaces at this time of year, believe me. It’s as if the locals, who know of these places, have all gone to ground. For in the off-season – even in mid winter – I’d expect to see other humans out walking their dogs here.
This summer will go down in my memory as one that was extraordinarily quiet and peaceful summer in Cornwall. Empty beaches and amazing wide clear views on cliff walks, blue skies, fluffy white clouds and azure seas and, apart from my kids and few friends and a dog, very few other souls encountered
The key thing is you just have to leave the car and get out a walk a bit to find these secret and glorious spots.