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Kayaking

July 6, 2015 No Comments

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When we talk about water on the Cornish Holiday Cottages blog, it’s normally the crystal clear waters of our coves or the barrelling variety in our waves. But this time we’re thinking about water in the form of glittering sheets of dark blue and green silk, the reflections of trees peering back upon themselves in the stillness. To find this sort of image you have to look beyond the beach and instead into the creeks, rivers and estuaries – the less explored waterways of Cornwall.

The perfect vehicle for this: the kayak.

Or a canoe, of course. Either way paddling quietly through the water feels close to nature in a way that surfing and boating can’t seem to get you. You can glide quietly through the water, getting close to swans and Little Egrits with minimal disturbance. Once I even found myself paddling alongside a seal, sharing the same course. It hadn’t seen me – but made its thoughts well known once it had, swimming away quickly. But in those few moments I felt connected to the rhythms of the water and the creatures living in it.

When you’re paddling along a river it doesn’t matter if you’ve been there a thousand times before – there’s always something new to see. There’s always something in the river banks that’s changing with the seasons or peeping out. Trees grow and dip their branches into the water and they change colour, reeds ripple and sway in the breeze and old quays hide amongst the growth, changing character in a way that bare coastal cliffs rarely seem to.

I started kayaking to get some exercise, away from the repetitive nature of the gym. And it swiftly grew into a hobby. Even on easy waters, going with the flow of water, you can build strength and flexibility – then there’s the challenge of paddling against all of those things with the wind holding you back as well. And out at sea, you’ve got the choppy waters to battle against too.

Exploration is also a big part of the appeal. There are so many places on the Cornish coast and in its rivers that are only accessible by water. The best part is that once you are there, you have those secluded beaches and sandy shores all to yourself. I’ve spent whole days barbequing, swimming and sunbathing with friends on our own private beach, not a single person in sight. We’ve even camped out because, that’s right, there’s enough space for everything you’d need on the back of a kayak.

That sense of adventure shows you things it’s difficult to see in any other way. There’s nothing quite like being out on the sea with only the sound of water splashing against your paddle as the sun begins to dip behind the land. So if you’re looking for something that’s going to give you a sense of independence and solitude this summer, get yourself out on the water and under your own steam.

 

 

Rock Pooling

June 8, 2015 No Comments

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Rock pooling is part of a quintessential Cornish beach holiday. It’s one step away from the stereotype of knotted hankies and rolled up trousers. In fact, as I get older I find myself going for the rolled up trouser look more and more on the beach. I’m also fascinated with the life that’s found in the crags and hollows that are left by the retreating tides along the Cornish coastlines.

When the tide is low it’s possible to peer into the small pools of water along the rocky shore line and find a whole manner of things lurking beneath the seaweeds. Each pool is a microcosm of marine life, teeming with shrimp, crabs, molluscs and other sea-life.

The living conditions in rock pools are ever changing, so the creatures that live there have to be pretty hardy: the water temperature is constantly fluctuating as the sun heats it through the day and high tide washes in the cold; the oxygen level of the water depletes; and then there’s the incoming tide coming in to shake the whole thing up.

All you really need to rock pool is a bucket, net, wellies and a little bit of patience. When peering into the (not so) murky (and not so deep) depths, they may at first appear empty. But I assure you star fish are clinging to the rocks, crabs are slaloming through the seaweed and transparent prawns are bobbing around the kelp forests.

There are loads of great places to go rock pooling in Cornwall. Godrevy Has an abundance of shallow waters, as does Kennack Sands down The Lizard, but one of our favourites, and one very close to a lot of our Cornish Holiday Cottages, is the wide expanse from Castle Beach, around Gyllyngvase and through to Swanpool Beach. When the tide is out there’s close to a mile of gullies, pools and puddles to explore.

Here are a few of the things to look out for as you explore:

 

Starfish

Starfish, Sea Urchins and Brittlestars – these striking creatures are symmetrical with arms radiating out from a central body

 

Sea Squirts

These creatures are characterised by their soft bodies and can be seen attached to rocks on lower shores.

 

Sea Anenomes

Another soft bodied creature which can be found attached to rocks.

 

Crustaceans

There are 4 main types of crab you may see – Shore, Hermit, Velvet Swimming and Edible crab. Also look out for shrimps and barnacles.

 

Molluscs

These include sea slugs, mussels and limpets whose shell resembles a Chinese hat!

 

Shore fish

Keep an eye out for blenny and goby, often seen darting around rockpools. You’ll have to be quick to catch one!

 

 

Crabbing in Falmouth: not just for children!

September 27, 2014 No Comments

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Our top tips for places to go crabbing in and around Falmouth. Grab a bucket and line and visit one of the local butchers to grab some bait!

1. The Harbour! There are many quays in Falmouth with perfect spots for doing a bit of crabbing. (Photographed above)

2. The Pandora Inn at Mylor, enjoy delicious food on the pontoon and you can crab while you wait! Crabbing lines and bait are sold inside.

3. Castle Beach, get your hands dirty at low tide and enjoy some rock pooling.

4. Flushing Quay, enjoy the views of Falmouth from Flushing.

5. Mylor Quay, the perfect spot for sitting and relaxing by the quay.

 

Best Bait Tip: Visit one of the local butchers and try and get an old ham bone. The crabs love it, although you may need a larger net!