Despite being in my 30’s, birthdays still make me excited.
Leading up to this one had been a hectic few weeks – returning from the Alps, catching up with friends and family in the Midlands and Wales and finally, a big, big change of moving to North Devon to be with B, who I met in the Alps this year.
My birthday fell on my first morning in Devon, and I knew B had a surprise trip to Cornwall planned, but he wouldn’t tell me any details. I woke up at 6am on my birthday, I couldn’t wait any longer and decided it was birthday time. My surprise, he revealed sleepily, would be a night in Coverack, down on the Lizard Peninsula in southern Cornwall.
I was thrilled, I’ve been to Cornwall a couple of times but when I lived in the Midlands, it always felt quite a distance to journey down on public transport.
Coverack, Lizard Peninsula
We were blessed with clear blue skies on the drive down from North Devon, and after stopping off in Perranporth to catch up with B’s friends, we arrived in soft late afternoon sunshine to YHA Coverack. B had booked a private room, and we climbed the stairs to find a cosy room with stunning views down to the bay.
After a quick change, we wandered down to the harbour, bathed in evening sunlight, kids playing around on paddle boards and dinghies, accompanied by an excited labourer eagerly splashing around on the waters edge.
Walking away from the harbour, the road wound round to the stony bay.
We paused at the local church to search for a geocache, before continuing on to the water’s edge. It felt like we were in a Mediterranian fishing village, a world away from the grey Midlands I’m used to.
B had booked dinner at the Paris Hotel, and although they had sold out of many of the specials and fish dishes, we still enjoyed a tasty beef stew and Cornish cheeseboard overlooking the adjacent bay.
With the warm May sunshine fading, we pulled off our shoes and took a paddle on the beach.
I dared B to take a dip in the water, and after some teasing of not being ‘adventure enough’, he strode back to the shore, stripped down to his shorts and dived in. Not to be outdone, I soon followed, not really caring that I only had knickers and bikini top before heading back to the hostel to dry off.
After sleeping peacefully in our little room, we headed out the next morning just after 7am to enjoy the ‘golden hour’ of light and find a geocache at the harbour, knowing it would be free of people. I love this time of day when the only people out are dog walkers and runners, who nod a polite good morning.
We wandered back to the hostel to tuck in a full English (not included in the room price) and had a flick through the Wild Guide to get some inspiration on where to go for the day.
Before heading off, we took a walk along the coast path (which actually links around the whole of the South West) to a rocky point adjacent to Coverack for another geeky geocache search.
I love this time of year when the hedgerows are full of wildflowers – from bluebells to red campion and prickly yellow gorse. Returning to Coverack, we popped into Archie’s Loft, a cute little cafe near the harbour picking out flatbreads stuffed full of local cheeses, salami and olives and treating ourselves to an ice cream from the nearby organic farm of Roskilly.
Devils Frying Pan, Lizard Peninsula
We drove a couple of miles south-west to go in search of Devil’s Frying Pan, a rock formation created by the collapsed roof of a sea cave and then followed the coast path down to the most gorgeous gem of a Cornish fishing village called Cadgwith, complete with thatched roofed houses.
Cadgwith, Lizard Peninsula
We climbed a rickety staircase to a craft shop above the local fresh fish shop, admiring the work of local Cornish artists who had been inspired by the area. Chatting with the lady behind the counter, she admitted whilst the village was picturesque, life in the winter was lonely and isolated.
We paused on a wooden bench on the headland for a while, watching the fisherman sip pints at the pub by the harbour, a group of kids daring each other to jump off the blackened rocks; the wildflowers dancing in the sea breeze in the background before heading wearily back to the car to head back to North Devon.
This year had been one very fine birthday indeed 🙂