The idea was romantic. We’d jump in a campervan with our bikes, wetsuits and a couple of surfboards, drive around Cornwall and stop off wherever we fancy for a ride or a surf. That wasn’t quite how it worked out, but it was every bit as fun nonetheless 🙂
The journey began at around midnight on a Sunday when my new (ahem!) friend, Tom, picked me up to drive back to his home near Truro. Driving through the night always feels like an adventure in itself, so I immediately switched to holiday mode! I’d forgotten how far away it was and we arrived at 5am to go straight to sleep.
We woke up to beautiful sunshine, the perfect start, and I couldn’t wait to get to the beach! We headed straight for Perranporth, picking up a surfboard for me on the way. The beach was just vast and although it was gloriously sunny, there was still a chilly wind and it was hard to imagine how busy it might get in the summer. It’s also home to a very tricky triathlon later in the year, which might prove too much of a temptation to resist!
The Watering Hole is an iconic beach bar and the ideal place for a cider and burger while waiting for the tide to start coming in. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and I even caught the sun a little on my face 🙂
Once our lunch had gone down, we donned our wetsuits and headed out into the surf! This was only my third attempt at surfing and there was little evidence that I’d ever surfed before! I made a tiny bit of progress, but mostly I think I was a great source of entertainment to Tom, who I could hear laughing every time the surfboard landed on my head!
After a couple of hours I was feeling pretty tired (I was still recovering from a 20 mile run the day before) so I sat on the beach waiting for Tom to finish up. Such a great reintroduction to the Cornish coast on my first day, I was excited to get some more practice in.
Making the most of the beautiful light evening, we decided to take the bikes out for a spin in the undeniably undulating countryside. This had been the main focus of the week, however approximately 1km into the ride Tom realised his knee was just not up to it. He struggled around 11km and that was the last we saw of our bikes that week! I think it was just a ploy to get more surfing in!
The following day we took a trip to St Ives, stopping along the way at a few beauty spots. It’s so easy to forget how stunning this country is when you spend most of your time in towns and cities. The weather wasn’t so forgiving, but we still had to have an ice cream…well, part of one. A seagull took a liking to my scoop of toffee and honeycomb, swooping down to steal the lot! I couldn’t believe what had just happened, I may have used strong language in front of children and Tom couldn’t stop laughing!
With that traumatic moment still haunting me, we drove back to Perranporth for another surf. The waves were much more powerful and I got knocked about a lot, still having a wail of a time though! It was raining when we finally headed back to the van to change. We popped into the nearby pub for a quick cider and ended up staying all evening listening to live Cornish folk music and finishing up with tequila shots (as every good night should end)!
The joy of having a campervan is that you don’t have to worry about driving home after a few drinks. We took a midnight stroll along the beach and then slept in the van, so convenient!
Having sampled the Perranporth surf twice, we decided to head for Newquay later in the week, probably the most famous surf town in the UK. The weather was looking up, the conditions were great and I actually managed a few seconds standing up this time! The surfers were out in force and I didn’t feel completely out of place as there were quite a few learners out there too.
We surfed and paddled and floated around for over 3 hours that afternoon, stopping only because the tide was coming in and we needed to get across the beach back to the van. After changing whilst drinking a cheeky bottle of Prosecco, we went to none other than the Walkabout up on the cliffs overlooking Towan Beach.
We ate and drank, watched live music and played some very dodgy games of pool, before going to sleep in the van again. Such a perfect way to end the day!
Friday was a rest day, with just a gentle pool swim in the afternoon. We paid a visit to Healey’s Cyder Farm to pick up a crate of the delicious Rattler Cyder that we’d been drinking all week. Of course we had to sample every single other cider on offer while we were there! We ended the week with a swanky meal at Lewinnick Lodge with views out to sea and across the bay to Newquay.
I was sad to leave, but I know I’ll be back soon 🙂